Gold Coast Open House hits a home run

Each year, Gold Coast Open House opens up the doors to some of the city’s most fascinating buildings, with residential homes being among the most popular of the event’s stops. This year, Architectural graduate PJ Deasy has agreed to open up the home she has renovated on Rio Vista Boulevard to the curious hordes. Passionate about mid Century design and sustainability, PJ is already making a name for herself in the architectural world as creative and an innovator. She kindly spoke to Blank GC ahead of the event.

What is it about Mid Century design that so appeals to you?

I’ve long been interested in contemporary history, particularly the post-war period. During university I dedicated historical research papers to domestic architecture in Queensland, specifically focusing on architects and relics within the Gold Coast and Brisbane regions, and my thesis research focussed on the role of breeze block within contemporary architectural history in South East Queensland from 1955 – 1970. I’ve since co-authored a published paper bringing to light a work of local Brisbane architect Robin Spencer, which was an incredible achievement. My take-home on domestic design and particularly architecture during the mid century period, is really about well-considered, honest and modestly-sized dwellings, rather than excess.

What have you done in your Rio Vista property that people may have not seen before? What about it screams ‘you’?

Our home is uniquely ‘us’. So many components have been ‘labour of love’ DIY side projects, often triggered through lack of availability or affordability! Our front door and handle, bollard light, bench seat, coloured concrete pavers, artwork… the list goes on. When we first purchased the house, like most first home owners, it was a long journey and wonderful achievement for both of us. For a bit of fun I chose to commemorate this with a playful wall mural inspired by one of my favourite artists. Initially I chose to paint it on a wall we assumed would end up being demolished during renovations, however as the design changed and matured, the wall ended up remaining. We managed to protect it throughout construction and now it is a playful reminder of the original house and journey thus far.

What do you love about Queensland architecture?

Queensland has such a rich architectural history, as well as an incredible calibre of established and emerging architects that are creating really engaging and thoughtful work. Now that we have two relatively new architecture schools here on the Gold Coast it will be exciting to see the benefits on our local built landscape!

Are there any buildings on the GCOH that you particularly love or would be particularly excited to see, and why?

I particularly love the Burleigh Street House by Matt Eagle in this year’s GCOH program. Matt’s creative approach and planning resolve to a house that was arguably so typical of many existing Gold Coast homes, really shows what can be achieved without completely demolishing existing structure. There’s a reason he’s collecting awards – I’d encourage others to check it out too!

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or about your home?

The renovation and extension of our Rio Vista home has been a story of many firsts. It is our first home ever purchased, and the first architectural project I’ve undertaken since graduating. I’ve lost track of how many different design iterations I explored, and whilst it could have been a slight distraction during my studies, it ended up being a challenging outlet to apply my skills and creativity. With such a tight budget it really was a blessing to have our family and friends continually roll up their sleeves and help us throughout the process.

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Registrations are now open and quickly filling up for Gold Coast Open House on 4 November. Visit the website ASAP to avoid missing out on this unique event!

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