HP 6.0: KEN AND HARRIET’S HOUSE …. a hand-made house vs. machine-made house


I ran a small landscape design and construction company for 20 years from 1975 to December 1995, the month of my very severe brain injury.  I undertook very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients in Brisbane.

I was a lateral thinker .. more artist than a businessman, very concerned with sustainability in a gardening and horticultural sense …. can certain landscaping practices be maintained? ….. is this garden going to survive twenty years? I thought of a landscape as a three-dimensional piece of space which when people walked through it which had an emotional effect on them.

This space altered with time as it grew and changed according to the time of day: shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, colour, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures, and water. These were the ingredients in a subtle flow of landscape design and construction. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! From this, I built a structure for my life: my marriage with Harriet, a family business, and a house.

The House:

In 1981, we built a unique natural house on our five acres of light open eucalypt bush at Chambers Flat, Brisbane which is 35 kms. out of Brisbane. The house is largely of glass set into a post and lintel construction of 100-year old broadaxed timbers and sandstone walls. The total concept of indoor-outdoor flow gives a wonderful ambiance. Where does the bush, the garden, and the house end and finish? We have endeavoured to set up our house as a communal house where people are made to feel welcomed and accepted.

Harriet and I are into simplicity and recycling. We live in this amazing house built out of recycled, rejected materials and only bought material when necessary. See the hyperlinked posts on the posts on the house and garden.



The initial entry is through a large demolition timber gate and the house is set amongst tall vertical gum trees below the level of the land. See the photos below. It is a handmade house versus a machine-built house. It is a house out the earth. The house in its ethos is a return to simplicity.

It is interesting about a fact I found out only a few years ago: My surname being Aitken is tied in with the building of this house.  Aitken  is a 4th generation Scottish name and means Of the  Earth.


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