You know you’re looking at something special when a property has its own name. ‘Pen Y Llechwedd’ is a stately 104-year-old Queenslander, located in Ipswich, that was renovated recently resulting in a much more light-filled space that, while modern, remains sensitive to the building’s provenance. It’s a real beauty.
Originally commissioned by the then mayor Fredrick Goleby, the original home is the work of renowned architect George Brockwell Gill who designed an extensive array of heritage properties in the Ipswich area. “Initially the home consisted of five bedrooms with the kitchen on the verandah, however a renovation in the 1930’s saw the kitchen built in to create a breakfast room, with the gorgeous coloured glass still in place today,” says owner Nicole Cox, who completed the renovation with her husband Adam, a builder.
Aside from the 1930’s modifications (which included the addition of several window seats and pressed metal), the home was renovated again in the 1980’s which saw the addition of a deck and additional bedrooms.
When Nicole and Adam bought the property in 2014, they commenced bringing the old home back to life, reconfiguring the spaces, and adding more bedrooms for their large combined family that includes five children who are all teenagers or young adults.
“The brief was simply to create a comfortable family home to fit our large family, without impacting any of the home’s original design features and with a view to enhance as many as possible. To do this we needed to add two bedrooms, a bathroom and completely renovate the original part of the home,” says Nicole of the property that now boasts five bedrooms, a library, formal lounge, formal dining, sitting room and three bathrooms all set on a landscaped 1200 square metre block that even has its own stream!
With high ceilings, timber floors, VJ walls and expansive verandahs there’s a reason the Queenslander is so loved. “Queenslanders have such a romance to them, with their iconic style of wide hallways, decorative fretwork and large verandahs, perfectly built to capture the summer breeze. Queenslanders are easy homes for families to live in as they’re strong and hardy, have stood the test of time, and will survive your family well,” says Nicole.
“As the home itself is a little bit of a mixed bag when it comes to design periods, we were careful to maximise its original character while bringing our own classical touch. Traditional Queenslanders can be quite dark with raw timbers and heavy drapes so we intentionally brought in elements to ensure a lit though warm feeling home, maximising the natural light wherever possible.”
As for Nicole’s favourite part of the transformation, she is rather taken with her new ensuite. “A blend of classic style, it references the time in which the home was built but with all the modern conveniences. This room is a dream to use daily,” says Nicole.
“I also love the library as it’s a stunning example of a modern working office integrated with a formal library space. This room was to echo the smoking rooms or parlours of the time, but still needed to be practical and functional,” says Nicole.
An experienced renovator, Nicole works alongside her husband in their family business. “We spent seven years working in residential construction, mostly focusing on Queenslander renovations, steadily growing before downsizing last year back to a simplified business model that works for our family,” says Nicole who started a blog called The Builder’s Wife to document the renovation.
“My blog came about from an interest in our home and I have enjoyed sharing our renovation with our readers, however it grew into the perfect platform to engage with other women within the construction industry. Working in a traditionally male field comes with its own set of challenges. My blog has given me the opportunity to support and educate women in all aspects of the construction industry and those looking to build or renovate their own homes,” says Nicole.
Sadly, Nicole and Adam are selling the home because they’ve outgrown it. “The home is regrettably being sold to take our extended family back to acreage living. With a house full of busy teenagers, acreage gives space for the lifestyle our children enjoy.”
Photographer: Hannah Puechmarin | Stylist: Rachael Honner