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The brief from clients Margaret and Nick required a discrete island antidote to their family’s busy lives. A unique place to retreat to and relax on idyllic North Stradbroke Island [Minjerribah in the traditional Jandai language of the Quandamooka people or “Straddie”].



Paul Butterworth Architect delivered “Corymbia”, a robust bare-foot beach house with voluminous light-filled living spaces, comfortable reading nooks, cosy plywood-lined bedrooms and unique indoor/outdoor bathing spaces. It’s a physical and ideological retreat, an inter-generational home for gathering family and friends, celebrating, cooking, bathing, and creating lasting memories.

The name “Corymbia” was adopted from the species of beautiful flowering tree planted by Margaret and Nick’s extended family long ago, that welcomes visitors to the site. Once guests pass through the stone walled entry arbour, the new dwelling is discrete, tucked into its site in deference to the surrounding landscape. Dense planting will mature in time to eventually obscure the home completely with only the rustic stone walls to betray its presence within its suburban setting.

The home features a series of large hardwood doors that slide and stack behind an external wall, to reveal a generous double-height central living deck which Paul describes as “The lungs of the house”. Traditionally mundane domestic rituals [showering, shaving, etc.] were heightened and uniquely treated to Straddie’s natural beauty via mirrored reflections and large skylights.



Materials, colours and textures reference the bush setting and the fibrous cement cladding of vernacular shacks in an abstracted but familiar composition. Aged tapware, subtle lighting and hardwood plywood cabinetry add a refined richness enhancing domestic rituals like cooking, bathing and washing. Corymbia was delivered under budget and was well-made by local hands to be durable and loved for generations. Local skilled labour and positive open communication between clients, architect and builder were essential to a collectively enjoyable procurement experience and the successful completion of the project.


“We totally relax in the house and, with every door and window open, enjoy the illusion of being outside as butterflies fly through the house and kangaroos roll on the grass.”


Margaret and Nick

construction photos

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