Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interview With A Stranger

I stood outside this beautiful home, hands on hips yesterday, on my run/dawdle..... trying to work out whether it was an old home or a new home made to look old.....when the owner came to the door and asked if he could help me. I babbled on about new/old, bay windows, blah, blah and before I knew it I was ripping my running shoes off as I stumbled up the stairs and I was in!

The gentleman's study - all the joinery, his own craftsmanship.

Intricate carvings and a beautiful brass eagle on the corner, looking over the gentleman's desk.

As it was so early in the morning, and the curtains were drawn, the interior was dark so photos via iphone were difficult..... and also a bit rude! ...... as here I was talking to a retired master 'Detail Joiner'!!! Wait for it... the master Detail Joiner of his day!!!.... who created all the joinery in both the Kookaburra Queen Paddle Steamers, the Queensland Polo Club, all the joinery in the Sheraton hotels, north and south.... the list goes on. The photos that I did discreetly snap did not do the place justice and I was more excited about actually picking this delightful gentleman's amazing brains than sneaking photos and ruining the moment. What a life he had led, places he had built, fitted out and seen!

Copper shingles

It turns out his beautiful home is only 20 years old. He built it based on photographs of homes he had taken in England during his travels. It was brick but with the old finishing bullnose bricks that are no longer made. Beautiful stained glass, bevelled windows everywhere, not just in the bay windows, and copper roof shingles and downpipes... it was a beauty.

The mantle - a French Chateaux original.

Inside was full of stunning antiques from all around the world. The Great Room was beautiful but as it was dark I could not capture what I saw. I couldn't every well start barking orders to "open the curtains and fire up those gorgeous chandeliers"!

Different cornices in every room!

The staircase detail almost brought tears to my eyes. As the sun was shining through  the gorgeous window assembly, right at my phone, my photos barely capture the detail.

It was 3 stories and the lower level did not have a balustrade, which was unusual to see. 

The landings were graced with beautiful antique vases and ornaments All I could think of was my boys taking them out with their school bags if they were present... as boys do with anything precious or beautiful!

The lovely gentleman took me right through the ground floor, out to their 'casual living area', which was still so grand, and out onto the terrace that overlooked the pool and the vast grounds. We stood chatting about his long career, the buildings he had worked on, some of Brisbane's finest buildings. We mused about famous Brisbane architects and of course Mr Dodds, THE architect of the town and how distinctive his creations are and how you can spot them a mile away.... and where they are!

Back out front I asked the gentleman what he called the brackets under his bay windows, as I remarked that I saw them everywhere in The Hamptons, especially used in the eaves of homes as a decorative feature. He said he called them 'brackets'. Gotta love an Aussie! We laughed and he said he had about 20 left over from the build if I wanted them for my next house! I said that this was the best 'hands on hips, catching my running breath moment' I have ever had and that I was so glad I had stopped to catch my breath and stickybeak!

I feel so very special as this gentleman has had many offers from people/magazines to photograph his home, tell his story and I am the first one he has ever let in!

I am popping my business card in his mailbox this morning so he can read my post. I feel this is the start of something wonderful as he is looking out a special manuscript for me to read.

Brisbane DOES have beautiful homes.... with wonderful stories. You just have to poke around to find them...... and be prepared to chat to strangers!

Happy Wednesday!


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