sanctuary 28

Creative corner

With a striking design offering an inspired response to a tricky canal site, the Corner House is already on its way to becoming a new landmark in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.

Photos courtesy Andy MacPherson Studio


Laura Valic

What you first notice about the Corner House is its singular facade. Characterised by white brick and rich auburn timber panelling, the design stands apart in the new home market, where layered dark tones mixed with natural materials have prevailed in recent years. 

The other notable difference is the home’s arrangement. On the right side, the building rises up behind a double carport into the second storey, while on the other, the ground floor staggers in a zigzag fashion toward the edge of the block. This part of the home includes a guest wing, its exterior shallowly cut away to create shaded windows and ledges; the distinctive form amplified by the vertically lined timber cladding. 

The Corner House is the first architecturally designed display home for Queensland HIA member builder Don Cotterill, director of Sanctuary 28, in collaboration with Paul Uhlmann Architects. And while Don had a clear vision for how the project would unfold, the site in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast had a number of interesting challenges to overcome first.

‘We were contending with not only the position on a busy intersection and the subsequent road noise but also the unusual triangular shape of the block which backed onto a narrow canal frontage,’ Don explains, adding the area also has minimum floor level requirements due to council imposed flood heights. ‘The clever use of space and design was key.’

sanctuary 28
Don Cotterill, director of Sanctuary 28

Conforming to the tricky corner site, the home exemplifies the business’ ingenuity and craftsmanship. The eye-catching textured exterior serves to not only add to the urban design of the area but also crucially cancels out the street noise of its location. Since the block’s shape didn’t allow for a large building envelope due to council restrictions on boundary setbacks, the design team opted for a carport with three open sides, instead of a garage. This meant the house could be built right to the front boundary and more space could be clawed back for the living areas.

Stepping inside through the front door, an unexpected outdoor courtyard greets you upon arrival before a secondary entry door takes you into the main house. ‘The property did not have an appealing outlook, so I needed to create one,’ Don explains. ‘The courtyard was an opportunity created by the site constraints…[but] it has been a spectacular success.’

The sunny two-storey garden atrium at the centre of the 412-square metre home creates an oasis-like presence that can be enjoyed from all areas of the house. The main living zone is positioned on the south side with the guest wing to the north, taking advantage of passive solar design and contributing to a comfortable home year-round in the warm climate of South-East Queensland. 

‘These two distinct spaces are merged by the central courtyard which features substantial glazing, allowing for maximised natural light, ventilation and an inward focus on aesthetic,’ Don adds.


The Corner House offers four bedrooms in total, with 3.5 bathrooms. The downstairs living space flows seamlessly onto the dining area and kitchen, another showstopper where stunningly robust grey marble surfaces are paired with chocolate cabinetry. The luxe colour palette is mirrored in the wet rooms, with the selection of finishes adding to the home’s upmarket appeal.

From the kitchen you can move outside onto the deck and down to the backyard by sliding open white-framed glass doors. Here the swimming pool, with a built-in water cabana, features complementary white tiling, while nearby deck seating provides external entertaining spaces to congregate and relax. 

The overall feel of the home from the exterior throughout is light, bright and indulgent.

‘I feel that we have done the location justice,’ Don says. ‘It is a stunning design by Paul Uhlmann Architects, and our team of suppliers and subcontractors have executed the design intent well. What I’m most proud of is the result on such a challenging site.’ 

Despite the challenges, the house was completed in April 2020 after six months – a testament to Sanctuary 28’s excellent project management given it was well inside their building program timeframe. The home has since been opened to the public and is already drawing in the curious.

‘The first feedback has been from the locals who love what the home has done for the area. The home is truly unique in design and it has transformed the corner.’


While this type of site would not have initially been considered ideal for many buyers, Don believes the Corner House shows thoughtful design can transform any block into a clients’ dream home. 

‘The city is maturing, so must our creativity around functional family homes that can both accommodate the rise of multigenerational living and work-from-home arrangements, but also the importance of finding peace and privacy from our increasingly busy lives,’ he says. 

Founded in 2002, Sanctuary 28 specialises in full-service design and construction of custom homes and renovations on the Gold Coast and its surrounds. Focused on good design principles, Don says the Corner House is an important showcase of what Sanctuary 28 can deliver for a bespoke residential development.

‘We will never repeat this home and that is the whole point,’ he says. ‘While this home is an example of our attention to detail and build quality, it’s not going to suit another site.

‘All sites are different, as are the individual needs and lifestyles of our customers. At Sanctuary 28, we will [always] design and build to the individual requirements of the client and the site.’ 

sanctuary 28

Corner House at a glance

Builder: Sanctuary 28

Architect: Paul Uhlmann Architects

Location: Gold Coast


  • Exterior: feature brick in La Paloma, Austral Bricks; James Hardie cement sheeting; Spotted Gum feature cladding
  • Ceilings: Satin Blackbutt, 90mm V-Joint, Australian Timber Ceilings
  • Flooring: engineered Spotted Gum and Roasted Peat hardwood, tongue and groove, Queensland Timber Flooring; polished concrete
  • Windows and doors: Bradnams; entry doors in New Guinea Rosewood, Duce Joinery
  • Staircase: Spotted Gum saw tooth stringer with Spotted Gum handrail
  • Kitchen benchtop: Negresco Quartzite Leather, CDK Stone 
  • Kitchen joinery and hardware: kitchen by A&R Cabinets featuring Five Star Finishes, Laminex and Blum hardware
  • Tapware: curved Scala sink mixer in living rustic iron, Reece (kitchen); Scala shower/bath mixer; Voda showerhead in Living Rustic Brass; Scala hand shower on wall bracket, Reece (bathrooms)
  • Appliances: ovens and warming drawer, WOLF; integrated dish drawer, Fisher & Paykel; integrated fridge and wine storage, Sub Zero
  • Decking: Spotted Gum (pre-oiled) finish
  • Fireplace: Escea DS1150.

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