Brisbane renovations – it’s all about being in the zone

Brisbane renovations – it’s all about being in the zone

Renovations, Tips and Advice

Brisbane Renovations Ok so I talk a lot about lifestyle designs and liveability, but why is it that some older Brisbane homes cramp our lifestyles and what can be done to solve this problem? Well, the solution is to renovate, but before we start renovating our Brisbane home let’s look at why these older homes don’t suit our modern day lifestyles so we can then understand the potential renovation solutions.

Zones within the home

Australian homes of the 1960’s and 70’s were basically divided into ‘zones’. In the earlier homes, these zones consisted of living/entertaining rooms at the front of the home, with bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms towards the rear.

These designs, of course, reflected the attitudes of the day. Entertaining was often quite a formal affair, so keep ones private spaces separate and to the rear of the home was highly desirable. This public/private style of zoning suited the lifestyle of people from that era.

As time passed people began to become more laid back and as a result saw the benefits of having more informal family areas outside of the formal living zones. Casual dining areas became commonplace, still leaving the front rooms for more formal entertaining when having guests over.

Homes were typically smaller back in these times. Walk-in robes and even ensuites were considered quite a luxury. Master bedrooms were typically the same size or only slightly larger than any other bedroom and whilst informal family areas were more common, they tended to take the form of a larger kitchen/dining area, rather than the large family rooms that we are so used to today.

Of course today our tastes and our needs are very different. The typically 1960’s bungalow with its two zone design does not suit our modern lifestyles at all.

Modern zoning needs

Today we want large living spaces. We still want the formal dining room and lounge area, but large open plan informal lounge and dining areas are now also seen as essential. No longer are children ushered outside or off to their bedrooms where they would be neither seen nor heard. Today the entire family wants to feel connected, but still with enough space to quietly enjoy reading our latest book on Kindle or playing Angry Birds on our iPads.

Wardrobes must be built in and master bedrooms need to have large walk-in-robes and stunning ensuites. No longer do we limit guests to the front of the home. More commonly we welcome them into the kitchen/family areas, the very hearts of our abodes.

We tend to spend a lot of time entertaining outdoors, but now require a stronger connection between our outdoor and indoor spaces. For some time now I have extolled the virtues of multi-use spaces. Indoor/outdoor spaces are a great example of this where there is the ability to open your living/dining/kitchen area up to your deck, but with the option of being able to shut your deck down for privacy or to avoid the dust and pollution which seems to grow with each passing year. A few years ago as people began to understand the value of their decks, more and more began to feature ceiling fans. Today, on decks that can be closed off, it’s common to find that they are air-conditioned.

Our interests, situations and lifestyles change over time. No longer are we happy to just put up with what we’ve got. Today we want our home to evolve with us making multi-use spaces an essential component of any well-designed home. And it is vitally important to us that these zones are well planned and interconnected.

Today bedrooms are for sleeping in and children play in separate playrooms which are ideally able to be viewed from the kitchen/family areas for supervision. Of course, we need a space for our enormous wall covering flat screen televisions with surround sound systems that could knock out your neighbours’ windows if cranked up too high. Yes, our needs today are very different from those of bygone eras.

Getting with the times

So when you consider the lifestyles of the 60’s and 70’s to those of today, it’s easy to see why older Brisbane bungalows need renovating.

Today’s world is more connected and far less formal. Our homes need to reflect this. And rightly or wrongly we have a lot more ‘stuff’ today than we did all those years ago. Whereas many people in the 60’s didn’t have televisions, it’s nothing for modern homes to have four or more televisions scattered through living areas, bedrooms and even outside entertaining areas.

Exercise equipment and kitchen appliances purchased from late night shopping channels clutter up our homes resulting in us needing more and more space to store everything, ideally out of sight.

And it is because of all this that our 60’s and 70’s homes need to be renovated. Effectively these homes need to be rezoned to bring them into line with today’s modern lifestyles. Zones need to allow for people to remain connected however often with the ability to isolate one zone from another through the use of shutters and sliding doors.

Rather than having two obviously separate zones within the home, today’s houses need to have multi-use zones and a number of them.

So how does a small 1960’s bungalow accommodate this need to extra space?

Well, you would be surprised at what clever design can achieve by removing some walls and switching some rooms around. Of course, raising homes and building in underneath is a common way to get more space when renovating Brisbane homes, particularly older Queenslanders. Or alternatively, if you can’t go up or down you can possibly go out with extensions and additions allowing your home to get with the times.

But no matter which approach you choose the very best results come from working with a quality architect.

Dion Seminara Architect


Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.