Friday, April 19, 2013

What I am learning about this city I live in!

There is nothing like house-hunting to reveal some of the layers of a place!

In 2011 on a train to St Ives in Cornwall I was captivated by the views all the way from London! Gorgeous landscapes, sea vistas and those dramatic tidal inlets. What I did take note of that was memorable in a different way were the rows and rows of houses all the same that lined some of the streets closest to the rail line.

The city I live in now is filled with a number of styles of domestic architecture.

A most appealing traditional style is known as the Queenslander and I have been enjoying living in a smaller-sized Queenslander these past few years.

65 Reeve Street, Clayfield, Qld 4011
home sweet home
Some of these homes can be rather massive... with huge verandahs and extending over a a couple of normal size house blocks.

21 BEATRICE TCE, Ascot, Qld 4007
Not far from where I live!

When I said the can be expansive... I meant it!

Far north Qld,  Cairns

I found this excerpt below at the Queensland Museum Website:

The Queensland house or ‘Queenslander’ speaks eloquently of our distinctive lifestyle and is one of the most distinctive architectural designs in Australia.

A decorative Queenslander house in Annie Street, Torwood, built around 1890

A decorative Queenslander house in Annie Street, Torwood, built around 1890 (Queensland Museum, 1993)

Queensland has more than one type of housing but a tradition of timber building is dominant. This distinctive tradition originated with rough timber huts of early settlement and developed into the multi-gabled bungalows of the 1930s. Buildings continued until, and were adapted after, the Second World War, leading to contemporary ‘Environmentally Sustainable Timber Houses’.
The most typical early twentieth century Queensland house is characterised by:
  • timber construction with corrugated-iron roof;
  • highset on timber stumps;
  • single-skin cladding for partitions and sometimes external walls;
  • verandahs front and/or back, and sometimes the sides;
  • decorative features to screen the sun or ventilate the interior; and
  • a garden setting with a picket fence, palm trees and tropical fruit trees.
There are many styles of the famous 'Queenslander', but share distinct construction style, internal spaces, furnishing, and gardens. They are now valued as a key element of Queensland heritage and conservation and renovation of Queenslanders is widespread.

So... in my internet search for houses Ive noted many a Queenslander in the listings. we are steering away from these beauties for various reasons. Upkeep can be demanding, but it must be said, they do have a great amount of character!

So it was quite a leap to look at this one today:

9 Northam Avenue, Bardon, Qld 4065
Minimal architect designed home

Bardon Home

9 Northam Avenue, Bardon, Qld 4065
Living spaces

9 Northam Avenue, Bardon, Qld 4065

9 Northam Avenue, Bardon, Qld 4065
How about this bed... looks like a verandah with the bifold windows pushed right back!

If you wish to view more of this home visit  HERE

As you can well appreciate.... its quite a process ... even if its an online process... to even begin to work out what places to take the time to go and see in person. It would be tedious indeed if I didn't pop off on tangents regularly to make the task more interesting!

Even the more likely homes I've been looking at offer, at best, a flight of fantasy.

In order to work through various criteria its a busy task of ascertaining prices ( NOT always obvious)  and reading though the list of features a property offers. I spent hours today.... taking my search further than before having identified other suburbs that might hold appeal.

Not near rivers and creeks that flood... hopefully near a bike path. Studio space... of course... but in our price range.

So much imagining is called on to breathe life into pictures and words that aim to tell of the place.

I found this studio

79 Bilsen Road, Wavell Heights, Qld 4012

In this house...

79 Bilsen Road, Wavell Heights, Qld 4012

Roomy enough?

79 Bilsen Road, Wavell Heights, Qld 4012

well...  this wont be my new home! A tad pricy!

This one had some wonderful elements....

18 Lemnos Street, Wavell Heights, Qld 4012

Designed by a Landscape Architect there was a particular space in the kitchen looking out on the garden that took my breathe away. The garden itself was intimate .... so like an art work! Sorry I can't share the best of what I saw here!

Wavell Heights, address available on request

The gardens keep drawing me in. Courtyards and intimate spaces...

18 Alleena Street, Chermside, Qld 4032

18 Alleena Street, Chermside, Qld 4032

This one had a sensational garden. It didn't meet out criteria but I had to go see the garden. I'm 
so glad I did!

I could have painted during the day on that deck with its city views!

18 Alleena Street, Chermside, Qld 4032

And walked these gardens every day... seeing what was doing!

18 Alleena Street, Chermside, Qld 4032

This would have made an excellent studio I'm sure!

18 Alleena Street, Chermside, Qld 4032

And at the back there were food gardens!

But alas... I am not the only one looking and the stairs were too steep
here for an elderly person!

The agent asked me what I thought of this property and I commented
that it felt like being at a Botanic Garden. She was bery keen to say 
that it was the home of a horticulturalsit form the Botanic Garden ... 
the same garden where I did a residency n 2010 in fact. 

I was not surprised... the garden was magnificent and filled with all 
kinds of tropical species so artfully laid out and lush! I'm hoping the 
right buyer wil come along for that house... the garden needs to be
kept as is. 

I've seen so many new kitchens of late I rather liked this one!!

40 High Street, Ashgrove, Qld 4060

Then you find some that are further from the city but have SPACE! 

And maybe you can see the stars!

25 Caladenia Court, Everton Hills, Qld 4053

When it comes down to it though our needs are simple really. What does have
 me thinking though is how we are building for this era... and some of the 
issues that stand out with comtemporary homes and in the older areas.

There's not enough trees and growing things in so many place and streets 
I see. I would rather see different ideas in play... like shared green spaces for 
gardening and fresh air. I'm glad to be connecting often with architects, 
designers, gardening types here where I live. I cant wait to see more innovation
reaching the masses... and somehow I think it will need to.

The other thing I reckon for sure is more art needs to find its way into peoples 

Its been wonderful to hear that there has been some art appreciation going on 
at our own house's viewings. For many of us it does make such a difference 
to walk into a home where something conveys mindfulness, or an attention 
to detail in the way the space is lived in
I could go on but its late so I will bid you goodnight!

See you soon with more reports perhaps!



Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

So interesting ! I loved learning more about the Queenslande & thought one would make such a perfect house ( a small one though) but then the beautiful modern one just after took my breath cool! I loved it! So many interesting choices. I know having just done this same process that it can be very time consuming. It is work for sure but at the same time so interesting seeing different homes, styles, architecture. Thanks for sharing it all Sophie I have really enjoyed these posts.

Valerianna said...

Interesting spaces... love the one with a courtyard garden, how I'd LOVE that! Good luck!

Sophie Munns said...

It was late last night when I did this Post Sally and Valerianna...

The whole day had virtually been spent looking for places to view and it seemed fitting to share some thoughts on that.

Plus its certainly where the creative time is going just now. You will naturally relate Sally if your property search was recent. It takes over for a time doesn't it? And yet its immensely creative as well as necessary to really deeply consider all these things.

Thought that minimal place was brilliant. Like the brick walls which i don't normally care for ... it seems incredibly imaginatively minimal.... warm in flavour... not stark. And the way the garden surrounding the house is stage-set appeals! SO want to sleep on that verandah!

House-hunting reminds us why architects and designers are to be respected for what they can bring.

You'd find it quite something Valerianna ... for a change... our climate offers such profoundly different ways of living with nature. But you would miss your stunning forests and all that they contain!

Thanks for popping by... have to go get ready for a video being filmed in my home today!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I loved my stay in the quaint neighborhoods in Queensland...the front and back porches...birds blooming and tiny little lizards scampering across the back yards. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Mlle Paradis said...

packing my bags.....heading over to come househunting with you! such fun!

Sophie Munns said...

That is an apt description for those homes with garden spaces here. Nature is robust here and makes its presence felt... plus the temperatures being so warm year round lend themselves to the outdoor life.
Its just after 6am here this morning and I can hear all the sounds of life from my windows... the birds are all doing their thing!
best to you!!

Mlle P... welcome ... will be fabulous to have you on board indeed! Just let me know when the plane is arriving from LAX! It is fascinating all the looking. Especially exciting when one finds a more modest place with wildly appealing spaces... true imagination at play is a thing to behold!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

A wonderful post! At first I couldn't leave the photos of verandas and then onto modern with wonderful living outside and in with those sliding windows/doors! The gardens are spectacular and yes, to homes with both art and gardens...a life well lived. Thank you for this tour and best of luck getting that right combination!

Sophie Munns said...

Ive decided this is a good way to process what I am seeing... good to hear your thoughts Mary Anne.

Its so dramatic the difference a house design can make to how one lives. We saw one that would have made the perfect place for a week at the ocean... three levels and lots of glass... but in no way could we see ourselves living there day to day.

Casting the net wider has been good... well heres to art and gardens... he things hat really matter!

Carole said...

Hello Sophie! So many houses to visit with glorious features to see. I have to agree there are far too many without gardens and trees and places to breathe and stretch.
While I love the simplicity of the modern houses, especially the small ones, I find the yards a tad sanitary and unwelcoming. Obviously for those who prefer the indoors.
Our homes have been older, I quite like the early 50s designs. The one we live in now has an ancient walnut, dogwood, and two hawthorns. They offer shade in the summer and interest in the winter, especially the hawthorn to the birds seeking red berries.
I hope your sell and search will work out for you soon. xo Carole

Sophie Munns said...

Your trees sound magnificent Carole... its sad to think more home don't have trees around to be shaded by and as you say provide interest.

Minimalism can cut out too much even though like you I can see the attraction of less clutter and the sense of space.

Thanks for your warm message... good days to you too!