2004 QMBA BEST HERITAGE HOME – SUNSHINE COAST REGION
2004 QMBA MOST INNOVATIVE USE OF MASONRY (CLAY and BRICK)
Touches of a grand colonial time
An exquisite blend of pleasing architectural styles makes it hard to place a definitive label on this magnificent mansion built on many acres of fertile land at Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast. Certainly the dominant style is reminiscent of the colonial era. The Plantation’s ambience recalls grand homes of the late 19th century when wealthy landowners would demonstrate their success by erecting homes on their vast estates. These homes are now among Australia’s heritage-listed treasures. Garth Chapman’s Traditional Queenslanders can be immensely proud of this particular home.
The superbly comfortable main house stands apart from the similarly designed west wing which is to become a five-star bed and breakfast venue. Visitors will be immediately impressed by views of the colonial-inspired Plantation façade from the long, sweeping driveway. Sandstone blend masonry blocks dominate the home’s construction, while black colorbond outlines the silver zincalume roof on gutters and fascias. Round pillars support the verandah roofs. Large black and white Italian floor tiles exhibit an understated opulence in a chequered pattern along the verandahs. A fountain crafted from cast iron provides a visual centrepiece to the stunning rear courtyard. Indian sandstone pavers are used with superb effect to make garden pathways between white flowered plantings of murraya and gardenia. Two rotundas, one attached to the main house and another to the guest wing, allow the homeowners to fully appreciate the beauty of their surroundings. Relaxation is further enhanced by an attractive pool, complete with a spout waterfall, and a covered spa and barbecue area. Close by is the forest of Paulownia trees which inspired the name The Plantation.
While the grandness of the home is fully appreciated with a walk through the garden and along its shady verandahs, luxury is amply demonstrated inside. Rich warm cedar is used in abundance on doors and windows crafted by Finlayson’s Joinery. Spotted gum PARQETRY Tree is used on floors, with Surian cedar giving a rich finish in the kitchen, constructed by Queensland Cabinets. A huge slab of flecked Calcutta marble provides a splendid central work surface. Bi-fold windows open up to allow serving access to the patio.
Designer Richard Armstrong, of Garth Chapman’s Traditional Queenslanders, worked with the owner on The Plantation. Most rooms in the house have access to the wraparound 2.7-metre-wide verandahs through elegant French windows. Down lights direct a soft glow onto fine antiques and ornately framed artworks which hang from a gallery-like suspension system. Ecru cream walls adorn the formal living and dining rooms. Interior walls with elegant, muted shading provide a perfect backdrop to the sumptuous fittings and furnishings, and occasional splashes of colour on feature walls. Bay windows add an aesthetic highlight. A sewing room illustrates the owner’s quilting skills, while examples of her work are displayed around the home and guest wing.
The Plantation is 800 square metres of living space, including verandahs, surrounded by 21 acres of rich land which lies adjacent to a state forest. Ducted air-conditioning keeps this enormous living environment comfortable. Colonial highlights include decorative roof ventilators, towering three-metre ceilings inside the main house and double-hung windows.
Ensuites in the master and second bedrooms feature walk-in, door less showers with bush-style showerheads. Striking white ceramic pedestal basins brought from Sydney, with silver taps, are used in all bathrooms. A rugged black-coated clawfoot bath, VJ timber walls and a beautifully carved mirror in the main bathroom maintain the heritage ambience. Spacious walk-in robes and dressing areas are attached to the two main bedrooms.
A short walk from the main house is the west wing, a similarly styled building comprising three guest bedrooms and a sitting cum games room with kitchen facilities. Guest rooms are made distinctive with different coloured interior walls showing off shades of wheaten white, sage, and “frills” blue. A laundry equipped to take commercial-size loads, a double garage with panel lift door and a large storage room completes the west wing.