Finding the ideal house for renovation and development

I’ve actually learned a few things over our years of buying and renovating properties, some of these have been hard lessons where we made mistakes that cost us, while others I have learnt by listening to others who have trod a path before us. Now that we are getting to the end of our current small development I can see that those earlier lessons have paid off with positive results. Recently I have been reflecting on what we did right and what could have been done better, at least with the renovated Queenslander and general development process.

Finding the right property is essential when planning for a development. The costs can blow out if you don't do your homework.

When we initially ventured into purchasing properties for renovation we generally didn’t end up making a lot of money or creating much equity in the property; mainly this was because we didn’t purchase the right properties. After listening to, and learning from, other more experienced renovators and developers I gained a better idea of what we needed to look for when seeking a property to develop. Read more

So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

How much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander? A lot more than I thought.

Then

Six months ago we had a two bedroom, one bathroom, one living room house. Admittedly there was also a sleep-out and an office that had been created by filling in the verandah, while these gave us extra rooms they effectively closed off the house from any breezes (not good in a Queensland summer) and made the living area very dark. The kitchen was at the rear of the house and there was a lovely rear deck however, there was no flow between the living room and the deck. Our average sized dining table dwarfed the small dining area and blocked access to the bathroom.

The original Queenslander home, all the beautiful features hidden, just waiting to be revealed.

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Moving back in – finally!

Work life has been pretty full on lately. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks now and only had a brief stop at home mid month for a week’s break. Even that week was full on with business meetings with the accountant and my wonderful business partner, training sessions on new programs we are trialling and starting the move back into the renovated house. Yes it’s finally at the move in stage.

The house is finally finished. A beautiful Queenslander with a few modern touches.

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Deciding on Door Furniture.

I decided to talk about door handles this week, partly because it is an important aspect to consider when building or renovating, and partly because I’m a little disappointed to return home (very briefly) and find the vinyl still hasn’t been laid in the house and therefore we can’t move in. Mind you with only a day at home that is probably a blessing in disguise.

It's important to choose the right door handles for your houseOn the up-side we now have running water and operational toilets, very important. The painter has also completed the internal and external paint job including varnishing the internal staircase – it looks great.

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Decorative Finishes

Decorative FinishesHow often do you drive around the suburbs and see one boring brick or rendered house after another? I know this is probably a bit of a blanket observation and some areas avoid this uninspiring view. Those that do are often the older suburbs with a range of building styles and rooflines. There is also a new area near us that has been dedicated to Queenslander style homes, the homes display a lot of variety and of course the Queenslander decorative finishes. We have reached that part of the renovation where we get to add in some of the decorative features that will define the style of the home and personalise it. So what have we done?

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Rain, rain go away…

The final touches were being added to the renovation this week; slowed down only by the seemingly incessant rain we experienced over the past seven days.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The plumber should have been back to run the last of the pipework and finish off the installation of internal plumbing. Unfortunately we have had day after day of rain up here in Brisbane, sometimes heavy, sometimes just a light misting rain, but enough to keep the ground wet. Although the land drains well there has been so much rain the ground became sodden; so much so that the painter’s ladders were sinking into the mud. Hopefully the rain will start to ease off and the plumbers will be able to complete their work early next week. Read more

Digging up the back yard

Walking around the house at the end of this week, it didn’t look as if much had changed. But that was because most of the change happened underground.

The digger makes light work of installing a ditch for the external pipework.

The digger makes light work of installing a ditch for the external pipework.

This week belonged to the plumber. He was there with his assistant early in the week fitting off some of the internal tap ware. The hand-basins in the en suite were installed as well as the toilets in the powder room and family bathroom. Read more

The problem with painting an old home

The addition of window hoods to the house - although awaiting iron sheeting - adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

The addition of window hoods to the house – although awaiting iron sheeting – adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

This week the exterior of the house gained a bit more Queenslander decoration; the addition of two timber awnings over the front windows. They still need to be kitted out with some iron, but you can start to see how they will look and also how they will shade the windows. The house had a metal window hood on the now upper window when we bought it, however this didn’t seem to suit the house. These new ones are more in keeping with the original style of the home and complement the single skin look I mentioned in last week’s post. Oh, and we didn’t take the old hood to the tip, we put it out on the front nature strip and when I looked out about an hour later it was gone, freecycling at it’s best. Read more

Balancing costs in a renovation

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

Kitchen cabinets, vanities, built-in drawers, a front door with glass in it and a lock, even new balustrading and front and rear stairs. It’s been all action this week!

When considering renovating the house, we decided that where possible, we would maintain as much of the Queenslander feel as we were able. This is why we opted for matching weatherboards (rather than a rendered blue board on the lower floor that I see on many renovations), double hung windows in the front with awnings (currently being constructed) and bringing back the single skin effect in the entrance and upstairs balcony areas. This is all coming together nicely. Yes, it has been a little more expensive, but we have balanced this out in savings in other areas – recycling the kitchen, sliding windows on the sides of the house and timber look vinyl rather than polished timber boards. Read more

The fiddly things

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

We seem to have arrived at that messy stage where little bits and pieces are being done by different tradies and at different times. They arrive at the house, do a few hours of work and go again, returning a few days later to do something else. I’m sure if I was one of those well-organised renovators who had a gantt chart, I wouldn’t have quite so much of this. I guess it also would also have been easier if I hadn’t gone away for six weeks while the renovation was going on! The delay in ordering some items has had an impact. We are still waiting on the the front door to arrive as well as the kitchen and vanities to be installed. This is holding up the tiler and plumber and is also causing the painter problems as he can’t start working upstairs until the old kitchen is relocated down to the ground floor kitchen space. Read more