Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview With A Stranger



I stood outside this beautiful home, hands on hips yesterday, on my run/dawdle..... trying to work out whether it was an old home or a new home made to look old.....when the owner came to the door and asked if he could help me. I babbled on about new/old, bay windows, blah, blah and before I knew it I was ripping my running shoes off as I stumbled up the stairs and I was in!

The gentleman's study - all the joinery, his own craftsmanship.

Intricate carvings and a beautiful brass eagle on the corner, looking over the gentleman's desk.

As it was so early in the morning, and the curtains were drawn, the interior was dark so photos via iphone were difficult..... and also a bit rude! ...... as here I was talking to a retired master 'Detail Joiner'!!! Wait for it... the master Detail Joiner of his day!!!.... who created all the joinery in both the Kookaburra Queen Paddle Steamers, the Queensland Polo Club, all the joinery in the Sheraton hotels, north and south.... the list goes on. The photos that I did discreetly snap did not do the place justice and I was more excited about actually picking this delightful gentleman's amazing brains than sneaking photos and ruining the moment. What a life he had led, places he had built, fitted out and seen!

Copper shingles

It turns out his beautiful home is only 20 years old. He built it based on photographs of homes he had taken in England during his travels. It was brick but with the old finishing bullnose bricks that are no longer made. Beautiful stained glass, bevelled windows everywhere, not just in the bay windows, and copper roof shingles and downpipes... it was a beauty.

The mantle - a French Chateaux original.

Inside was full of stunning antiques from all around the world. The Great Room was beautiful but as it was dark I could not capture what I saw. I couldn't every well start barking orders to "open the curtains and fire up those gorgeous chandeliers"!

Different cornices in every room!




The staircase detail almost brought tears to my eyes. As the sun was shining through  the gorgeous window assembly, right at my phone, my photos barely capture the detail.


It was 3 stories and the lower level did not have a balustrade, which was unusual to see. 


The landings were graced with beautiful antique vases and ornaments All I could think of was my boys taking them out with their school bags if they were present... as boys do with anything precious or beautiful!

The lovely gentleman took me right through the ground floor, out to their 'casual living area', which was still so grand, and out onto the terrace that overlooked the pool and the vast grounds. We stood chatting about his long career, the buildings he had worked on, some of Brisbane's finest buildings. We mused about famous Brisbane architects and of course Mr Dodds, THE architect of the town and how distinctive his creations are and how you can spot them a mile away.... and where they are!


Back out front I asked the gentleman what he called the brackets under his bay windows, as I remarked that I saw them everywhere in The Hamptons, especially used in the eaves of homes as a decorative feature. He said he called them 'brackets'. Gotta love an Aussie! We laughed and he said he had about 20 left over from the build if I wanted them for my next house! I said that this was the best 'hands on hips, catching my running breath moment' I have ever had and that I was so glad I had stopped to catch my breath and stickybeak!


I feel so very special as this gentleman has had many offers from people/magazines to photograph his home, tell his story and I am the first one he has ever let in!

I am popping my business card in his mailbox this morning so he can read my post. I feel this is the start of something wonderful as he is looking out a special manuscript for me to read.


Brisbane DOES have beautiful homes.... with wonderful stories. You just have to poke around to find them...... and be prepared to chat to strangers!

Happy Wednesday!
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26 comments:

  1. Lovely! His joinery is beautiful, its something to behold this level of craftsmanship, perhaps some better photos might do it justice in the future!

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  2. What an absolutely beautiful, gorgeous home! Everything in the house makes me gasp and dream. Absolutely beautiful! What an amazing fellow, to have built and designed it all. Mxxx

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  3. What a stroke of luck ( or gift from above) that u happened across this gentleman!!! U with ur LOVE. And appreciation of good joinery.
    Bet that put a spring in ur step for the run home:-)

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  4. Great story AM. No-one more worthy than you to be invited in. A perfect connection. Fated.

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  5. you are a SCREAM!!!! wasn't it nice of him to give you a tour? x

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  6. Such fine attention to detail- a true tradesman! unlike many of this age who are quick fixers. I will bet the building of this beautiful home was a lifelong dream of his that came to fruition. He granted you this privelidge as you must have gone about it all the right way-with respect and manners, you know the privelidge is yours -not his to be in some magazine.

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  7. What a kind gentleman to let you into his beautiful home. I hope you bring the ute next time to pick up those brackets!! xx

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  8. I would say how lucky you are A-M but the reality is that you attract just the things you deserve. Thank you to such a lovely gentleman for sharing his home with you, and by extension, us. It is absolutely beautiful and I love, love, love all the joinery. Sigh. I think if I had been born a man 70 years ago, I would have been a master detail joiner too! Rx

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  9. What a lucky girl you are, the work in that house is an absolute gem.

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  10. Great story from a wonderful man.
    Carolyn

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  11. What a lovely man! How often would he get the opportunity to talk about his history with someone who has your passion for architecture and design? You've also made a wonderful friend.

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  12. Holy guacamole, A-M, you stepped into a fairy tale! That's what it feels and looks like! Exquisite taste. I would caress that staircase and those bookcases everyday! How fortuitous for you two to meet up and rather brave I might add for you to step into a stranger's home!:)

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  13. I love your enthusiasm! And I'm sure he did too. He sounds like a lovely man. (And I always call men over 50 gentlemen too.) What a wonderful friendship you have made. His skill is evident. Look at those cabinets in the study. Oh, I hope you persuade him to write a book so we can all read about his extraordinary life!
    xx

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  14. What a great moment that must have been A.M and a delightful man by the sounds of it all it has put a huge smile on my face today :) x

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  15. What a story! You really have the Mack of bring out the best in the folks you meet. I agree he should write a book and document his work, or at least that wonderful house.

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  16. This looks like the place Millie and MOTH were married.

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  17. What a wonderful morning Storey. I love your confidence in chatting to strangers A-M, I wish I could do that.

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  18. How very special A-M, with your love of beautiful craftsmanship, to meet the ultimate craftsman! I have seen his work at the Polo Club...beautiful!!!!! xx

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  19. You always have a charming way of getting stories out of people they normally wouldn't share A-M. Add that with your nose for amazing homes and you've got winning blog material. Love the pictures of the light on that grand staircase. Gorgeous!

    XX,
    Andrea

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  20. How lovely, not just the house but the story. Boy would I love to get a few cans of white paint on it!

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  21. How fabulous! Both the house and the wonderful stories and pictures. I must visit Brisbane! xx

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  22. OH MYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! That staircase and the brilliant light through the windows, the elegance and magic preserved (that must occur every sunshiney morning) is almost too beautiful. How lucky he is, and you were, to experience this magic first hand.
    I have traipsed through a Dodds house in New Farm many years ago! I understand the awe of that experience! So few experiences like this! :) Thanks for sharing!!! Lucky girl!!!

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  23. What a gorgeous home. The windows in the grand stair case remind me of those that were in my grandmother's grand staircase in the US. Beatuiful detailing everywhere! What a lucky stop and a great chat! I love beautiful homes like this.

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Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx