Port Douglas House

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Port Douglas House

Futures trader, John Moulton, lives in a very stylish and contemporary home, where the boundaries between indoors and outdoors are blurred and where water is a strong design element. The tropical gardens are reminiscent of rainforests edging onto a river, in this case, a man-made stream surrounding the house. The property, at Port Douglas in Far North Queensland, has magnificent views to the Coral Sea.


John wanted a house with no walls, or as few walls as possible. He worked closely with the architect, Chris Vandyke, to create the exact home that he envisaged. Vandyke describes the house as open in plan with tropical, Asian and Mediterranean influences. He has created a free flowing, adobe style (sun dried brick) home, with indoor/outdoor living and the use of water features.

Access to the guest pavilions is via a bridge. The guest bathrooms are unique. They are surrounded by waterways and ponds, and fish swim freely around the shower recess, hand basin and toilet. The feature rock waterfalls in each guest bathroom were built into the retaining walls.

High ceilings provide cooling airflow and the headland traps the cooling winds from the north east. John said that standing on the verandah is like being on the bow of a ship.


The tropical gardens are a blend of native and exotic plants, including orchids, bromeliads, philodendrons, bamboo and gingers. The mature palm trees were left intact and the garden was designed around them.

The waterway is stocked with Australian native fish such as jungle perch, mangrove jack, barramundi, fresh water eel, yabbies and cat fish. The fish are all fed live food and meat.

Further information

This residence won the 2003 National Building Design Award for houses 300-400m2 and Best Environmental and Energy Efficient design.