merimbula house, merimbula, new south wales

You get to know a lot about yourself and others too when you undertake a project like this. This was back in the fax era (1995). My clients lived overseas so the whole place was designed and built by fax! To say this was a physically demanding house to build (it’s built almost entirely of reclaimed bridge and wharf timber) is an extreme understatement.

Enter brother Andrew and unstoppable Alan ‘Simmo’ Simpson. The advantage of having Andrew leading the team was his work ethic and design sensibilities. It’s unusual to find someone with such creative energy who’s also as tough as nails. He always had my back on this project. Simmo too. We dedicated 18 months to the Merimbula House. It was our sole focus. Not a genius business strategy. And the house created quite a stir, local (treated with suspicion and derision), nationally (lauded and awarded) and even internationally.

Years later I received emails from around the globe from students studying the house as an exemplar of sustainable design. And yet, at the time, this wasn’t our motivation. Our motives were much simpler. Andrew led the idea that so many beautiful big timbers from demolished structures are often taken to the tip. He provoked that we should use them creatively. The idea of post and beam construction suited my simple design sensibilities. The rest as they say is history.