Step inside this stunning Tropical North Queensland home

Spice at Oak back view

Spice is a home with soul. Created with persistence and a whole lot of passion by its owners, Bruce and Rachael Jackson, this stunning home in Tropical North Queensland blends ethnicity with the strong foundations and innovative technology required for a house so close to the sea.

Bruce and Rachael sought out many of the furnishings and fittings in Jodhpur while in India collecting craftwork for their business, Love Generation. With their collection complete and shipped back to Australia, the couple set about choosing architectural and statement pieces for their spectacular beachfront home, including a magnificent selection of brass lights and lanterns, some weighing up to 20kg, removed from grand old ships laid to rest in the ‘killing yards’ of Bangladesh.

Spice at Oak indoor outdoor

Spice at Oak recycled timber beams

Spice at Oak indian carved door

Spice at Oak walkway

With the carved doors, brass lights and a huge marble fountain from old India, as well as re-brushed and oiled recycled timbers, roof tiles from New Zealand and 130m2 of stonework, Spice boasts a radical palate of materials.

Related article: An architect-designed contemporary beach house on Stradbroke Island

All of the soft furnishings in the home, including quilts and cushions, are also from the Love Generation homeware range.

Spice at Oak Love Generation cushions

Spice at Oak deck

Spice at Oak master bedroom

Spice at Oak day bed

Spice’s captivating, easy-living, original design is by Vandyke Designs, now known as Bálay Vandyke. Chris Vandyke is the mastermind of many of the most prestigious homes in Tropical North Queensland. A former prawning skipper who understands the winds and the tides, his expertise ensures Spice is a practical breeze catching beauty.

Builder Nathan Verri of Port Douglas gave total commitment to Spice, resulting in two 2017 FNQ Master Builder Awards. “The charm of Spice,” Nathan says, “is that the design allows its picturesque outdoors to move in, drawing the beach, minus the wind, into the pool and courtyard areas.”

The large L-shaped, two-storey home almost touches the sands of Oak Beach and boasts four bedrooms and three bathrooms, pool and an entertaining area, overhung with a traditional Papua New Guinea canoe rescued from Cape York.

The exterior areas incorporate randomly shaped bluestone, the recycled timber arbour leading from the stonework entrance and integrating the pool area and the main house.

Spice at Oak upstairs walkway

Spice at Oak master bathroom

Spice at Oak bathroom

Spice at Oak poolside

This extensive use of maple for bifold doors is a major design feature, giving Spice an open to the sand, sea and sky extravaganza. The doors operate on a centor running system with integrated flyscreen rollers. In this high category wind area, the doors are 55mm thick.

A tropical winner where breezes need to circulate for natural airflow is a Queensland maple 2m x 1.4m louvered wall window which opens with struts. It’s a unique addition to the upstairs room which doubles as a study and fourth bedroom. Bifold doors also open from the master bedroom to an intimate relaxation space which along with its lengthwise patio overlooking the beach, extends the bedroom for an indoor-outdoor feel.

The open plan kitchen and living area with concealed butler’s kitchen features a 1.5m x 3.6m concrete benchtop, with waterfall ends, formed in position. It’s raw concrete with a burnished finish, both practical and effective. Recycled timber left over from other areas is again recycled for kitchen cupboards, while the freestanding wooden kitchen table, reinforced with steel, is offset by an overhanging brass light salvaged from Bangladesh.

Related article: A relaxed suburban home inspired by Bali

Spice at Oak kitchen

Spice at Oak kitchen bench

Spice at Oak facade

Spice at Oak port douglas beachfront

The home\’s innovative technology makes it practical and environmentally friendly in its beachfront position, just south of Port Douglas where sewerage and town-water are not connected. Here beside the Great Barrier Reef, local government environmental standards are strict.

Spice’s design team incorporated an Advanced Environmental System which is cleverly positioned underground and out of sight in the courtyard. Water collected from the roof is separated into drinking and garden needs and stored in a large tank beneath the garage.

With its magical, old worldly aura, Spice is a winning combination of aesthetics and easy, tropical living. The home was built as the Jackson’s Coral Sea dream-house, but until they move north, it is an executive holiday rental. You can find it (and stay here for your own dram tropical escape) at

Photography: Louise Roche of Villa Styling 

Words: Eugenie Navarre

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