Transforming A Rented Queenslander Into A Dream Home

Transforming a Rented Queenslander into a Dream Home

Are you thinking of renovating a Queenslander? Here’s a case study about transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home.

. It’s an extension that we’ve done before but it’s not done the way that Queenslander extensions are usually done. 

Here we have a house in Herston. You can see it’s been a rental property for about 20 years. The owners wanted to have something that just felt lovely, so we connected up the Queenslander so it was a bigger, more beautiful version of itself. The first thing you’ll notice is we haven’t lifted and built in underneath. And the key issue on this one is fire separation. If we lift the house, then all the new building codes will have to apply to this house. It would mean that we’d have to change all the walls, all the windows, and the roof for a portion of the house in this zone here, and the same on the other side, massive expense. So we didn’t do it.

When transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home, the builders dug in underneath the house partially and built a new extension at the back. The owners were really keen that it should feel like one beautiful Queenslander. We’ve got heaps more parking on the front of the house because it’s inner city. We’ve got a proper double lockup garage and we’ve got a new entry that you come up the side through here. If you walk up the side, you come into this lovely front door. And if you open the front door, you can see the steps leading up through here. If you look back, this is all new. Everything you see here, this is new construction, but we are trying to get that classic Queenslander feel. Even the slats and we can turn that into a fernery space which is like old-school Queenslander. Then there are new steps, but it still feels like a Queenslander.

And just a little story of transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home… There’s a cupboard under the stairs there. It’s the Harry Potter cupboard. If you opened that, you would find it’s a little tea party set out there for the granddaughter and the grandfather to just have nice little cups of tea.

Now, if you go upstairs, here’s the before photo of the old Queenslander…

This is the original shot from the front door of the house. Classic Queensland. Open the front door, and see right through the house. There’s the old front door. We’ve kept all this heritage detail and this is the junction between old and new. That’s new, that’s old. The colours of all materials have all been made to connect and this is what it looked like from behind. There are heaps of Queenslanders like this. I’m sure you’ve seen them. Like it needs a bit of TLC.

Now that’s, in the new build, that’s where we’ve come up and we’ve put the stairs in this part of the house and we’ve built a new wing out the back. There’s the old mango tree. This is the extension. You can see the old part of the house back through here. We’ve still got this classic Queenslander looking through the middle of the house but this is their living room and kitchen. See there’s the sink there. That’s where we were before and this is a bit of a laundry out the side and they’ve got a northeasterly facing deck onto a backyard. And they wanted to make it really easy for children to run in and out on this house. So, that’s got that kind of family connection. And they still kept it kind of Queenslandery. This is now the kind of kitchen/living/dining area space that we’ve got. And this is looking from the old part of the house into the new and they’ve put the iconic hills hoist in the backyard just right online just to keep it reminding you that it’s a Queenslander.

The other thing we did when transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home was to rejuvenate the front veranda. It always had a nice veranda and it has a great view out over a valley on the other side of the road. It faces due west. So, this, complete oven, it was horrendous. It had taken a battering over the years but there was this one piece of the old original detail of the house, which the builder Norbit, who’s now retired, has done a spectacular job. He’s recreated these details and redone the handrails to bring them back to life. All the floor’s been replaced. That’s actually not timber, it’s a mod wood product. The artificial one wears a bit better. And they’ve insulated the ceiling, put in a proper ceiling and ceiling fans, and it’s turned it into an indoor-outdoor room. And they use this one all the time. And here’s the technical detail. Here’s the before, it was very tight and narrow. You can see there’s service in through here. There’s also been water running in through here. This was a dirt garage, completely useless, with heaps of posting underneath. And here’s the fire separation. If you raise that, those windows and those weather boards would all have to go. So what we’ve done is that is actually the same and when we restumped the house, we inset it so this wall doesn’t need to be fire-rated.

The clearances are the same when transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home on a budget. We’ve adjusted the services so there’s a bit of space here. The neighbouring house is the same, but they’ve got on pretty well. And this is a shared, by agreement, they can both access this concrete path here to their own backyards with quite a bit of width. So if ever anyone wanted to dig a swimming pool in, they actually could use this side access. So it’s turned the fire risk, which could be a potential hazard, and expensive, into something that was relatively cost-effective and a long-term use.

So if you’re thinking of transforming a rented Queenslander into a dream home, and you want it to go into the next hundred years of its life and it’s got complex issues that need to be worked through, and you wanna make sure that you have lasting values, give us a call or request a site visit from Jan at Place Mate Architects and we might be able to help you.

Thank you.

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