Hey guys, meet Emily and Shaun!
Emily and Shaun have always loved classic character homes. So much so, that their first family home was a stunning Queenslander located in Ipswich, Queensland. Ipswich, for my readers that aren’t familiar with south-east Queensland, is located about 40km south-west of the Brisbane CBD and is filled with charming and grand, historic weatherboard homes.
Emily and Shaun’s home is a typical 1920s Queenslander with 12ft ceilings, VJ walls, original hoop pine floors, stained glass windows and beautiful fretwork.
One of the aspects of a Queenslander that I love the most is their rich and varied history. In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I lived with our two dogs in an old, unrenovated Queenslander in Ashgrove, rented from the man who was born in the home some 70 plus years earlier!
For Emily and Shaun, their neighbour Shirley, who is her 90s, has lived next to their home for her whole life and tells them stories of how her children (who are now in their late 50s) used to play under the house and make mud pies when they were children!
These are the stories that bring us, Queenslanders, to life. By exploring the history of the houses that we live in, we can discover and imagine life as it was when our cities were first established.
I asked Emily and Shaun what attracted them to a Queenslander and whether they knew much about Queenslanders before they purchased their home.
“Not a great deal, but we love the way they look and how you instantly feel at home when you enter them. What also appealed to us was the workmanship, quality of materials and finer details. You really can’t compare them to houses built nowadays.”
Brisbane and Ipswich (and surrounds) have really embraced the Queenslander and we are seeing a shift towards restoring these old beauties, instead of knocking them down and putting up a soulless cement block. In cities like Cairns and Mackay, the opposite is occurring. These historic homes are being replaced by very modern buildings that, in my opinion, lack the warmth and appeal of a Queenslander. While I understand the appeal of a brand new home, my heart will always adore the Queenslander.
When Emily and Shaun purchased their home in 2016, the previous owner had completed renovations, including restumping the entire house, gutting and rebuilding the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, as well as a fresh interior coat of paint.
This meant that Emily and Shaun were able to renovate the home to suit their taste and lifestyle, without the need to complete any major renovations. So keen they were to start, that they commenced renovations within two weeks of moving in (with their young daughter)! Their approach was very laid back, without a solid plan of what they wanted to do, tweaking things along the way. Fast forward a couple of years and they have come out the other end with a beautiful home and an intact marriage!
Their renovations have mostly focussed on the rear of the house, with the addition of a new deck, a massive 11 metres by 6 metres. The area has been enclosed with aluminium shutters along with an outdoor kitchen, fridge, gas cook top and sink. They have connected the indoors to the outdoors by installing a 10 metre sash bi-fold window that opens the internal kitchen to the external kitchen. This space is perfect for their family and it is their favourite area of the house. Knowing that they built this outdoor space themselves adds to the appeal.
Inside, they have raised the ceiling height in the kitchen by 1.5 meters so that the high ceilings are maintained throughout the house and the exterior has been painted a high sheen white with grey highlights. Work has commenced on landscaping.
Their advice for other renovators is to do as much of the renovations yourself as you can, saving thousands upon thousands of dollars. While there is a downside to this – for Emily and Shaun it has been the sacrifice of time as well as a few disagreements along the way – it has been worth it for the feeling of pride when they look around at what they have achieved, together.
One of the things that impressed me was that Emily and Shaun completed all of the renovations by themselves (with the exception of plastering) over an 18 month period. While working and looking after their daughter. A massive effort!
Now that the major renovations on their home are complete (for now), they’ve found something else to sink their teeth into. They love their home so much that they have purchased a second Queenslander nearby and have plans to renovate it back to its former glory.
“It needs a lot of restoration, but we are up for the challenge and have big plans for it. There’s something addictive about restoring houses back to their former glory.”
Buying and renovating their beautiful home has been a labour of love which has created memories that will last a lifetime.
“Lots of memories have been made but what we love most is flicking back through progress photos and seeing not only how much the house has changed but also seeing our daughter in the photos and seeing how much she is growing and changing, along with the house.”
It’s been such a pleasure to hear Emily and Shaun’s story. I am looking forward to sharing with you the story of their second renovation.