Photography Tour with Darren Bradley

Sunday, November 12, 2017

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Learning about photographing the Menzies Library.
Inside Robertson House
Chairs from over the years awaiting restoration in Robertson House.
Curvy and straight inside Robertson House.
Stunningly restored bench seats in Robertson House.
Love that planting.
Darren says that architectural photographers sometimes have to double as furniture removalists.
Getting the chairs at just the right angle to reveal the legs.

Today I had the pleasure of taking an architectural photography tour around the Australian National University (ANU) with Darren Bradley of Mod Architecture. I won a ticket as part of my 3rd place prize in the Design Canberra Festival photography competition.

This is my photo that won 3rd place.

It was a fantastic afternoon and I enjoyed it immensely. I had my reservations about going back to the ANU after a miserable 6 months of study way back in the day. It has changed so much since then, in addition to some really unique modernist architecture, there are now some really interesting new and even futuristic additions.

Darren talked us through how he got started and the cameras he uses. Most importantly, he talked about what he believes makes a good photo and a bad photo. You can probably guess, it is a lot to do with having the right lighting. I was interested to hear that direct sunlight works better for modernist architecture rather than the overcast light that all brides dream of! I think he is right, direct sunshine highlights the lines, curves and shadows of buildings really well. You just have to wait for the right time of day.

I also learned a few technical tips about things I never knew how to fix, cue Photoshop. But most of all, especially at my stage of life where I am looking at my second career, I decided to stop being so hard on myself for never pursuing a purely creative profession straight out of school. During this tour and during the Creative Careers presentations (also part of the Design Canberra Festival) I have been able to see Year 12 students considering starting creative professional careers and reminds me what an anxious time that can be! 

More and more each day I am learning that when I was 18 I didn't know what I believed. I was interested in so many things and I was confused. I also thought that a creative career was not going to be challenging enough for me. Now I have life experience, perspective, beliefs and wishes for how I want the world to be. 

It was great to hear how Darren's photography hobby started alongside a full-time job that he still maintains. I think sometimes when you are working on a creative endeavour without the pressure of having to live off the income you can create new and beautiful things. That's because the creativity is about curiosity and pressure can kill that. Maybe its not so bad to have a full-time life that is a duty and a part-time life that is creative. That can really work.

Influences for Chifley House

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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^ This image of Diane Von Furstenberg's Connecticut home 'Cloudwalk' is an old favourite of mine.
It's so inviting and timeless. I think you would live a good life here.

For passers by, our new house must seem at once both unexpected and common-looking. Devoid of unnecessary ornamentation and architectural flourishes, it is essentially two pavilions joined by a glassy entry way. The roofs are simple gables with raked eaves. The exterior is clad in Scyon Linea, a modern-day weatherboard solution. The windows are dark aluminium frames from which I insisted all unnecessary transoms be removed. 

Our house is in a contemporary style that I have seen coming out of the States from the likes of Nick Noyes and Tim Cuppett architects. The look is modern and classic at the same time and my hope is that it will age well.

Contemporary architecture is not quite the same as the modern farmhouse style that is taking the world by storm. It is cleaning up the lines of traditional architecture. It considers the environment, site and climate. It is creative and doesn't necessarily require a big budget. Contemporary architecture is understated modernism.

^^ Youngren Road by GTH Architects. A modern updated form.

 ^Barwon Heads by Pleysier Perkins. Lovely dark trim windows against white weatherboard.

^ Bunny Run by Tim Cuppett Architects. Another house with a glassy breezeway entry. Love those simple square windows.

Healdsburg Residence by Nick Noyes Architecture. Another multi pavilion house with a glass entry way.
A popular house for photo shoots.

I also have a thing for off centre windows. It looks so interesting and playful. Building on a corner block meant we needed to have two fronts. The front of the house was easy, it was the front of the house with the garage, front door and letter box. But the side of the house was the first facade that people see when they come to our house. This was a great place to accentuate a simple gable facade with an offset square window balanced by an existing plum tree.

^ Chifley House undergoing her cladding recently.
Love the way the little window is balanced by the plum tree next to it.

^ Undermountain by O'Neill Rose Architects.

^ Clearview Chalet by AKB.

We have another larger off-centre window on the North end of the other pavilion gable but I've not been able to photograph it yet. There is nothing quite like a nice big piece of glass when it is put in the right spot.

^ Vacation Cottage by Mon Huset.

^ Summer House by Mikael Bergquist Architects.

A Blue Mountains Holiday

Saturday, July 29, 2017

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We recently enjoyed family weekend away in the Blue Mountains. With the family-friendly Fairmont Resort as our base, we enjoyed exploring the natural beauty of the region.

On a solo afternoon walk, I fell in love with the homes and gardens of Leura. You don't have to squint very hard to feel like you are somewhere in England.

The kids loved the various rides at Scenic World during which we stumbled upon Sculpture at Scenic World. This was an intoxicating exhibition of world-class sculptures set within a pristine rainforest of the Blue Mountains. What a joy to stumble upon such a special event!
^ The houses in Leura have the most beautiful gardens.
^ 3D Webs, 2016 by Louisa Magrics.
^ Green Screen, 2017 by Elin & Keino.
^ More Leura gardens beauty.


10 Modern Letterboxes

Monday, July 10, 2017

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There are so many decisions to make when building a new house. Many details seem to overlap and influence each other. I often find I change one thing with a resulting domino effect of other changes. We're finalising the interior of the house with some great help from Therese from Full of Grace Interiors

It's surprising how excited I am to work on the garden. I think it is because it is something I can do mostly myself and there is ample room for creativity. A garden is such an important part of creating a beautiful house and I know our girls will spend a lot of time out there.

I've been looking for a modern letterbox and after much hunting I wanted to share with you my favourites. The good news is they come at a range of prices.

1. Galvanised Metal Letterbox by Metware from Mitre10 NZ
2. Angled Roof Letterbox with Mounting Post from Letterbox Warehouse
3. Cardrona Letterbox by Metware from
4. Basel Letterbox by Arko Furniture
5. Arko Letterbox by Arko Furniture
6. Cabin Wooden Letterbox Natural by Alpine Products from Mitre10 NZ
7. TomTom Letterbox by DesignbyThem
9. Urban Mailbox by Box Design from Vanilla Design Store
10. Sefton Letterbox by Metware from

^ Arko Letterbox
^ Basel Letterbox
^ Kate Kelly Letterbox with Timber Post
^ TomTom Letterbox


A Pettit and Sevitt house

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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There is a Pettit and Sevitt house near us that has recently been on the market.

If you have an interest in Australian architecture then you will know about Pettit and Sevitt. They were a popular home builder in the 60s and 70s who specialised in project homes that were functional and modern.

The home we saw was the home of Dr Ric Stand and his wife who bought the especially large (3000m2) and pie-shaped block in 1966. It has magnificent gardens with multiple outdoor areas and view into the valley.

What captivated me about this house was its concept of two pavilions joined by a glass entry way. I've seen this concept so many times and always loved it. It is the architectural feature that helped us solve the problem of building across our sloping block whilst ensuring both living spaces had north solar access.

I have waked past this house many times and always wanted to look beyond the garden. Like many homes from this era, the front of the house looked like the back of the house. This was because of an understanding of the importance of the flow of the living spaces and the yard. Ahead of their time. 

I don't know why they stopped building this way in the first place. With all that we know now about solar orientation and how people want to move about their homes, so many homes are still built without any consideration of the modern needs of people, the orientation and the block itself.

^ Blue tiles brought back from Delhi


Canberra Antiques Centre

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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I always love to duck into Canberra Antiques Centre when I'm kid-free. They have a great range of furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac items that changes fairly regularly. 

I'm keeping an eye out for feature pieces for Chifley House. Although we don't want to over-furnish the new house, it is always good to open to falling in love with a special piece.

Check out the mega-terrazzo stone top table they had recently. And the lovely little marble top side table with drawer.


Villa Freshwater, a P&O house

Sunday, May 14, 2017

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I have been meaning to share some photos of a little holiday house we stayed at last year. Villa Freshwater is a beautiful example of P&O architecture situated on Sydney's north shore.

The Villa is an independently accessible two bedroom flat behind the main house. It has been beautifully and tastefully designed and decorated with a nod to nautical style but without the usual fruit salad basket of seashells and frangipani paintings.

^ Pastries from Mrs Jones the Baker in Freshwater village


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