Tropical Treehouse with plenty of character in Townsville
You could be forgiven for thinking this house has been pulled from the set of Tarzan and hidden among the treetops of Townsville’s North Ward.
With sweeping ocean views out to the Palm Group and Magnetic Island, this home built in 1996 was architecturally designed by its late owner, Terry O’Toole, to complement the tropical climate.
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His wife, Mary, said Mr O’Toole used creative and somewhat unconventional features in the home’s design, with the aim of keeping it breezy and well-ventilated.
“The stairs are solid cast iron from 1888, and are from the Stuart Prison which was demolished,” Ms O’Toole said.
“If we put a solid staircase in, it would have compartmentalised the house, but we wanted to maintain that openness and have breezes flow through.
“There is also meat safe mesh that connects rooms while still giving people privacy — we’ve used it in walls upstairs and in between the kitchen and dining room.”
Ms O’Toole said some of the features in the house had been incorporated to serve as creative inspiration for their children, Calum and Bridie.
“We have a fan that is a Kitty Hawk propeller (aeroplane propeller designed by the Wright brothers) because Terry wanted to stimulate the children’s imaginations,” she said.
“The house was built with skill and love and we hope that we find someone who will enjoy living in it as much as we have.”
Bridie O’Toole said her father’s design of the home inspired her to become an architecture graduate.
“My dad was a strong believer in designing to the climate — when our extended family would come and visit, they’d always comment on it being so much cooler inside the house than out,” she said.
“It was a testament to his very considered design for a house that breathes.
“In my designs, I prefer not to use artificial means to keep a house cool, and that house (45 Victoria St) was very good at doing that.”
The colourful and creative house was built and engineered to keep power bills low.
“I liked that it was a very colourful and happy home growing up — not only was it a house, it was a home,” Bridie said.
“Every surface of the exterior had an opening, so pretty much anywhere you stood in the house you could see out, and there was always fresh air filtering through the house.
“It meant we saved on power
and also had fresh air flowing through the house for 90 per cent of the year.”
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