27 April 2021

Up, up and away: How a Canberra dad became a sensation replicating Disney's Up house

| Hannah Sparks
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Scott Fincher and his son

Scott Fincher built his son Leo a replica of the Up house at their Conder home. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

“Is it on Airbnb?”, “Can I take a selfie?”, “Aren’t you an IT consultant?” These are the questions strangers and neighbours ask the Canberra father who built his son a replica of the home in Disney’s Pixar animation Up.

Scott Fincher became a national sensation overnight as photos of the colourful cubby house in Conder surfaced in news articles and on social media.

“It’s been crazy. My nephew’s wife is a Disney die-hard and is part of an Australian and New Zealand Facebook fan club. She just called and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind Uncle Scott, but I’ve posted a photo on there and it’s going nuts.’ I said, ‘Oh great!'”

The hint of sarcasm in Mr Fincher’s voice shouldn’t cloud the genuine joy he feels from other people’s excitement over the imaginary house being brought to life.

However, the Up house has been a popular stopping place for hikers, meet-up groups and Instagrammers on the Tuggeranong Hill fire trail for at least a year.

“We’re on the high side of Tuggeranong Hill and the fire trail is just another 50 feet back, so people can walk down the track and see the cubby house quite easily,” Mr Fincher said.

Up house

Scott and Leo are obsessed with the Up movie. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

“The bushes on the back fence haven’t quite obscured the view yet, so I’ve had groups of elderly people stop to take selfies and a couple often yell out that I’m doing a good job. One guy said, ‘That’s not a cubby house, it’s a granny flat.’”

The cubby house is big enough to sleep Mr Fincher, his seven-year-old son and proud owner Leo, and his nine-year-old brother Hugh, but not enough to avoid head bumps or require council approval.

“I can’t fully stand up inside the house. The highest point in the roof is 1.6 metres and the doorway is shorter than that. There have been a few injuries but I’ve survived,” Mr Fincher said.

The doting father began building the cubby house in December 2019 and recently finished the project with a fresh lick of paint.

He spent most weekends and an eight-week period in between jobs in 2020 replicating the house at the centre of his and Leo’s favourite movie, by using Google images and a miniature model.

What started as a fun project turned into a $10,000 labour of love that mostly grew from Mr Fincher’s desire for perfection.

“As I was going, I’d think: ‘I may as well insulate it’, ‘I may as well build the decking on’, ‘I may as well put lights in so we can see at night,'” he said.

“My wife and the rest of the family got a bit cranky sometimes.”

A white picket fence surrounds the brightly coloured green, orange, yellow and blue cubby house that comes complete with a porch, opening windows, a kitchen downstairs and a bedroom upstairs.

And if it was up to Leo, the house would float off the ground with the help of thousands of balloons so he too can escape the city and go on adventures like the elderly widower Carl Fredricksen and young boy Russell do in Up.

Carl Fredricksen in Up

Carl escapes the city by tying thousands of balloons to his house in the movie Up. Photo: Supplied.

However, there is one part of this house that makes it distinctly different and unequivocally Australian.

“The shingles at the front of the house – I wasn’t going to nail on thousands of pieces of wood, so I did the Aussie version and used Colourbond.”

As for what will happen to the cubby house if the Fincher family sells their Conder home, Mr Fincher said it will stay.

“I’ve made it pretty hardy, it’s going to last longer than the house,” he said with a laugh.

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