Houses of Ipswich
Discover one of Ipswich's homes: Gainsborough
MIXING history with modern amenity is not always an easy task, especially when you’re dealing with a home that is more than 100 years old. Gainsborough is located minutes from the CBD, built in 1880 on land then owned by Henry Martin Reeve. While Gainsborough has undergone some modern renovations, the house has retained its 19th Century charm, along with many of its original features, including the original wallpaper. Owner Andrew Spark used to live a couple of doors up from Gainsborough and had long appreciated the house. When it came on the market in 2009, he jumped at the opportunity and made an offer within 24 hours. “For me, this house represents a real sense of community,” Andrew said. “I knew the previous owners and the people next door, and it is not only something that is uniquely Ipswich, but a privilege to be a small part of this historical footnote. “I’d heard an urban myth about the house and that was it still had the original English print wallpaper from the 1880s. To my total delight it was true and was at waist height along the hallway entrance. “I discovered hessian was attached to the honey-coloured, hand-sawn timber boards and the wallpaper placed over the top. I’ve installed glass over the top to protect it and retain that part of history, and it’s a fantastic conversation piece. “It’s a very rare thing to be able to experience the bones of history each day but it provides a touch-point that reminds me each day of how this home has served many generations and is a celebration of the workmanship of those original craftsmen.” Born and bred in Ipswich, Andrew has added some modern touches to the house; moving the original bathroom from the back of the house into what was a servant’s room/bedroom and updating the kitchen while retaining the history and character. The bespoke sink and draining area is a solid piece of concrete and took six workmen to lift into place. Landscaping, converting the old bathroom to a laundry and re-stumping have all contributed to the
My father was a coal miner and self-taught wood-worker, as a result I have a keen appreciation for those craftsmen.
home’s look and viability for another 100 years. “I was lucky when I got it that it was mostly in its original condition,” Andrew said. “Good design doesn’t really age. “The house has an east-west aspect and with so many doors and windows it really is a wonderful design to capitalise on the Queensland weather. Andrew, who works from a studio at home, said the renovation process had been well worth it. “This home reflects me and I think it is a modern home now,” he said. “It took two years to do and has been opened to the public a couple of times. “I’ve always had interest in architecture and I’m really pleased that everything was sourced locally, that’s important to me.” The house won an Ipswich Heritage Award in 2011, highlighting the importance of the home as a part of Ipswich’s history. our “I city grew is up the in protectionIpswich andof our one heritage,”of the great Andrew things said. about “I can play a small part in the story of this house. “Homes offer safety and security yes, but past that, one of my heroes, Andy Warhol, once said a home is a ‘machine for living in’ and I believe that a house has to be a participant in your life, plus it’s true that home is where the heart is. “I also love the area, there are lots of people around me who have been here for many years and are invested in their homes. “I’ll stay here as long as I can.”
Gainsborough was constructed in 1880 and much of the original woodwork remains in place.
Historic Ipswich home, Gainsborough features a large open living area, a studio, original fireplaces, Ipswich bricks and protected wallpaper (bottom left).