The Playoust Churcher Team

Playoust Churcher - Brett Churcher

Brett Churcher


Brett Churcher combines his degree in architecture with his Associate Diploma in Property Valuation to be the business mind of the team.

It is likely that Brett is the first person you will meet with when you contact Playoust Churcher. And that is because he is the value-add every client needs.

Great architects in Sydney are plentiful, but what most don’t have is a Brett. That is, someone who can use his skills in property analysis and market knowledge to ensure your investment in your property is protected.

He is a registered architect, so he knows good design – but more than that, he brings a practicality and business mind that you don’t often find in an architect.

Brett offers robust consulting services which includes advice on council regulations and restrictions when it comes to your home build. He plays essential advisory and strategic roles within the business.

Spending a day doing high school work experience with a dentist was enough to turn Brett off that as a career path. Truth be told, the appeal of dentistry was because dentists go sailing every Wednesday. A family friend planted the idea of architecture in Brett’s mind and he took off from there.

Brett is driven by seeing happy clients who are amazed at what the team can create. He supports the team to achieve this by always taking the perspective of the client. Brett leads his clients on the exciting journey of designing and building their dream home, aligning himself with their vision and acting as a sounding board.

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Luke Playoust - Playoust Churcher Director

Luke Playoust


“I’m interested in changing the way people live, which is what we do with our designs. I’m about enhancing people’s lives through the integration of light and space – inside and outside – to suit the Sydney climate that we live in.”

Luke Playoust followed in his father’s footsteps, initially tempted into a building degree, before realising he was more interested in the intersection between buildings and art. Particularly, how good design in buildings is a form of art in itself.

Starting from his conceptual view of art and architecture, Luke applies this philosophy to the work he does for his clients.

Luke and Brett met at high school. They soon discovered that their interests aligned… and the rest is history.

Luke loves to see his vision for a design enacted and coming to life. But it is the SEPP Seniors work he does that has become a clear passion and specialisation. For Luke, it is a good alternative to unit development in terms of providing housing choice for downsizers. He is a clear expert in the field. It is his expertise in cost effective development, combined with his passion for good design resulting in unique functional spaces for his clients, that makes him stand out from the pack.

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Marielise van der Merwe

“Most people struggle to know what they want to do when they grow up… but I never wanted to be anything else other than an architect.

My father was an architect, and from a very young age, I was given an appreciation of good design and beautiful aesthetics.Until I was older, I didn’t realise how much of an influence that had on my life.”

Marielise van der Merwe never had any doubts that she would follow in her father’s footsteps to become an architect.

She lives, eats and breathes design. Architecture isn’t a job for Marielise… it is pure passion.

“I love getting to know my clients and their families. As an architect, I want to surpass their expectations. I want to help them realise their dream… and make it better than they ever imagined it could be. It is actually a great privilege to design a home for someone that you know they will love.

I was drawn to Playoust Churcher because it is an established firm with an excellent reputation and solid values. They’ve produced quality buildings for years – they don’t just jump on new design bandwagons which won’t have any longevity.”

Playoust Churcher is committed to good design… and that is a value that Marielise shares. But she knows that good design itself is not enough… as an architect, she needs to first and foremost listen to her clients.

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Luke Beasley


Luke Beasley knows architecture and knows the architectural process well, having undertaken every part of the building and design process during his 30+ year-long career here in Australia and across international borders.

After an idyllic country upbringing in Northern NSW Luke moved to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs finding work as a trade assistant with a high-end residential builder before furthering his experience in landscape construction.

Luke then headed overseas for a few years travelling and working on some interesting and historic construction projects in London and France including a historic farmhouse in Hossegor, Southwest France.

On his return to Australia, Luke completed his trade as a carpenter and joiner and has since worked as a licensed tradesman on quality residential and commercial projects, as a furniture maker, and as a set builder on feature films. He later pursued a career in architecture after being inspired by the architectural process which nourishes a simple idea to become something extraordinary.

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John Michael - Playoust Churcher Associate Architect

John Michael


Over 40 years, John Michael has built an extensive portfolio of experience as an architect, furniture designer and master planner of new cities.

His experience spans across Egypt, where he first started his career, over to Saudi Arabia, and then in Australia since the late 1980s.

He started with the Playoust Churcher team in 2003 and since then has become a valued technical member of the team.

His expertise in both residential and medium density projects sees him leading many stages of the design and build process.

John loves a challenge and the opportunity for creative problem solving that present when working with new clients.

“Every project brings a new challenge. Every site has its own challenges and it is about applying the technology and techniques to come up with the best solution for the client.”

With a variety of interests outside of work, including music, painting and computer programming – did we mention that John is also the Playoust Churcher unofficial ‘IT guy’? – there is nothing he loves more than spending time with family.

John’s two adult children are both recently married and make the most of their dad’s expertise to help with kitchen and bathroom renovations, painting and handyman work. John loves what he does as an architect and knows that he is so fortunate to be able to use his skills to support his family.

Playoust Churcher - Ken Van Brandwijk

Ken van Brandwijk


“Working as a team towards the end goal of a beautiful home that someone has worked their whole life for is the greatest reward.”

As a kid, Ken van Brandwijk aspired to work in a marine environment but he quickly realised that his career path was headed towards the building and construction industry.

His father was a builder and he had always spent time around building and construction sites.

After moving from the country to Sydney and completing his architectural draftsman qualifications at TAFE, Ken started in the industry designing banks and houses. He then moved into interior design and then into residential design, which is what he has been doing at Playoust Churcher since joining in 2007.

Ken’s role is to work across the design documentation, managing projects and contract administration. He enjoys working in a happy environment, with a flexible and down to earth team. And it is this teamwork resulting in the end product for clients that gets Ken out of bed each morning.

“The best result for me is a happy client who is appreciative of the role we have played.”

Ken and his wife have two teenage children. As a family they love to spend time at the beach, usually surfing at one of their local haunts on the northern beaches or further afield down the south coast. Ken also enjoys mountain bike riding with his son and a spot of fishing. The outdoors is where he loves to be.

Beautiful woman smiling at the camera

Toni Phillips

When she was 13, Toni Phillips was making cardboard models of buildings and sometimes getting into trouble at school for drawing house designs in class, rather than listening to her teacher.

“I always knew that I wanted to do architecture. I’m fascinated by space and how that affects human emotion.

When you open up a room by removing a wall, or when you let in more natural light it can completely change a person’s mood.

The best architecture of all surprises and delights the mind as well as providing safety, security and protection. Architecture has the ability to improve a person’s life with the implementation of good design.

Architects are in a unique position to make the world a better place, both physically and emotionally… and that’s what drew me to the profession.”

Throughout her career, Toni has worked across various aspects of architecture… after starting in residential work she moved to commercial projects including hospitals, cinemas, schools and interiors. Working at Playoust Churcher, she continues her passion for residential design.

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Belinda Miles

Seamlessly merging structural house design with decorative interior elements is what makes Belinda Miles an absolute gem in the world of architecture.

Her unique experience in both architecture and interior design means that Belinda approaches her projects holistically – from the steel beams down to the placing of the teaspoons and cushions.

Belinda is Sydney born and bred and calls the North Shore home. After completing her architecture studies at the University of New South Wales, Belinda started her career as an architect in a large Sydney firm, but developed a flair for interiors during a subsequent role which had a strong focus on high end, bespoke interior design/architecture.

Belinda brings her unique perspective and understanding of the design process to each of her projects.

“I like starting with the finished product. What is the ultimate goal? Through doing this, I can make sure the client’s vision for their home is continually considered during each phase, all the way through to completion. Nothing is compartmentalised, which means no design aspect gets lost in translation.”

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Christine Maple

Christine Maple has been a project manager for over 20 years and she leads the home maintenance arm of our business.

Once your beautiful new home has been designed and built, leave it to Christine to look after the ongoing maintenance of your home.

Through Christine’s years of industry experience, we provide:

  • Comprehensive proactive and preventative home maintenance plans.
  • Project management and coordination services across a comprehensive range of tradespeople and service providers.
  • Access to high quality tradespeople and service providers who have worked with us in the past or have come highly recommended through our extensive network of industry contacts.

With just one phone call you can access a comprehensive range of services, everything from oven cleaning, carpet cleaning, window cleaning, house washing, pest control services, painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry etc.

Christine enjoys making the lives of our client’s so much easier by taking the mammoth task of home maintenance off their plate.

Focus on your life, while Christine focuses on your home. It’s as simple as that!


The Pymble

Sharon and Kwan purchased their 1930s Pymble entertainer home with the aim to renovate. The home had good bones but features such as an external laundry and narrow garage meant that the home needed an upgrade for modern family living.

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A dreamy renovation in Manly

What used to be a dark, poorly maintained semi-detached home in a beautiful suburb, is now a light-filled haven with space for hours of entertainment. Read more about this home renovation in Manly.

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The St Ives

Lisa is a keen gardener. In fact her passion was so great that she left her career in corporate insolvency to move into landscape design. So when she renovated her 6500m2 estate in St Ives, she started with the garden.

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