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.
RARE BEAUTY: Historic Ballachulish on Blackstone Road, Newtown.
Home owner Jenny with son Finn enjoy a cuppa on the spacious back deck with views of Brisbane
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.
The downstairs parent’s bedroom, which retained the original windows that open to the garden.
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.