Brisbane Queenslander Renovation (Built 2018)

Owner’s Dream

Richard and Ray were seeking a modern private haven with all the convenience of an inner-city home lifestyle. When the council refused their demolition application, the couple approached PlaceMate Architects to assess the property’s potential for renovation.


Site Condition

The existing cottage was roughly made but still fairly intact despite decades of tenants. The small sloping lot was located in a flood zone rising from a busy road and facing south towards a park. A mysterious old pipe line ran across the middle of the block, creating an architectural challenge for the PlaceMate team.

One side of the cottage was pressed so close to boundary fencing the window hoods encroached on a neighbouring property. Meanwhile the other side was expansive enough to fit a generous driveway.

Added to this, a series of outdated fibro built-ins and rear verandahs extended throughout the home. It was not well insulated, resulting in extra hot summers and freezing winters. City views were hidden away due to poor positioning, and the north-facing backyard was overgrown and unkempt.


Architectural Designer Solution

PlaceMate Architect’s designed a fresh renovation to suit the owner’s needs while maintaining the character of a traditional Queenslander home. Behind the original cottage now lies a second two-storey pod that replicates the Queenslander roof and detailing.

The cottage is now a two-bedroom guest zone. In order to avoid complex town planning and building code approvals, it was not moved. The back verandahs and fibro were demolished and dug out to allow for on-site parking. The old driveway was converted into a staircase and walkway between the two structures.

A set of internal timber stairs in the new pod mark the transition between old and modern. A set of large corner doors back on to an indoor-outdoor verandah. Open-plan living areas spill out into a guest sitting room, terrace and generous courtyard. Views of the nearby park stretch out towards Moreton bay and is visible from both levels of the home.

The internal structure feels much larger than the floor area. The master bedroom, ensuite, study and back verandah all have access to glimpses of city rooftops, nature and hills beyond. Natural light and air flow throughout the home.

The architectural design is beautifully demonstrated by the builders’ craftsmanship and attention to detail. The project came in on time and on budget. 


Project Partners



Stewart Harris





BCA Certifiers



Booth Engineers & Associates

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Client & Partner Testimonials

Renovating our home with the assistance of Placement and their relationship with Phil Maher Builder was essentially a stress free adventure.

PlaceMate worked with us to achieve our dream home. Our home was modernised without losing the charm of a post war cottage.

Our house has become a functional, open & light filled home. Which is now the central family meeting place.

We even discovered that Architects, Engineers and Builders DO get on and work well together.

Even though our budget was small, through the architectural skills and listening skills, PlaceMate turned our needs into the home we wanted.

Beth & John Owners

We engaged Jan and her team at Placemate for our small block renovation in West End, Brisbane. Fantastic result, Jan’s creative genius solved tricky problems related to BCC restrictions and what we were aiming to achieve. Renovation is now finished (Yay!) and throughout the process they were extremely helpful (thanks Amy!), again, jumping in to solve unforeseen technical issues. Everyone who visits always comment on what a clever use of space, thanks Placemate!

Jason Hawkins and Diana Tolmie Owners

PlaceMate is trustworthy. If they say they’ll do something, they do it. The finished product makes us all look good. Some architects are really expensive, and the owners have to wait a year to see them. PlaceMate gives just as good a service, quicker and at a reasonable price

Nathan Forbes Rise Constructions

Best use of a steep site

PlaceMate topped the state for best use of a sloping site over $250000 at the Queensland Master Builders Association Housing & Construction Awards. The award was for the design of two contemporary townhouses built on a 500sqm site that dropped 10m from a busy road. All the bedrooms and living areas captured picturesque city views.


Best renovation $250-$500,000

PlaceMate took home the prize at the Queensland Master Builders Association Housing & Construction Awards for the best renovation between $250,000 – $500,000. The winning renovation was a 1910 cast concrete Californian bungalow-style home in Indooroopilly. The design added a new wing and unified alterations undertaken in 50s, 70s and 80s.

Recognised in The Courier-Mail

PlaceMate’s skills were recognised in The Courier-Mail for our transformation of a Shorncliffe residence originally built around 1910.

Registered with Board of Architects Queensland

Registration Number 2457

Our Client Success Team

Placemate Architects works with successful and innovative clients. Together we achieve significant and lasting transformations of cities, houses and landscapes.