Architectural styles in early Australia were largely influenced by the English immigrants bringing there hometown look and feel with them. Once the initial barriers of cost, manufacture and imported corrugated iron were overcome, these influences have directly resulted in styles including Colonial, Victorian, Federation and Georgian. Climate soon began to insert it dominance as more northern areas of the country became populated, resulting in the readily identifiable Queenslanders.
Modern homes are being constructed on a daily basis that are holding true those early design styles as we attempt to retain different suburban cultures and feel. The government has even stepped up its desire to retain part of our heritage by developing “street scape” building laws that prevent people from knocking down old houses and replacing them with styles that are not reminiscing of the area in which they are being constructed. Different council regions have different requirements and can include being unable to change the street appearance of an existing home, though you are able to renovate everything inside and behind that front façade in a manner that will not detract from it.
Careful consideration should be given to both regulations and voluntary streetscape when contemplating either a new home or a renovation in each location. A large modern minimalist styled house planted directly into a neighborhood consisting of all Queenslanders or Federation styled homes can and does often look quite out of place and can actually detract from the overall visual appeal of a design that would have looked much better in a different neighborhood. As mentioned, councils are increasingly frowning upon designs that don’t have a “suburb fit”.
It very achievable to completely update an ‘old’ existing house in to a modern sustainably designed masterpiece of design and energy efficiency. Many of these old houses still have wonderful ‘bones’ that need not replacing but rejuvenating. Others however will have had a poor maintenance history and may be a little beyond just care, love and attention. Every project is as individual as the people whom own it. There is a large choice of modern day materials including weatherboards, windows and doors that have retained heritage styles and may be used to replace decayed and worn out existing materials without changing the appearance of the house. Indeed it can often be the perfect opportunity to add your own touches and decorative additions to turn something ordinary into a work of art that still fits within its design intent.
The same comments can be said of interiors. Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Living areas can all retain classic styles whilst being brough up to modern day standards and desires. At times there maybe specific items that will require removal or replacement so as to conform with modern day building codes and Australian Standards. This is nothing to be feared, and will often enhance the value and comfort of the structure and ensure it will existing for many more decades to come. With the addition of insulation, air tightness and ventilation improvements these older structures can be enhanced even further to fit within their local climatic conditions.
At Design Science we have the necessary experience with the added bonus of being licensed builders. We understand the traditional building techniques that these classic styles have been constructed with and have ourselves both renovated and constructed our own homes within this design space. Renovation within this category of home requires extra levels of consideration to not only design features, but the structural elements and how they will influence the overall cost of performing both renovation and extension projects. Don’t risk your classic to anybody who hasn’t been hands on tools, when it comes to preparing new or renovation project plans.