This is the House that Les Built

The shingles are red cedar. The truss is made of  natural logs cut from local timbers.
Below are our memories, images and recollections.


Les had a dream. His dream was to build a house.

A house for his family to live in.

Les did build a house. It took him over two decades.

This is the house that Les built. A house built from ‘thingamies’ he collected.

A house made of solid timber.  A house crafted with love.

A house  that stands as  a monument to the man he was.

The beginning. Measuring the land and digging post holes.  Constructing the floor on poles.

At its highest point from the ground to the floor it measures over 4 m.

His boys helped. Here they are working on the roof.

TRH (The Retired Husband) helped. He was privilegedto be allowed to do that.

Les had many offers of help over the years. Most of them he rejected.

He wanted the work to be his own.

Here TRH is helping to brace the house to stop a slight  movement in the building frame.

The house has taken shape. This is the beginnings of the kitchen cabinetry and benches.

The kitchen has 2 inch thick solid hard wood bench tops. In fact all the bench tops in the house

are made of hard wood. Kitchen cupboard doors  were individually hand made from red cedar.

The cupboard shelves were boards glued together to make sheets that could be cut to size.


Les felled two huge trees from the mountain on their property behind the house. These he cut into lengths.

Somehow, he brought them down the mountain and installed them inside to hold up the kitchen ceiling.

The one in the photo on the left is so big I could not fit my arms around it.

He carved and polished an oval into it, making it look like a picture frame.

The intent was to carve images into it, perhaps of native fauna or flora.

On the right is the lounge. There is a feature of smoked black glass on the back wall.

The intent was to have a local craftsman etch a landscape onto it.

The walls of this room were made from many different, exotic timbers.

Les built a winding staircase to the second storey.  The balustrade was made from timber utilising its natural shape.

A lot of the timber Les collected from auctions, driving to Brisbane with a trailer in tow.

Some he sourced locally.

The underneath of the curved staircase was covered in diamond shaped patterns of red cedar boards to hide the steps.

Standing at the top gave you a stunning view of the ground floor.

Hanging in the centre of the dead space above the stairs was a massive black chain, waiting for the perfect light fitting.

Upstairs toilet and bathroom. Walking into the house was like being immersed in a forest.

The exquisite scent of timber filled the air.

The view from the second floor master bedroom balcony overlooked the tropical rainforest

and exotic tropical fruit orchard Les had planted over the years; the dam he dug;

his two gigantic sheds;  several mango trees, and as seen in the background on the left,

the nursery where he grew many of the plants from seeds he collected all over Australia.

On the side of the house, Les dug a small creek filled with river stones. A bridge, resting on yet

more sturdy logs lugged down from the mountain, led the way to the side entrance (right photo).

Strips of 10mm glass were laminated into ‘logs’ and embedded into the bridge to illuminate the walkway at night.

Les just happened to be an electrician by trade.


This is the house that Les built.  A house built from ‘thingamies’ he collected.


©  Raili Tanska

Postscript –

these images are pre-digital camera era photos I took over the years when we holidayed in Gympie. 

They are photos of photos, perhaps not the best of quality, but they tell the tale.

No photo can do justice to the real thing. 

Unfortunately I can’t find any photos of the completed house in my stash at home. 

We did visit once after they moved into the house.  It was breath-takingly beautiful.

Steps for Peace
Hold the vision
Live it. 

16 thoughts on “This is the House that Les Built

  1. This reminds me of my uncle who passed away not long ago. He built a dam and created a lake, and then built his dream home beside it. Sadly, the house is up for sale now, his wife can’t take care of it on her own…seeing these photos reminded me of him.

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