The unique design of the Queenslander home has been around since the 1840's and has been slowly transformed over time to in response to the harsh weather conditions of the top end state. These homes are beloved by many with people buying old homes and giving them a bit of tender, loving care or using the Queenslander home as inspiration for their new build. Whether your home is old or new, the charm of the Queenslander is always at the forefront of every owners mind. Catherine from @that_old_house52 knows all about preserving an old Queenslander home as she is just about to finish her renovation. We spoke to her about the renovation process, retaining an authentic Queenslander feel and advice for other renovaters looking to do up a period style home.
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What drew you to the Queenslander style of home?
I don’t think (besides some beautiful Edwardians in the Southern States) there is another style of Australian architecture that is prettier, more liveable and robust than a Queenslander. People bemoan the maintenance, but lets face it they have been around for 100 years and with a quick facelift, paint and timber fix up are as good as new, if not better than a new home – plus you get all the stunning character of high ceilings, timber fretwork, detailed windows, VJ walls, ability to cope with warm climates… and on and on it goes.
What challenges did you face at the start or during renovations?
Getting suitable tradespeople who have worked with Queenslanders and know how to renovate them without taking away too much of their old soul (And working with houses that are generally so out of plum!)
Were there any Queenslander “style rules” that you included in your home?
Keep breezeways above doors, only VJ on the walls and ceilings (unless we had to do plaster because of a structural restriction). Timber windows, timber floors and recycle as much as possible so she didn’t feel like she had too much plastic surgery! High colonial skirts and timber floors everywhere.
What Fat Shack Vintage lights did you choose for your Queenslander home?
I used the Industrial Funnel Spotlight to shine on artwork and hat racks. They had an old feel but with a new twist and they worked beautifully.
I used the Warehouse Close To Ceiling Light over our kitchen island bench because we moved our kitchen downstairs into a new space and the ceiling was lower and wouldn’t have handled hanging pendant. I added a Wood Mounting Block for some warmth.
I chose the Factory Eye Pendant Light with a frosted cover and chain and instead of cutting the chain to fit the space I hooked it up to the ceiling to create another feature. The frosted cover acted like a diffuser and it worked really well next to the industrial style piece of artwork.
I love Fat Shack Vintage for the industrial retro feel of lights, I think these never really go out of style. Classic, timeless and fun - just like an old Queensland House.
Consider your lighting and how that will affect the mood of the room. Where it shines, how it hangs and doing fun things with lighting creates an amazing mood that can change a room at night into a completely different space. I always look at hotel lobby’s and hotel rooms and bathrooms for some great inspiration when it comes to doing your own home. Remember lighting doesn’t always have to be on the ceiling….
What tips do you have for someone who is thinking of buying/renovating a period style home?
Do your homework, get the best trades people you can afford. Be as strict as you can on your budget, because sometimes this can make you more creative than you thought and come up with better solutions. Always acknowledge your houses era in your renovation and be careful with too many fashionable items. White walls, the best timber you can afford and bring in some mod cons to make it still easy to live in an old house in a modern way. For example we have wifi light switches controlled from our phone, air-conditioning, security cameras built in and a sound system. Renovating an old house doesn't mean you have to live like they did 100 years ago. So much of these fun things can now be easily retrofitted.
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