BALLACHULISH

QT Magazine - - CELEBRATING OUR HERITAGE HOMES - BY DAR­REN HALLESY

For me, it was all about the pro­por­tions. :: Jenny

IT helps when try­ing to say the name of this classic Ip­swich home if you do it with a strong Scot­tish ac­cent.

Pro­nounced ‘Bal-a-hool-ish’ it’s a home that rep­re­sents just what you can achieve with a bit of imag­i­na­tion, and some bold fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions.

Own­ers Tim and Jenny, and their three chil­dren live in the home that was built, ac­cord­ing to their re­search, in 1911.

Lo­cated on the top of Black­stone Rd, it holds more than a few sur­prises.

As you en­ter Ballachulish, the first thing that strikes you is the feel­ing of fam­ily.

Old pho­to­graphs of par­ents, grand­par­ents, aunts, un­cles and many baby photos adorn the walls. It sets the stan­dard for what lies in­side, and that is a prac­ti­cal home de­signed with fam­ily in mind.

"We’ve been here since 2000," Jenny said. "When we saw it we re­alised it had ev­ery­thing we wanted. One day we were walk­ing past it with our dog and we ar­ranged an in­spec­tion and bought it that day."

The cou­ple felt that it was right be­cause ev­ery­thing was spot on. The de­sign, the lay­out and the po­ten­tial for a fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment.

"For me it was all about the pro­por­tions. It had big rooms, lots of them and a mas­sive yard. We got to work and over time we res­tumped it, put on a back deck, then built in un­der­neath," she said.

“We put in a pool, which un­for­tu­nately meant the loss of some fruit trees, but since then we have re­planted and ren­o­vated the gar­den."

Lo­cated next door was a run­down home that caught their eye. The cou­ple bought the place next door, which now acts as part of what is a huge back­yard for an in­ner-city prop­erty, in fact al­most 2100sq m (half an acre).

"The block next door (our house was on the fence line) had an old house that had seen bet­ter days. We had of­ten thought if it had come up for sale we would love to

buy it and re­move the house so we could ex­tend our gar­den. The Ip­swich City Coun­cil her­itage ad­vi­sor how­ever said there wasn’t enough her­itage value in it to be a fi­nan­cially vi­able restora­tion pro­ject, so we were ap­proved to de­mol­ished it, en­abling us to ex­pand our gar­den," Jenny said.

"I love the fact that our kids have grown up with a big back yard. They ex­plored it, played in it, then we got the pool put in so the kids have spent many days out­doors. They can swim, play cricket, vol­ley­ball, you can’t put a price on that."

"I feel sad that some kids today don’t have a de­cent yard to play in. I un­der­stand it’s an eco­nomic de­ci­sion to split blocks up and build, or to have a small yard in newer homes, but it makes me sad to think that so many kids will never play out­side as much as ours did in their child­hood."

Among the most strik­ing fea­tures of the home are the stained-glass win­dows. Fea­tur­ing yel­lows, reds and greens, they hark back to a time long gone by.

"We don’t have fly­screens be­cause it would ruin the look of the house,” Jenny said.

“Plus, be­cause the house is on a hill we don’t seem to get many bugs. We don’t get many mos­qui­toes and even if we do that’s in the heat of sum­mer. We can close the house up and turn on the air con­di­tion­ing if we have to.

"The old win­dows are our flavour I think. My hus­band grew up in a Queens­lan­der home and I grew up in a bun­ga­low home so we’ve al­ways loved tim­ber homes.

"We were lucky to pur­chase this home when we did. We know how for­tu­nate we are and I love liv­ing here. I love Ip­swich. It is quiet, it is close to work, and it is close to schools. Ev­ery­thing is here."

From the back deck you can over­look the pool, the large gar­den and best of all, ad­mire the sky­scrapers to the east.

"I was blown away when we saw the Bris­bane CBD sky­line. From the street you’d have no idea that you can see that far," Jenny said. "I’m sure most peo­ple would never ex­pect that in the heart of Ip­swich. It’s great to sit out the back deck watch­ing River­fire or just en­joy the Ip­swich subur­ban sky­line to­ward Bris­bane.”

The house has a lounge and din­ing room up­stairs, along with the kitchen and four bed­rooms. Via the kitchen is a set of stairs that leads down to what has be­come the ul­ti­mate par­ent’s re­treat with a bed­room fac­ing north, an en­suite, and a sec­ond lounge/media room for when the own­ers want to watch some­thing dif­fer­ent from the kids.

"There was noth­ing built-in down­stairs when we bought the house apart from a laun­dry with two con­crete tubs, lots of stumps and a cou­ple of dun­nies, but only one worked" Tim said.

"We wanted to build in down­stairs to cre­ate an­other bed­room and liv­ing area.

"We thought about a guest room and re­alised that it made more sense to be a par­ents’ area,” Jenny said.

“I was preg­nant at the time and I was ini­tially re­luc­tant to be away from the kids but I got over it with the help of a baby mon­i­tor.

"We al­ways have din­ner to­gether. We spend some nights watch­ing TV up­stairs but will make our way down­stairs to watch our own shows, then come up to say good­night to the kids."

Through­out the new, large French-style kitchen are old touches, like a set of scales and a col­lec­tion of won­der­ful Malted Milk framed posters, which were saved from a fam­ily busi­ness. Tim’s grand­fa­ther owned a phar­macy in Toowoomba and the posters, made in the 1930s, have been kept in the fam­ily.

"I like nos­tal­gic pieces around our home." Jenny said. "It’s handy if they are func­tional but that is not es­sen­tial when choos­ing them. With a few de­tails like that it adds some­thing dif­fer­ent to the home. It’s what

We love this house, and to have oth­ers also say that gives us a great sense of pride :: Tim

I call classic and calm. It’s not a trend­set­ter house but one with longevity."

Tim added: "We love this house and to have oth­ers also say that gives us a great sense of pride. We opened the house for the Na­tional Trust Great Houses of Ip­swich in 2015. One of the vis­i­tors was a man who had lived here as a child in the 1950s. He was so thrilled that he could come and see it again. I love that. To think that he came here and re­mem­bered rid­ing his scooter up and down the ve­ran­dahs.

"I think we should be cel­e­brat­ing our his­tory and her­itage. This is a mas­sive at­trac­tion of Ip­swich – The Her­itage City, along with min­ing, the Welsh his­tory and so on. Ip­swich is blessed with a high pro­por­tion of her­itage homes. Some ren­o­vated and re­stored and many wait­ing to be."

Jenny and Tim have found their ‘for­ever’ home, and they ad­mit that if they were to ever leave, it wouldn’t be by choice.

"There would have to be some­thing mon­u­men­tal to get us out of here," Tim said. "We’ve put in so much love, time and money, in that or­der.

"I’d say to peo­ple who rule out buy­ing an old home, it’s def­i­nitely not easy but it’s not too hard ei­ther if you put in the time.”

"Plus, if your mar­riage can sur­vive a ren­o­va­tion you can sur­vive any­thing!" Jenny added.

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

RARE BEAUTY: His­toric Ballachulish on Black­stone Road, New­town.

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

Home owner Jenny with son Finn en­joy a cuppa on the spa­cious back deck with views of Bris­bane

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED & DAVID NEILSEN:

Clock­wise from above left: 1. Bed­room on the up­stairs level. 2: The house in 1940. 3. The gen­er­ous en­suite which is part of the par­ent’s down­stairs area. 4. The modern kitchen with many old fash­ioned touches that give it a homely char­ac­ter.

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

The down­stairs par­ent’s bed­room, which re­tained the orig­i­nal win­dows that open to the gar­den.

PHOTOS: DAVID NIELSEN

Belove from left to right: 1. The din­ing room off the kitchen, which leads to the gen­er­ous back deck fea­tur­ing views of the the Bris­bane sky­line. 2. The block next door was trans­formed into a gar­den with lots of room for sports fun. 3. The orig­i­nal gar­den area that now fea­tures a pool and shaded area that pro­vides pro­tec­tion from the harsh Queens­land sun.

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