Traditional Queensland homes offer so much potential. Their old world charm, distinctive look and ornate gables provide a heritage that new homes just cannot match.
For many Brisbane families who have fallen in love with a traditional Queenslander, the challenge is how to renovate it to work in with their modern lifestyle. They love the period details and the history of the home, the location is perfect for them, but they just cannot imagine how to take this iconic architectural structure and modernise it to suit their way of living.
The challenges we face with many older-style homes centre around dark, small rooms, no real flow between zones, and no indoor-outdoor connection.
Light and Airflow
So let’s start with a consideration of those small, dark rooms which suffer from being dimly lit. The small windows we commonly find in these Queenslander rooms reduce the ability of airflow to permeate the space; therefore the ventilation needed to reduce humidity in the summer months is missing.
Light and air are imperative to comfortable habitation in our sub-tropical environment. Having a source of light and airflow into a space creates a visual and thermally comfortable living space. Allowing internal air to flow throughout the Queenslander home and utilising cross-ventilation benefits can be achieved with larger windows, louvres, casement alcoves and more open-planned living spaces.
These changes can be completed as part of a more substantial renovation, as making adjustments to structural walls is dangerous without the proper planning and professionals in place. Keeping cooler in the hot summer months and retaining the warmth of the day in the winter will also provide you with energy savings year round.
Poor orientation may also be the hallmark of your Queensland home. Protecting the main living rooms from direct sunlight and reorganising the layout of the internal zones can make an enormous difference to how the house responds to our climate. Due to the very nature of Queenslanders being up on stumps, changing the home’s overall orientation by moving the home itself could also be an option you could explore.
We have seen many clients consider relocating their Queenslanders to free up land and subdivide the parcel. Subdivision of a block will be dependent on the local planning legislation and relevant codes or overlays within your local council area.
Examining the insulation, or lack thereof, in your Queensland home should be a priority when renovating. Many older homes have no insulation whatsoever. The chosen building materials, whether through age or implementation, may be permitting hot, humid air to penetrate the home, or conversely allowing drafts of cold winter air in. Insulation, along with an inspection of doorways and window jams can quickly alleviate these issues.
Our lifestyles now dictate a healthy obsession with outdoor entertaining, so those wide open decks offer the perfect opportunity to explore a connection to the main internal living area or kitchen zone. Utilising those wrap-around verandahs to create indoor/outdoor rooms, or build in an outdoor kitchen area for entertaining with ample seating to accommodate your family and friends can enhance how you live in your home.
While the opportunities will be unique to each Queensland home design, the potential is certainly there to ensure lifestyle can be front and centre when you live in an iconic piece of Queensland architecture.
dion seminara architecture has a long history of designing for Queenslander renovations. If you are looking for some advice, why not give us a call, 07 3899 9450. We would love to explore the potential with you.