Category Archives: Character Housing

Integrating a home extension seamlessly

When you have a special home, with special features but space is tight and an extension needs to be considered, it is important to consider using an architect to ensure the extension is integrated within the original design rather than looking ‘tacked on’. Good architecture can only be created with a supportive client. And every now and again a client walks in with a project that you know can’t help but be successful.

An example of clients with the desire to use good design to achieve this result are those who own a rare 1930s Art Deco era featured house. They had worked with a well-known Brisbane architect for previous renovations, but approached me to finish the final phase of renovations. Their very special property – on elevated Hamilton Hill site- has sweeping views to the east overlooking the Brisbane River out to the Moreton Bay islands.

My clients wanted a new sunroom specifically to take advantage of the view. I designed a semicircular, steel-framed, fully glazed sunroom which offers 180-degree uninterrupted views. Exterior columns beyond the glass wall support a new overhanging open roof deck which provides a deep shading soffit to the new sunroom below.

The new steel framed windows (sourced from Sydney) match original windows of the house and offer very little visual interruption to the view. The result is a light, bright, airy sunroom, with breath-taking views, day or night, to city, river and bay. The design is timeless and the extension contributes to the continuity of the house.

So if you are thinking of additions to your home, consider the added value that a well-designed, fully integrated extension will ultimately add to the major investment that a home is these days.

Firing up the blog for a new project

sue old shop purchase

194 Gladstone Road on the day we decided we had to have it Circa June 2002 with Katie Martel (nee Croft) now with her own business @croftpr

It’s been a busy few years since I first commenced my blog 5 years ago. So much so that after the first couple of posts, it languished on the back burner. But now I feel energised to recommence writing it again in order to document a new project that my wife, Sue and I have decided to undertake.

Our saga started October 2018, with our failed intention to quickly sell off this small commercial property, for which we had no further use. But subtle changes to the City Plan over decades, have forced our hand to re-develop the site from a tired, old, small commercial building into a rare form of inner-city accommodation. It is a challenging, dream project that appeals to architects and daring clients, but it doesn’t come without hard work, frustration and potentially financial risk.

The new focus over the next eighteen months for my blog will be on this property that we own at 194 Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill. The blog will plot the property’s connection to us commencing in 2002 when we took it on, through to a redevelopment planned today.

You will learn about the decision making to turn a 1956 classic ‘butcher’s shop’, complete with giant west facing picture window, into a boutique multi-functional residential development.

This blog will form a permanent diary of the process of this project and provide you with an opportunity to learn about design, real estate, finance, town planning codes and processes, architects’ processes, building application processes, construction processes, materials, value management, risk and punting and hopefully the joys of contributing to the built environment of a community in a positive, sustainable and useful way.

And I assure you this project is certainly not about developing the site to make money but rather to give yet another life to a small building which has been dear to both Sue and I now for 17 years. Be sure to follow my blog and join us on our ride – it has already been quite a saga and I am sure there is plenty to come.

initial rough sketch gladstone rd

First preliminary sketches 

The ‘Queenslander’ House

Corinda Renovation
Corinda Renovation

“The Queenslander house is a classic piece of Australian architectural design. With its distinctive timber and corrugated iron appearance, it breaks the monotony of the bland, master-planned display villages on the peripheries of our cities.

It’s also a great example of “vernacular architecture”, a term first coined by American writer/ architect Bernard Rudofsky in his 1964 book Architecture Without Architects. Vernacular architecture is best described as a traditional or indigenous type of architecture, one that has evolved over time in response to local climatic, environmental, building resources and cultural human needs. It is reflective of a very specific local context and is a functional and practical design response.

In Queensland, timber and iron vernacular houses emerged in the mid-19th century as a response by European migrants to the new subtropical climate. Wide verandas provided relief from the lengthy, hot summer days, punctuated by heavy afternoon downpours of rain. John Freeland, a former professor of architecture at UNSW describes the Queenslander as the closest Australia ever came to producing an indigenous style.”

I thought that those of you who live in our own special ‘Queenslander’ houses might like to see this. If you want to read more on what makes the ‘Queenslander’ house so unique, read this link….by Lindy Osborne, Lecturer in Architecture at Queensland University of Technology.