Lascelles mudbrick house

I’ve been wanting to feature homes and interiors since I started Isiiad.  I’m so happy that Helen and Wayne Lascelles’ house at Panton Hill is the first.  It’s a knockout.

The house was designed by the owner, Wayne Lascelles.  An architect, with Nauru House to his credit, Wayne wanted to challenge his design and building skills by building a house without straight lines. He believes it gives buildings a more organic, softer feel, more in keeping with the environment.  He admits to being inspired by the work of Gaudi and Frank Gehry’s curvy Guggenheim creation in Bilbao.

Having lived in Eltham for over 30 years, he was familiar with the advantages of mud brick…their eco friendly qualities as well as their ability to create cosy environments.  With these two elements as the central theme, he developed his plans. He and his wife Helen then took on the massive task of building the house, themselves, using a number of skillful local tradesmen where necessary. The mudbricks for instance were made by a local.

By dispensing with unnecessary finishes like external eaves linings, fascia boards, ceilings, skirtings, architraves and cornices, they reduced the work of the build, but more importantly maintained the simplicity of the overall aesthetic.   The house took four years to bring up out of the ground.  The following is quoted from notes for an article about the house, courtesy of Wayne.

“Taking full advantage of it’s elevated Northerly aspect this organic residence nestles high upon a natural ridge overlooking folding green valleys towards the Kinglake National Park, blending perfectly with the surrounding native bushland….

The plan consists of a central living zone with self contained bedroom wings at each end complete with their own bathrooms.  Accessed via a curved open timber stair is a mezzanine study level with a huge eye shaped window set into the roofline.  Externally the roof ridge line undulates and curves over each space it covers. Throughout the house Tasmanian oak timber has been used to line exposed cathedral ceilings…The visible ridge was formed by curved laminated hardwood beams dropped into slots in the posts. Exposed rafters meet the curved ridgeline and form the distinctive backbone of the roof frame.”


“… tranquil reflection pools, fed via chains from the roof, may be viewed from inside the house.”


The garden was designed by Helen and Wayne’s son, James Lascelles, a landscape architect presently working in London.  The design was created on autocad so sent with the aid of email.  The plants were delivered on site and the Lascelles family gathered at Panton Hill for a working bee to plant them.  Plants are drought tolerant but have clearly loved the recent rains to establish themselves.




The roof is reminiscent of sand dunes.

“Given limited depth, roof insulation uses a super efficient reflective ‘bubble wrap’ “Aircell” system.”


Maintaining the circular theme, this three car garage is home to Wayne’s other passion, a beautifully kept Riley.  (More curves there.)


This dear little building is Helen’s potting shed.  Not bad for a potting shed!




The wood shed is a work in progress.


The family cat accompanied me during the whole photo shoot.  She’s more like a dog really…personality plus.


“The plan for this owner builder house results from a number of overlapping circles. The central ‘egg’ shaped zone has as it’s focal point a circular cone shaped 7 meter high stone granite chimney with a large arched fireplace and extended stone hearth on one face and a very effective ‘Chiminee Philippe’ solid fuel heater recessed into the other.”

From all parts of the living area, the chimney is centre stage.

Paintings by their daughter, the very talented Nerina Lascelles, have pride of place throughout the house.  (Above- to the left of the fireplace)






The bath is set in place with the same stone used in the chimney.  I love the stone step up to bath.


I’ve been a fan of the inside/outside house forever.  Floor to ceiling windows throughout the house bring the great outdoors into every space. Wayne and Helen have managed to create a mudbrick home that’s wonderfully airy and full of light.



The interior design and decoration frequently uses architectural details and artwork from around the world.  A door from India, a lintel from Bali, Kokeshi dolls from Japan, a wall hanging from Mandalay and textiles from Africa.









I left the house in the late afternoon and was accompanied on the short trip down the drive by two kangaroos…I wished I’d strapped my camera to my face so I could capture that moment for you to enjoy.  Acres of natural Australian bush. A great environment like that deserves a great house.  This is a great house!


Thankyou so so much to Helen and Wayne for showing me such generous hospitality and for making Isiiad’s first home post possible.  It’s going to be a very hard act to follow.