Steep Site Queenslander Renovation

Placemate Architects design Queenslander, and other house renovations and extensions to fit the everyday lives of real people in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Today we highlight a steep site Queenslander renovation.

Steep Site Queenslander Renovation Case Study

Hello, my name is Jan Hogarth from PlaceMate Architects in Brisbane. I’m a Renovation Specialist Architect, and today I’d like to talk about a significant Queenslander renovation we completed recently. 

The Perfect Queenslander Renovation

It’s a lovely Queenslander with a nice tree in the backyard and a garage down the bottom. Looking at it, it’s a character house in a character area.
There’s a 10-meter fall from the back of the house to the front. This is a steep site, and it was a very challenging project. We designed it for a young couple who were expecting a family. They now have two kids and want this to be their forever home. So they’re doing it once, they’re doing it right, and they’re doing everything. This house features a four bedroom, three bathroom, double lock up garage, and a play area.

Steep Site Challenges & Renovation Background

The real challenge with the very steep site is how you even get into this place. So the challenge is dealing with the spaces around the house and capturing the absolute best value for every square centimetre of that property. Another challenge from a design perspective was how to get a flow path through this building. You can see the cars are right down here at the property. There’s their front gate; there’s their living room. How do you get from here to there? It’s a challenge. And how do you get all these spaces to flow coherently without it feeling ditsy? 
When the house was first built, it featured an open veranda enclosed in the 1950s. We lifted the house and constructed underneath, dug back into the hill, and opened up all these spaces above. Okay, so the real challenge is about flow through the house. As you enter, you come up the side of the property, the original path wasn’t the best but after the completed renovation it turned into this welcoming entry. The whole point of living on the top of the hill is you get these fantastic views of the city and even Moreton Island. There’s not a day ever that you would not want to be looking out that window. Now you would think that that’s so obvious. Anyone who lived there would do it. But before the renovation, the front of the house was a little veranda that got closed in during the fifties. So the living room did not connect to that view at all. So our job was to bring this fantastic view and experience right through to the back of the house. 
The owners had been living there for a while, and they’d already repainted. During our initial visit, we saw these beautiful heritage feature windows and framing paneling on the ceiling. It looked gorgeous. So we replicated the windows, to keep the heritage feel and environment. The other thing that happened was everybody used to arrive on the front porch. So this is just full of all the stuff of day-to-day life. And no one could sit and enjoy it because it’s like sitting in your dump zone at the front of the house. So because we’ve got this journey up through the place, the living room is free to be a formal living room you can enjoy. 
After completing the site the kitchen and dining room were larger and opened up to the living room to look at the gorgeous view at the front of the house. With the kitchen being originally enclosed, we were able to open the kitchen and build a deck that connects with the backyard.

Initial Brief

When we first got the brief, we asked what they wanted. “We wanted areas for the children to play. We’re on a steep site. So there is no place for a child to play.” The steep site Queenslander renovation involved the house being raised about a meter and a half, and now this tree here is closer to the level of the house. Kids can now run around through here, and the deck becomes an extension. Underneath this deck, there’s a whole other story with garden sheds and water tanks.

Steep Site Queenslander Renovation Takeaways

So a typical old Queenslander is draggy, with an old veranda and with the house raised. So we create this tremendous flow through the house, kitchen, meals, living, and family. So you’ve gone through this journey to get through the home. And then there’s this, the heart of the house. All these living spaces are placed so you will always enjoy them. Who would? It’s just got everything great going about it. It’s called the aspect; it’s got the veranda, the views, and places to be together or to be separate. And it’s a long-term family home of lasting value.

So, if you’re considering a steep site Queenslander renovation Placemate Architects can help. We design Queenslander, and other house renovations and extensions to fit the everyday lives of real people in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast. Today we highlight a steep site Queenslander renovation. and you want to talk through these details, request a site visit so that PlaceMate Architects can help make it come together in a really effortless way!

Subscribe to regular industry insights, view visual fly-throughs, and our latest renovation videos on the PlaceMate Architects’ YouTube Channel.