Why is the Queenslander home so beloved across the country, invariably appearing among the top most-searched-for terms on realestate.com.au? Because they’re a classic, that’s why.
Let’s first recognise that I come at this with some bias. I’m a Queenslander and Queenslander homes are by and large my favourite type of home. But I also happen to think the design elements of the humble, original Queenslander have a thing or two to offer modern Australia.
The Queenslander home is a classic form of Australian architecture. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Here are five things that home owners can learn from Queenslanders, regardless of where they live.
1. Passive airflow
Queensland homes are known for their large wraparound verandas and abundance of windows and doors, which, aesthetically, I love for their invitation of natural light and airflow through the home.
Many Queenslander-style windows feature ornate fretwork, which is not only effective decoratively but filters the breeze and sunlight.
Controlling natural airflow is something that is often overlooked in modern homes as people rely heavily on electrically powered climate control such as air conditioning.
The airflow in a Queenslander is perfect for hot days. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Granted, original Queenslanders offer a lot more space than what we see in more modern versions but the principle behind the idea remains – well-placed openings are key to good design.
2. Small house, big yard
A small house on a large block is a sign of the times it was built – historically people built more modest homes because that’s what they could afford. They also didn’t need interior space to allow for things like play zones because children played outdoors.
While the modern era means children tend to spend more time indoors, I do think many people build large houses simply because they can and not necessarily because they should.
Do you really need a master bedroom that can accommodate a bed, sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table? Does it seem likely you’ll hang out in there?
Also, what will you do with all that extra floor space in the bathroom? Do you really need a huge bathroom footprint if it’s only to bathe?
Do you really need space for all that extra furniture in your bedroom? Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
If you’re designing a home, reconsider how much interior space you’ll realistically use and consider prioritising more space (and money) in your outdoor areas rather than building to the boundary.
After all, much of the success of your interior is subject to the scenery it takes in.
3. Large roofs
When you think of a Queenslander you think of large pitched roofs, which were designed to shelter the home interior from the harsh Queensland sun. Remember, there was no air conditioning back in the day.
The roofs in Queenslander homes were meant to act as a form of air conditioning. Picture: realestaete.com.au/buy
Those large eaves prevent directional sun heating up your space, which is especially important in protecting your house from the harsh Western light. Whilst curtains and blinds are good, shelter from the roof is better.
4. VJ walls
I love the opportunity to work on an original Queenslander because half the work in creating warmth and character is already done.
VJ (vertical joint) walls, otherwise known as tongue and groove that make up the walls of the original Queenslander, are an incredibly effective way of adding interest to a modern home regardless of its style.
It’s amazing how much character putting some texture on the walls can bring. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Today, you can achieve VJ walls through hanging large VJ sheet panels as an alternative to the original timber planks.
The sheets are also available in materials suitable for wet areas and semi external use, which means bathrooms and covered patios can also be treated to some character.