The story of this Grand Design begins with an original, heritage Queenslander being transported over 100km to a leafy hill in Tullebudgera valley.
"Building from scratch isn't the only way to start a new project. For example, you could start with something that already exists," says Grand Designs Australia host Peter Maddison.
In this case, Doug Bavinton and Yvette Walker decided to create the beginnings of their Grand Design using an existing 100-year-old Queenslander home. The couple found the Queenslander in a yard in Burpengary, just outside Brisbane, which is jam packed with forgotten, unwanted abodes.
More than just shifting the house to a new block of land, applying a fresh coat of paint, and moving in—Yvonne and Doug came up with a concept to use the old home at the heart of an experimental design. One that would totally transform the notion of the classic Australian Queenslander.
"A combination of memories I suppose has contributed to where this is going," explains Doug. "But it's those open verandas—those big sweeping verandas on two or three, four sides of the house. Allowing you to make the most of the house. It's about that Queensland lifestyle and relaxing on the weekend with your friends and family."
First of all the old home needed to be transported to site—a leafy elevated block in the Tullebudgera valley, beside a lush rainforest.
Specialist truckers had to wait for the dead of night - the only time these large vehicles can safely travel on Queensland roads. The 140-kilometre journey needs a full police escort and will take most of the night to navigate not only the freeways but the last few kilometres of windy roads leading to Doug and Yvette's block.
But the home's road trip was only half the battle. Once there, Yvonne and Doug had radical design plans. First, it was lifted 2.7 metres in the air so they could build underneath: a gym, garage, and self-contained unit. Then the house itself was not only be restored – but entirely transformed.
The kitchen and some of the veranda were removed – as the entire layout is changed into bedrooms, walk-in robes, and a grand ensuite. The plan was for all the daytime living to happen in an adjoining pavilion, smashing through what was the old bathroom into a whole new world – open plan modernity delivering one vast kitchen and living area. Their hope was that this area would still embrace the qualities of the classic Queenslander – channeling the outdoors with enormous openings onto a vast deck.
As such different stuctures—old and new—the greatest challenge for Yvonne and Doug was making them work in concert. The new pavilion is a whole different world. It's everything the old building isn't, but still connected via its design essence. Even with its enormous, modern open plan and connected living area, It still plays with the old Queenslander stylebook, as well as sharing the idea of connecting with the outdoors via a large deck. An idea they've taken and supersized.
The couple finished up about $100k over their $550,000 budget—but it seems it was worth the effort. Doug and Yvette have done have exalted this old Queenslander to a whole new level. And maybe this is the Queenslander of the future.