Standing upon a commanding hillside in the centre of the market town of Eumundi is Avonlea.
The simplicity of the design goes beyond the house’s calming aesthetic. An inherent effortlessness resonates through the connection to the environment, material selection, and spatial planning. The thoughtful design was shortlisted for House Magazine’s 2018 National Awards in two categories, Houses Over 200 Square Metres, and Sustainability, as well as receiving a State Commendation in the Queensland AIA Awards New House category.
Avonlea’s journey began nine years ago when the old Queenslander that once overlooked the town burnt down. The five acre site and its unique central location were sold and divided into four lots by the new custodians. The owners approached Principal at Robinson Architects, Jolyon Robinson, to captain the project.
Jolyon, and the team at his Eumundi based practice, wanted to ensure the homes were sensitive to the area’s environment and character. Avonlea was always more than just an inviting design opportunity for Jolyon; his keen interest in the project was inspired by an underlying personal connection. The old Queenslander that burnt down had once been the family home where he and his brothers spent their childhood.
From the beginning, it was decided that the new house was to be a long-term family home. The owners wanted the design to work for their young family today and in the future. A bedroom close by the master for their young son, and a guest bedroom at the other end of the house with its own access to outside for when he gets older.
Jolyon and the owners agreed that the house would be a continuation of the long history of people who called that hillside home. They also wanted to ensure that the architectural design and construction of Avonlea would stand the test of time. With the bedrooms bookending the central living space, a single hallway connects the different spaces. The home is designed for simple living and no space is wasted with storage cupboards and the pantry integrated seamlessly. The layout invites the family to come together and enjoy each other’s company, but it also allows for separation and accommodates shifting family dynamics.
The long linear floor plan is positioned at a right angle to the top of Cooroy Mountain just to the north. It means each room can enjoy a view of the everchanging mountains, as well as the cooling cross ventilating breeze. The southern side of the home’s exterior features the Eumundi district’s distinctive red earth. The rammed earth walls act as a buffer to the noise of the nearby primary school and market traffic. A razor thin steel roof has large eaves that extend out beyond the four walls, offering enough shade for our Queensland summer and a visual contrast to the natural aesthetic of the red earth wall.
From the inside out, Avonlea is a remarkable example of thoughtful, functional design and will continue to inspire a simple, happy life for its residents for years to come.
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