twist on a traditional Queenslander, this renovated home brings together the
best aspects of Queensland home design; louvered windows allowing effective
cross flow through of the breeze, high raked ceilings to extract heat from the
living areas and a large outdoor entertaining deck.
The client brief for this project
was very simple, take an old property in much need of repair and transform it
into a modern family home. Much of the design, material choice and finish
elements were left to Nixon Build to add value to the property and enhance its
position, in a location opposite a waterway and parkland and in a central
location close to the City heart. We commenced with a very basic contract price
with the goal of staging the project. The cost of feature and design changes
were agreed upon as the build progressed.
What is now a 4 bedroom home with
two bathrooms, theatre room and galley style kitchen, started with a high set
fibro clad Queenslander that was largely dysfunctional and held little street
appeal. To achieve the final result the house was completely gutted, redesigned
to make the best use of its existing footprint.
As with all renovations this property brought challenge after challenge
with hidden elements that required ingenuity and innovation to overcome.
The lower level contains 3 out of
the 4 bedrooms and a rear media room which can be completely darkened to create
a true theatre atmosphere, as well as a modern and spacious bathroom with
separate toilet and internal laundry. The laundry was designed aesthetically to
second as a kitchen, in fact so much so it looks like a kitchen. This suits the
contemporary finish of the building and offers a fantastic option for family
The polished exposed aggregate
concrete floor with a blend of natural stone colourings is a stunning feature
for the down stairs level. The ground level flooring finish was experimental in
the early construction phase to provide a unique finish throughout. The
building foundations and top slab is a monolithic floor using a standard 25/20
mix for the foundation and first half of the floor slab. Approx. 75mm of
special aggregate blend of selected stone to provide the finish that is evident
in the photographs supplied. Prior to any walls being erected, the full slab
was ground and stainless steel inserts throughout the bedrooms were installed
and Caesarstone inserts to the common areas, such as the laundry, hallway and
entrance. This finish is very much like a terrazzo panelled floor and provides
great aesthetic value to the property.
The front of the property is
enhanced by French doors opening from the largest of the downstairs bedrooms
onto the front entry porch. A large storage cupboard under the internal stairs
provides ample extra storage to this home and make excellent use of otherwise
The upper level is connected
through an internal stair case and features polished timber floors throughout.
At the top of the stair you enter a large and spacious galley style kitchen
with Blanco gas burner cooktop, electric oven and canopy range hood and wide
island bench, surrounded by floor to ceiling louvered windows to enhance the cross
flow through of the house. The living room at the front of this level features
a high raked ceiling and opens out onto the entertaining deck with large
bi-fold doors which open the entire front of the house and double the floor
space. The front deck has traditional Queenslander style stairs with mid-level
platform leading down to the front garden. The master bedroom is on this level
also and features a walk through wardrobe and two way ensuite, connected
through to the powder room and separate toilet.
An open living space optimized
the properties position overlooking the park. There are load bearing partition
walls between the lounge and kitchen/dining area offering two separate but open
plan living areas. The kitchen/dining area, that also accommodates the internal
staircase offers great scope for entertaining and the floor to ceiling window
allow the predominately South Easterly breeze to flow through the house. On the
front side of this partition wall is the lounge/family area that features a 6m
wide x 2.4m high bi-fold unit that effectively doubles the living space when
you include the front deck area under roof. It is beautifully illuminated at
night and once again well ventilated given the south easterly breeze. To
provide this feature required some innovative engineering above the bi-fold
unit. The section above the bi-fold was converted into a complex box beam
transferring the load to the external wall and at the opposite end at the
entrance door. The original design did have a post in the centre of this opening;
however changes to this area have brought a lot of interest and aesthetic value
to this space.
All the windows have been
designed with energy conservation in mind, optimising the prevailing breezes to
provide the most effective cross flow effect. On the southern side of the
building all the windows are ceiling to floor and not too wide so as to
compromise valuable internal wall space. There are virtually no windows on the
North Western side and corner to help combat solar energy building up in the
property minimising the need for constant air conditioning. All the external
walls have thermal insulation installed for the same reason, further to this
there is acoustic insulation in the ceiling and interface wall between the
theatre room and bedroom.
The façade of the existing shed
was modified to create a new garage that blended in with the house; a simple
touch, but effective.
The driveway an exposed aggregate
finish poured in sections to provide contrasting bands creating a subtle but
very effective finish.
Although the building is designed
to optimise thermal efficiency, there are times where no amount of forethought
will combat North Queensland tropical heat. For this reason there are 7 Fujitsu
air conditioners fitted throughout as a contingency. The energy efficiency has been in mind
throughout the design and build phases of this project. As mentioned earlier
all external walls are fully installed with thermal insulation, the highest
rating air cell insulation under the roof. All windows are louvre sets with
excellent cross ventilation, all rooms are fitted with ceiling fans including
two in the dining area and one 1800mm ceiling fan in the living area, and one
on the front deck.
Bedrooms are lined with 10mm
plasterboard, however all common areas, including the downstairs entrance,
hallway, laundry, upstairs kitchen, dining and lounge are all lined with VJ
panel board to maintain the Queenslander style character.
All bedrooms have been cabled
with coax for television reception. The bedrooms have been designed with wall
mounted flat screen televisions in mind. Obviously each coax outlet is
accompanied with a GPO. Further to this each bedroom has an Ethernet outlet
providing computer options throughout.
The theatre room has a high
ceiling and is cabled for full theatre options with provisions for overhead
projection, surround sound speaker outlets and flat screen mounting options.
This is the only room in the house that has carpets to optimise the acoustic.
This room is a good length for theatre effect and all the windows to this space
are a wood-grain aluminium blade gallery set that provides full blackout whilst
operating as a theatre.
All in all, a successful house
raising and building innovation worth a mention. Traditionally houses that are
raised are restumped on 75x75mm SHS columns in a way that best suits the new
wall configuration. These posts are usually well concealed using 90mm framing
material. However Nixon Build trialled a new method that saved the customer
approx. $30,000 in steel columns and PFC’s by designing all the ground level
walls to be load bearing thereby eliminating all steel columns. The original
house is simply supported by the structure below in the same way a new build
Nixon Build is very proud to have been
associated with the transformation of this property.