House for pam, merimbula, new south wales

The title was well considered given my wife Pam could never quite comprehend why I hadn’t designed a house for our family. It’s every architect’s nightmare. Your own home. The fear of your ideas being captured in a moment in time. Being accountable! There were so many iterations it just became ridiculous. I wore out my family welcome. I pared back the design and lodged the plans.

It’s 2 simple forms. One long box divided into three, 6 x 6 metre spaces and a vertical box 4.8 metres square and 10 metres high.

The vertical box became a tower for whale watching, star gazing and dream creating. It’s built entirely from reclaimed Oregon taken from a 1940’s built Sydney factory. When the trucks arrived, my father questioned what I intended to do with ‘all that firewood’. It’s a deeply personal project. I threw the firewood to brother Andrew, Donny ‘The Bear’ O’Connell, and with help from Simmo, Ty, the Jory family and master painter Bill Hollick, the rest is history.

When we moved back to Melbourne in 2008 ownership passed to the Foster family. They have become great friends and are wonderful custodians of a house that means so much to me, to Pam and our four boys.