A mini metropolis: Live Work Share House

Judith Zeng

Finding ourselves at the intersection between skyrocketing property prices, a pandemic that has forced us home for work and education, and our known need for connection, we need different kinds of dwellings. Chris Bligh and Sonia Graham of Bligh Graham Architects have designed their own house as a prototype residence that can support many states of occupation. Based around a narrow plan spanning a double-ended block, the design accommodates a three-bedroom house, a one-bedroom flat and the Bligh Graham Architects studio. These spaces are separated by large or micro courtyards, offering independence and privacy and creating what Chris and Sonia see as a “mini tropical village.”

There is a sense that any of the 10 or so occupants of Live Work Share House by Bligh Graham Architects can find a quiet corner or space to be together.


Christopher Frederick Jones

The kitchen sits at the heart of the plan, overlooking the main courtyard. Like the rest of the building, it is set up to be highly porous, with top-hung composite aluminium shutters letting breezes through while maintaining privacy and security on a block that has close neighbours on either side. With direct views into the rooms shielded, occupants can look down into the small courtyards between buildings. Hard waxed ply is the dominant material here and elsewhere, with Chris noting that its darker colour is an antidote to the glare of the Queensland sun and its smooth simplicity a contrast to the robust, utilitarian exterior of the home. Materials selected for the kitchen are simple and hard-wearing, with solid blackbutt for the kitchen bench and an unfolded three-millimetre stainless steel sheet for the rear work bench. Narrow, Japanese finger tiles are used selectively to bring colour, and custom brass handles add simple but elegant decoration.

A highly porous main courtyard of Live Work Share House by Bligh Graham Architects.

A highly porous main courtyard of Live Work Share House by Bligh Graham Architects.

The bathrooms build off the same palette of tile, ply and top-hung shutters. The main ensuite bathroom is designed for privacy with the door open and its shutters offer views down to the pool. Finger tiles are used here again, establishing an intimate scale for the bath recess. Brass shelves slotted within simple timber framing offer places for small items, or a spot for an indoor plant. The kids’ bathroom has been designed to allow the basin, bathing room and toilet to be used separately, with the (hopeful!) aim of reducing arguments. Shutters offer views to the adjacent micro courtyard and emerald tiles link with the colouring of the pool and the surrounding foliage. With a sense that any of its ten or so occupants could find a quiet corner for solitude or space to be together, Live Work Share House is meeting the expectation of its name.

Live Work Share House received the Robin Dods Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New) at the 2022 Queensland Architecture Awards.

Products and materials

Bathroom walls
Birch plywood with Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil finish; Winckelmans wall tile in ‘Pistachio’; Inax Yohen Border wall tile from Artedomus
Bathroom flooring
Hand-pressed cement tiles in ‘Oyster’ from Eco Outdoor
Bathroom joinery
Custom made brass vanity frame and shelf
Bathroom lighting
Comic pendant light and Knee Deep downlights from Caribou
Bathroom tapware and fittings
Rogerseller tapware
Bathroom sanitaryware
Kaldewei steel bath; Rogerseller basin and toilet suite
Kitchen walls
Birch plywood with Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil finish
Kitchen flooring
Concrete slab, burnished finish; Solid hardwood flooring
Kitchen joinery
Stained blackbutt benchtop; Stainless steel plate benchtop on cabinet carcass; Birch plywood cupboards and drawer fronts with Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil finish; Black melamine cupboards and drawer fronts; Custom brass and black melamine shelving; Blum hardware; Brass pulls by Auhaus
Kitchen lighting
Razor LED strip lighting and Harvard wall lights from Caribou; Custom brass strip light
Kitchen sinks and taps
Integrated stainless steel sink; Rogerseller tapware
Kitchen appliances
Integrated dishdrawers, gas cooktop, electric oven and integrated fridge from Fisher and Paykel
Kitchen furniture
Built-in bench with custom upholstery from Warwick Fabrics; Dining table from Jardan; Dining chairs from Cosh Living


Live Work Share House
Bligh Graham Architects
Cedar Creek, Qld, Australia
Project Team

Chris Bligh, Sonia Graham



Gowdie Management Group


Bligh Tanner



Aboriginal Nation
Live Work Share House is built on the land of the Turrbal and Yuggera peoples.
Site Details





Project Details


Completion date




New houses



Houses: Kitchens + Bathrooms, June 2022

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