Sunday, 5 May 2013

profile brisbane open house - wolf & sparrow.

Brisbane Open House founders Steve Boyle & Gelena Michaela Wolf of
Wolf & Sparrow
Today's creative duo, are talented husband and wife team Steve Boyle, a licensed builder, and Gelena Michaela Wolf a designer and architecture student. Together they're Wolf & Sparrow, an innovative design and construction company which focus on preserving original Queenslanders and adding contemporary extensions that are dynamic, flexible, liveable and beautiful.
Their latest collaborative effort is 73 Albert Street, Camp Hill, Brisbane's first Open House and Pop Up which will showcase contemporary sustainable architecture, alongside industrial and homeware designers with a focus on Brisbane based artisans. 
A striking home which casts a commanding presence from the road, the original farmhouse was preserved, yet old has been merged with new with the addition of a modern split-level living zone. The extension on the upper storey features a family living area, study, main bedroom, ensuite and private verandah. While the new lower level includes a lounge, dining, kitchen with views to the pool, garden and patio. A media room, laundry and powder room is also on the lower level. 
Incredibly talented, with a flair for many creative endeavors Wolf & Sparrow are a unique design and building company which has just started consulting to assist clients planning to build or renovate, help maximise their budget and refine their needs to ensure they create a home they'll love. You can read more about the Open House here which will be open to view from May 11th until the onsite auction on June 1st. Even if you're not in the market for a new home, who can resist the opportunity to visit an incredible house, where everything you see from the soft furnishings to the art on the walls is available to buy - very tempting...

Q & A with Steve and Glena:

What are your creative backgrounds?
Steve: I currently make furniture pieces from reclaimed bits taken from our projects as a hobby but it’s turning into a professional pursuit. I come from a family of visual artists so I always have a yearning to do something artistic and currently the focus is on the creation and direction of our projects.

Gelena: I was given a great opportunity when I was 19 to work in the creative field of multi-media production, photographic styling and event design. I worked my way up to become an event director and created events throughout Australia and internationally. I was also fortunate to work with Steve who is my husband and business partner for many years in events. This career path gave me many great opportunities including the opportunity to be involved with design, styling, food and architecture…and I fell in love with all four.

After our third child was born we needed a career change to keep us closer to home so Steve and I decided to create the Home Store & Café in Ashgrove, to merge our love of food and design. We were a point of difference in Ashgrove at that time, the café only served food that was made on site, even the tomato sauce and Kasoundi was created in our kitchens. Just before we sold Home Store & Café we were recognized by Delicious Magazine as being their readers choice café for QLD, that was a great honour!

After a stint in Vietnam and the birth of our fourth child we made design and building our permanent lifestyle and career. 


How did the concept for the Open House and Gallery Pop Up Store come about?
The process of designing and building is immensely creative and enjoyable. We wanted to extend that involvement to the selling of our projects and enliven the experience both for ourselves and the potential buyers. Ultimately we wanted to do something that was unique and enjoyable. People are what make a home and we wanted the house to be filled with people not only looking at the house but also at the artworks and designer products.

We also wanted to work with other designers and artisans to showcase their work and build a creative network. In doing so we wanted to bring their products to life and similarly bring the house to life with their designs with the vibe of a social and fun Pop Up gallery. 

Bungalow Living cushions (indoor/outdoor), rug by Habitat
Home Collection, Wambamboo floor light and X & Y Stools and Table by Kent
Gration from Integration Studio, Artwork by White with Three

When did the planning begin and what challenges have you had to overcome?
It’s been a whirlwind since we decided to have the Open House with a Pop Up gallery. We’ve been working on the concept since February and it has been non-stop with a life of its own. It is always challenging bringing a new concept to the market but we’ve had fantastic support from Place Estate Agents, Paula Pearce and Paul Curtain were supportive of the concept from the beginning. We’ve also had wonderful feedback from the designers and artisans we approached with many coming on board prior to even seeing the property; they thought the concept was fantastic.

What was the inspiration behind the home’s design?
We wanted to preserve the original farmhouse and make it a standout feature which is why we painted it in vivid white. We also wanted to highlight the extension as a contemporary area and clad the exterior in two distinct modern materials. The living areas on both levels are clad on the exterior in Queensland spotted gum and the bedroom suite upstairs is clad externally in black Axon to highlight its private nature. The contrasting three zones create a striking external design and highlight the generous house dimensions.

What look did you want to achieve for the interior?
We design and build our interiors to be contemporary with clean lines, plenty of natural light and cross ventilation. We have primarily used natural materials such as travertine and marble tiles throughout, spotted gum timber flooring and Calcutta marble for the Island bench. Creating views while retaining privacy was an important aspect to our interior, we always build with a view in mind, whether it be a city skyline or in this case beautiful trees, sky, hills and views to the pool and garden. Bringing the outside in is a key aspect of our interiors.

What do you think makes a house a home?
The people within, their loved ones and their belongings, whether they be photographs or products they love. Their interaction with the house, their sense of belonging and their feelings of living well all contribute to making a house a home.


Which architectural aspects do you love most about the Open House?

Steve: 73 Albert Street is a completely functional family home.  I love that the new owners will have the opportunity to experience living in a character Queenslander with the functionality and architecture of a modern home.

Gelena: I love the kitchen and the views to the garden and pool. I love the sunken lounge room and especially the built in daybed where you can lie down with your ipad or newspaper and feel the breeze from the pool directly outside. The dressing and make-up area in the WIR is fantastic. But my all-time favourite is the peek-a-boo window from the upstairs lounge and study with views directly to the neighbouring park and playground...I can just imagine the new owners calling their kids in for dinner from a game of soccer or a play on the swings through those windows. Priceless moments.

How did you select the participating designers and artisans?
Australia is home to so many brilliant artisans. We focused primarily on Brisbane designers, who produce unique quality products and artworks that best fit our design aesthetic and sustainability focus.

Mason Sinclair  -  Wambamboo  -   Emily Nelson
Which designers and artisans will be participating:
*  Hamimi
*  ErinsWindow                           
Tree Party Design
*  Seven Dandelions
Do you have your eye on a few pieces for yourself?
Steve: The neo-vintage fabric chosen by The Fabric Frame on the is a real winner for me – it’s really cool and modern but it has a healthy respect for the past.

Gelena: One of everything please! We loved the Constellation Pendant by Kent Gration from his Wambamboo range (showcasing at the Open House & Pop Up) so we had it installed in the entrance of 73 Albert St to remain with the house. A rug from Habitat Home Living is on the cards for another project as are a few pieces from Hamimi and Bungalow Living. And for Mother’s Day I’ve put a request in for a couple of artworks from Emily Nelson and White with Three plus a few Zillpa bowls…please.


What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
There have been so many… having so many wonderful designers and artisans participating and having their feedback on the house has been so encouraging, Real Living magazine agreeing to participate in the Open House & Pop Up (one of my favourite magazines!)was a great moment, this interview is another!

What's next?
The first Open House & Pop Up is on the 11th of May and the auction will be held on the 1st of June. After a short break we will put the finishing touches on our own home before we start another project in Camp Hill.