Henriette Werner is not only the principal building designer of her own building design firm, but also holds positions on the board of the Building Designers Association of Queensland (BDAQ). We ask her about her stunning home and what makes her so passionate about building design on the Sunshine Coast.


You’re a big proponent of the building/design industry on the Sunshine Coast. What makes it so special here?

Over the years the number of houses that I have drawn up for the Sunshine Coast goes into the hundreds but I am only a small part of the building design industry here. There are so many talented and dedicated designers on the Coast and I am so proud to be part of this community of amazing people. The Sunshine Coast is set for continued growth with several developments drawing people to the area. Construction on the Coast will steadily continue to cater for a population increase by over 200,000 over the next two decades. Sunshine Coast Council is planning for this growth and developing the infrastructure to cater for the needs of new households, businesses and industry. Consumers on the Sunshine Coast are also recognising the value of building designers and how we can help them to create their dream home within their budget.

What can you tell us about your beautiful home?

Inspired by the architectural style of the Japanese dojo along with some Scandinavian influences, this home has come together as a unique modern family residence and home office. The external colours and geometric shapes define the separation of spaces, which culminate in the centralised kitchen/dining area. There is an easy flow through the floor plan with functionality of spaces at the forefront of the layout making the plan comfortable and conveniently small while still giving privacy to individual occupants. Natural light and air flows into every area, giving every space a good connection with the outdoor environment. The yard and plunge pool are made private by a line of bamboo bushes around the perimeter.

Why is this home so important to you?

Building design is my passion, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Providing a safe, loving and comfortable home for my children has always been a top priority for me since they were born. Perhaps it’s a maternal instinct, perhaps it stems from my own need to feel that I have a ‘safe’ environment to come home to from growing up in an abusive home where I didn’t always feel entirely safe. When my marriage broke down 10 years ago I found myself alone with the kids having to provide a home for them on my own, my protective instinct became even stronger. I have an overwhelming desire to establish security in the form of shelter – for my family and for others. Helping families to get into houses of their own inspires me and gives me motivation and strength to continue every day. I dedicate my life to this work and hope that in some way I contribute to the creation of many happy homes across Australia.

What are your number one tips for someone looking to build a home?

My biggest piece of advice would be to spend extra time on research and design development. I cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of getting the design right. Either find a builder who is able to take you through that process and give you the time and attention that you require, or find a building designer who can work with you directly. The benefit of hiring your own designer is that the client owns the rights to the plans, not the builder, and is able to shop around for a builder at their own leisure.

What trends/styles are you loving at the moment (both interior and design)?

An obvious trend at the moment is the move towards smaller houses. This is both due to the small lots that the developers are creating for us but also because consumers are realising that we really don’t need as much space as we used to. It all comes down to how space is used, it’s functionality, not the size of the space in itself. Creating functionality within limited spaces is a wonderful challenge that I love and one I deal with on a daily basis. Minimalism is taking a strong lead when it comes to both the exterior and interior of homes. Its influence is of Japanese architecture and the mid-century retro movement. Simple lines, natural textures along with a light/dark colour scheme and naturally bright spaces are at the forefront of this trend and the result is a refreshingly modern feel. The simplicity of this trend allows people to declutter their homes and their lives, a wonderful result.]]>