PINT-SIZED HOME: Clayfield house, next to train line on very, very small block,. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
PINT-SIZED HOME: Clayfield house, next to train line on very, very small block,. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

Is this the skinniest house ever?

It is difficult to imagine a more challenging site on which to build a family home.

But for owners Kirsty Volz and David Toussant, the slender 317sq m parcel of land abutting the train line at Clayfield was precisely what they had been searching for.

"We bought it from Queensland Rail for a steal, an incredibly cheap block of land for Clayfield," Kirsty says.

"I guess a lot of people thought building on it was just too hard. We thought, 'We can afford that!' "

READ: An exact digital replica of Brisbane News Magazine HERE

(More Clayfield House photos at the end of this story)

RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRACKS: Clayfield House, designed by Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint, makes the most of a tiny 317 sqm block with a 2.3m frontage Builder: Thallon and Mole. Photography: Scott Burrows
RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRACKS: Clayfield House, designed by Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint, makes the most of a tiny 317 sqm block with a 2.3m frontage Builder: Thallon and Mole. Photography: Scott Burrows

 

The narrow site called for some creative thinking, which suited Kirsty and David's aptitude for experimenting with design.

They were motivated to create a modest house for themselves and their son, happy to trade floor size for amenity and garden.

"We are a small family and we wanted to build a two-bedroom house but lending criteria required us to build three," Kirsty says. "We settled on a plan with a third bedroom that would operate flexibly."

 

STREET FRONT: The perforated screen extends up to the roof, and disguises the carport and creates privacy for the deck above. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
STREET FRONT: The perforated screen extends up to the roof, and disguises the carport and creates privacy for the deck above. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

Kirsty and David ordered rooms into two slender, double-storey towers, connected in the middle by sheltered walkways.

"We put the circulation along the southern edge which meant that we could carve out these little voids to get light and ventilation through,"
Kirsty  says.

The separation of the two towers brings plant life, sunshine and breeze to the centre of the plan. At ground level, the patio serves as an extension of the kitchen and above it, the walkway with its playfully large window creates a balcony from which conversation can be shared between upper and lower floors.

 

WELCOME: The entrance to the home is down a side path. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
WELCOME: The entrance to the home is down a side path. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

"We were committed to maximising the narrow site," Kirsty says. "At the front we didn't want a single-storey carport cutting the house in half, we wanted a pure and simple form and to express the material."

This is why the front of the house appears distinctly tall and narrow, its perforated timber facade enclosing the veranda above the carport.

"The veranda is a tough space, due west and looking over the train line," Kirsty says. "The perforated facade goes some ways to insulating the adjacent room from the afternoon sun and train line."

With a street frontage of just 2.3m, there was space for a single car but not a front door as well. Instead a garden path along the northern boundary guides visitors to the patio and entrance at the rear tower. Living spaces extend from there, opening into a second-storey lounge room and a staircase which connects to the two bedrooms above.

Large doors connect easily to the generous rear garden.

The third bedroom, which Kirsty and David were initially reluctant to include, has turned quite a profit for them since they moved in.

"When we first moved in we rented the third room out. We designed it to have a separate entrance, plus its own bathroom," Kirsty says.

"In the future it could operate as home office separate from the main household.

"In fact my mother has already claimed it for old age so it's turned out to be quite handy."

 

Designers: Kirsty Volz & David Toussaint

Builder: Thallon Mole, ph: 3856 4955

Photography: Scott Burrow

 

 

 

PROTECTED: The harsh afternoon sun is filtered by the perforated screen, which also allows cooling breezes to flow over the veranda. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
PROTECTED: The harsh afternoon sun is filtered by the perforated screen, which also allows cooling breezes to flow over the veranda. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

NO REUSE — FIRST USE ONLY BY BRISBANE NEWS Brisbane News architecture story by Michelle Bailey. Clayfield house, next to train line on very, very small block,. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
NO REUSE — FIRST USE ONLY BY BRISBANE NEWS Brisbane News architecture story by Michelle Bailey. Clayfield house, next to train line on very, very small block,. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

HELLO: The wall of the upstairs covered walkway can be opened to allow easy communication if someone is using the outdoor area downstairs.  Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
HELLO: The wall of the upstairs covered walkway can be opened to allow easy communication if someone is using the outdoor area downstairs. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

 

 

 

 

COMPACT: No space was wasted, but the design allows for plenty of light to enter the home. It may be small, but it doesn’t feel small: “We put the circulation along the southern edge which meant that we could carve out these little voids to get light and ventilation through.” Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
COMPACT: No space was wasted, but the design allows for plenty of light to enter the home. It may be small, but it doesn’t feel small: “We put the circulation along the southern edge which meant that we could carve out these little voids to get light and ventilation through.” Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

PRIVACY: The perforated screen panels are used on the lower levels, so the house next door — which is very close — is hidden from view. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
PRIVACY: The perforated screen panels are used on the lower levels, so the house next door — which is very close — is hidden from view. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

 

 

 

OPEN HOUSE: Walkways connect the two towers of the home. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
OPEN HOUSE: Walkways connect the two towers of the home. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

SOARING CEILINGS: Using voids allows for high ceilings, boosting a sense of space. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
SOARING CEILINGS: Using voids allows for high ceilings, boosting a sense of space. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

VOID: The upstairs hallway is connected to the lower level via a void. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
VOID: The upstairs hallway is connected to the lower level via a void. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

 

 

SMART: There is even a surprisingly roomy backyard, possible by minimising containing the house’s footprint. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows
SMART: There is even a surprisingly roomy backyard, possible by minimising containing the house’s footprint. Designers: Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint Builder: Thallon and Mole Photography: Scott Burrows

............

 

 


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