Renovating, architect, design, workers cottage, Shaun Lockyer, dream home, big family home

Renovating, architect, design, workers cottage, Shaun Lockyer, dream home, big family home

IT’S a dilemma faced by many families looking to create their ‘forever’ home.

Knock it down and build a big, ‘look at me’ dream home with five bedrooms, a pool and all the bells and whistles.

Or, work with what you have.

Gloria and Bill Heasley chose the latter — and are so glad they did.

“We looked at all the different options,” Mrs Heasley said.

“It was a 10 year process of weighing up whether to do a minor renovation and sell, sell as is and move or stay in the area and do a full scale (renovation).”

The couple met with a number of designers and architects for inspiration, but only one really “spoke” to them.

“Many other designers spoke to us saying, you know, you could build a mansion on that block, knock it down, build a kit home … stick a ginormous swimming pool here, five bathrooms, but that wasn’t what spoke to me,” Mrs Heasley said.

“I didn’t want that kind of house to clean and maintain.”

Fortunately, award-winning Brisbane architect Shaun Lockyer had something different in mind for their post-war cottage in the leafy suburb of Mitchelton.

“There was such a genuine connection when we met Shaun and he was speaking to us of a bespoke home that was suited to the site — one that would meet our needs with flexible spaces rather than being big for the sake of being big,” Mrs Heasley said.

“Once we had that meeting with Shaun, we said look, these are our constraints and budgets, do you think it’s possible to do your kind of home on our budget?

“We’re not in that millionaire kind of property market, but Shaun was so accommodating.”

Bill Heasley bought the property in McConaghy Street 20 years ago when he was still living with his parents a few streets away.

“I was 22/23 and just wanting to get into the property market,” Mr Heasley said.

“Houses were pretty cheap.

“It was a very basic, post-war weatherboard home in fairly ordinary condition.”

Mr Heasley rented the house out for several months before moving in with Gloria a few years later.

Little did the couple realise they would still be in the same home two decades later.

“We love the area as it’s close to the train station, shops, everything, and I like the idea of it being our forever home,” Mrs Heasley said.

“Our children were all born here — one post renovation.”

Once Mr Lockyer had drafted the design, the renovation process took around nine months.

The Heasleys moved out during that time.

“Most of the existing house was maintained,” Mrs Heasley said.

“We were guided by Shaun.

“He believes in the juxtaposition of old and new and celebrating a home’s history rather than hiding it.”

The original three-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage was converted into a home with four bedrooms plus a study and two bathrooms.

A back extension to the original home was demolished to make way for a primary ‘pavilion’, which became the main living area of the house.

An ensuite and carport was also added to the front of the property.

The addition of black and tan brickwork from PGH Bricks & Pavers proved an integral part of transforming the house and blending the old with the new.

Mrs Heasley said she considered one particular brick wall on the southern side of the home to be a surprisingly important feature.

“It actually gives us so much privacy from the neighbours and allows us to have a completely open side deck,” she said.

“I stand at my kitchen sink now and look at the wall — it’s a really beautiful wall.

“It’s opened up so much space for us.”

Along with contemporary lighting, pitched ceilings, Scandi-style furniture and sleek joinery, the overall look of the interior is pared back, yet luxurious.

“We love it,” Mrs Heasley said.

“We absolutely love it.”

Mr Lockyer said the main challenge with the project was to create a simple and economical home, that was also “poetic” in outcome, as well as being “contextually responsive”.

“It helped that our clients were true to their values and prioritised quality over quantity,” Mr Lockyer said.

“The outcome of this admirable virtue was that a home of relatively modest budget was able to be delivered in a way that is truly special; manifested in the intimate, comfortable and relaxed cottage they now call home.”


Time taken: 9 months

Total spend: $650,000

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