Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Planning Character

Spending a little time 'apres ski' scheming my next adventure.

Nothing inspires me more than 'chalet architecture'...traditional more than modern....the gabled, pitched roofs, wide eaves, exposed beams and visible brackets, balconies, large picture windows, decorative mouldings and of course the weatherboards. I think this is why I am also drawn to the traditional architecture of Norway, Sweden and Northern America. It stops my heart. Always has.

I am constantly pondering the 'character' of my next home. It always starts with the front elevation, got to get that right street appeal is of key importance to me... then consistency of style and form throughout.

Essentials for next time? - gables, exposed beams, mouldings, French doors and windows, a porch, timber and stone - all with a 'classic Queenslander' twist to tie in with our character code. It's most likely I will find a block or a removal house in an area in which I do have to abide by the 'Character Code'/'Demolition Code' of this city (as I did before with 'The House')... as I am not drawn to modern streetscapes.

Our 'Character Code' is an interesting document to read but is also extremely frustrating to use when at the house planning stage. It is designed to ensure that the precincts of pre-1946 houses in Brisbane are retained and, when used in conjunction with the 'Demolition Code', to ensure redevelopment in those precincts complements the pre-1946 houses already present. (I tell you, based on the fact that in the working class areas, pre-1946, materials were scarce and so was money... some of these pre-1946 creations leave a lot to be desired and have zero character... this is where it gets frustrating... let me knock it down, I promise I will build something so much prettier... and yes with your required timber and tin, battens and eaves, shadows and gables!)

 Pre 1946 - has to be kept and preserved... I spy a lot of asbestos. Sad.

Assessment is based on the original form of the pre-1946 Brisbane house, which was predominantly a single level solid core with verandahs raised above the ground on timber stumps.....with the area under the house enclosed with lightweight battens. Roof forms were gables, hips or medium pitched pyramids. The character part of the code draws on elements such as eaves, window sunhoods, verandahs and lattice screens and battens, that cast shadows and provide three dimensional effects. This is where the code gets frustrating, "character is also derived from the relatively limited range of materials available at the time of construction" ..... what???? .....this is extremely limiting and yet confusing as some creations that pop up in these areas are a very loose interpretation of the code... must have friends in office.

Typical character - solid core, lightweight verandah. Originally would have had vertical timber battens under verandah.
A modern interpretation of the 'Character Code' - hmm.... don't know about the gate or the front door... or the garage?

2 doors down from 'The House' there's a pre-1946 box that can't be removed. It's a box. No eaves, no verandahs, low pyramid roof, big aluminium slider windows... zero character.... can't be touched. How is preservation of this poor little house complementing the character of the suburb? This is where it really gets frustrating. The block is beautiful. Slopes up from the road, beautiful suburb views and city glimpses.  How sad that nothing can really be done to it. A new character home would suit that block so perfectly.

This one?... snapped up in a millisecond... as it can be demolished - 1951 - 708 sqm - wide frontage - set back from the street - perfection!

 This one can go too - pre war..... bit worried with the description though ... 'flood free'... why mention it if it is not a problem.

This is where I start on my next journey... searching for land in these precincts, researching what I can and can't do to what I find ......and planning around it. I can't stop myself, I'm on holiday and I'm still stalking! Tragic!
A-M xx

All images courtesy of


  1. Good luck with the hunt A-M. For as frustrating as it might be, you'll find that one parcel of land that will make it all worth it. Excited for your next housing adventure!

    XO, Andrea

  2. Hi A-M, not tragic at all. It's so lovely that now you've got some time to move on to the next thing. It must be such fun. I loved your photos yesterday, a sheer love of life is what comes to mind..I agree with you about council restrictions..illogical and frustrating. Rachaelxx Oh, have you had a look at the house Driftwood Interiors posted yesterday? Kerri said it was for you, you'll love it..

  3. You just never know when the perfect land will be found. Hope for your sake that it is quite soon.

  4. The best holidays are the ones spent doing the things that you love - if scheming and planning and stalking real estate is what you love, then go for it!

    sounds like my kinda holiday!


  5. So exciting, A-M!! Good luck on your journey:)


  6. ah yes - the council and their rules! i am amazed at the monstrosities that can be built sometimes! good luck with finding the next dream block! KG

  7. As a fellow stalker of, I can appreciate your addiction! But I think you should consider it 'research', because it's this planning stage that's so important to the success of your project. I agree that Brisbane has some ridiculous rules and regulations, and I'd like to know how some of the monstrosities that pop up amongst the older, character homes are 'in keeping' with the area? I know you'll find just the thing again - after all, 'the house' was such a triumph, your next effort will be sure to be just as beautiful. K xx

  8. Yes looking for a new property is consuming and addictive. Does one's head in at times doesn't it? lol
    Good luck A-M as you commence this new journey.

  9. We used to follow those council rules to the letter A-M and now at house number 10 we have finally realised we are the only ones sticking to those council rules...we still stuck to them in general but we did go outside the boundaries a little and realised they didn't care about our little discrepancies as there are other builds or renos being more blatant about there rule breaking.
    Your extensive research will see you choose wisely and of course your good taste and style will be translated in whatever you the idea of exposed beams....good luck on your search

  10. True obsession is only arrested, never cured...and why not? You do it so well!

  11. Glad to hear there are some rules in place. The character of Brisbane is dying away with all of the Mirvac style modern numbers popping up around the place - New Farm is full of them. I would take hundreds of A-M built Capecoddy Queenslanders any day.

  12. I am just excited that you are starting a new journey and that I can follow.... Love your style and can't wait to see what you do this time round... I am also with Rachel, check out the house that Kerri posted over at Driftwood Interiors - Just beautiful!

  13. Dear A-M, I have great faith that you will find and develop a parcel of land in your local precinct within the Character and Demolition Codes of beautiful Brisbane. Although many of the pre-1946 homes are dubious as to their character and quality many too are graceful old ladies with the bones of an absolute beauty. Finding the balance is the key.

  14. It is a deal...having been on the other side of the fence you would not believe what people can do....
    good luck with the search.....

  15. I can't wait to see what you are going to come up with! Have you started to draw already?
    I am very curious.

  16. Simony, I have drawn up a rough floor plan, a roof line and a front and back elevation but I need to wait until I have the contours of the block before I go any further. My plans are based on my dream block with a 5 metre fall back to front and a 15m frontage... I do have plan B drawn up too for a narrower block.... which will most likely be the case with the way prices for land are at the moment! It's out there waiting for me, I can feel it. A-M xx

  17. Exciting times!! I can't wait for you to share every step of your next home and all the plans with us :) I love that #56 house above - so much character! Have fun researching xx


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx