5 Questions Home Renovation Project Updates

Five Questions with Coorparoo Home Renovator Emma

This week we caught up with home owner, Emma, who is raising and building in under her beautiful Coorparoo home. We asked Emma five questions about her renovation project which has already started construction.

Why did you decide to extend/renovate your house?

We always planned to renovate our house, even from the first day of purchase, as we have three small boys and we need a bit of extra room for the family to grow.

Front of raised house
House raise – now on stumps

Ours is an old style triple gabled Queenslander, and we are lifting it and building a level underneath, and also making a few changes upstairs – adding a walk-in robe and en suite to the master bedroom, putting in a new kitchen with butler’s pantry and adding a deck.

3d view of proposed home renovation
Extract of plans by Rob Riori

We are also building a pool and a shed in the back yard.

What will be the best features of your renovated house?

Having the extra space for our family, and the ability to have friends and family to stay and not feel squashed!

In terms of features, we have chosen some lovely blue and white tiles as a feature wall for each bathroom, and we are also pretty excited about getting a pool!

How will you manage your budget?

We did a few years of concentrated saving before embarking on our renovation, to ensure the budget wasn’t too tight going through the transition and beyond.

We are also quite pedantic with our family budget so everything is accounted for, and this gives us peace of mind that things won’t get out of hand financially.

What is the best thing about living in Coorparoo?

We love the sense of community in Coorparoo, and the excellent schools and facilities.

Martha Street is a 10 minute walk away with some great restaurants and shops, and we have some lovely parks in the area too.

It is close to the city, but still retains all the good things about being a residential suburb.

Do you have some advice for someone about to start a renovation project?

  • Minimise all the things you might stress about up front as much as you can. We have elected to move into a rental property for the duration of our renovation, and with young children it has turned out to be a good decision.
  • Ensure you feel as comfortable as you can about your budget and financial situation before you start the renovation. We delayed starting our renovation for a year initially, and then a further year to ensure we felt financially ready for such a big project.
  • Keep an open mind and be prepared to ‘go with the flow’. It is likely there will be small tweaks that happen with your renovation along the way.
  • Our builder has suggested several small amendments that will mean our property will work better for us, and we have been grateful for that.

Overall we are enjoying the process, and it is very exciting to see our home transforming before our eyes.

Also, make sure you use Cornell Engineers for all your engineering needs, as they are a pleasure to deal with – prompt, friendly and professional!

Thank You Emma

Thank you for your time Emma. We can’t wait to see and hear how your house raise and build in under project progresses.

5 Questions Home Renovation Project Updates

Five Questions with Keperra Home Renovator Lerissa

We love a good home renovation project – but even more so, we love to meet the people behind a good home renovation project.

Today we caught up with Lerissa and asked her five questions as she embarks on a home renovation project in Keperra, Brisbane.

Why did you decide to extend/renovate?

We bought our home in 2002 just prior to Brisbane’s housing boom. We love our tiny mortgage, but we have found ourselves at a cross-road now that our children are almost teenagers – do we move to a bigger home that better meets our needs [and deal with the bigger mortgage] or do we renovate to make better use of the space we have?

5 Questions Home Renovation

5 Questions with Home Renovator Gareth Baines

We caught up with owner builder Gareth Baines, who extended and renovated his house at Wellington Point in 2014, and asked him 5 questions about his renovation project:

Why did you decide to extend/renovate?

We bought our property 5 years ago but after only 6 months living there were relocated Melbourne with work. We rented the property out until we returned to Brisbane 2 years ago. We thought about

A photo before renovation work started
Wellington Point renovation before

buying another property but we couldn’t find one that ticked all our boxes. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we would renovate.

We embarked on a rather large scale renovation which included:

  • removing & reusing the existing stairs in a different position
  • giving the main entrance and upstairs landing more room
  • with the extra space were able to move several internal walls to make 3 rooms larger and also increase the size of the walk in robe and the main hallway
  • the walk in pantry has also been made available with the new configuration.

Outside the garden was tiered on 2 levels with small retaining walls

Pool excavation and footings
Pool and footing excavation

making the space feel very small. We levelled the whole rear garden and have installed a 9 x 5 swimming pool.

The outdoor entertainment area was very narrow and an awkward space to utilise. We have demolished the whole of the back of the property and replaced it with a single story extension which spans the whole of the rear of the house 16m wide x 5.5m deep replacing a tiled roof with a colour bond roof allowing for a flatter pitch and enabling the celling to be raised,

We used some large beams to span the 160mmx160mm posts which

Picture of verandah extension
Verandah posts and beams

allowed us to remove 4 existing posts and open the whole are up. We also removed the existing bay window and replaced them with patio doors and made a large opening where the existing patio doors were located & added another smaller patio door where there was a plain window,

This gives the impression that the rear of the house is mainly glass and looks and feels very modern.

Photo of house renovation
Modern look renovation

The rear of the house will be rendered and the existing tiled roof will be repainted to match the new colour bond roof.

The 3 bathrooms will be completely renovated with the en-suite & walk in redesigned to be more user friendly,

What will be the best features of your renovated house?

We think the best feature is the outdoor entertainment area. We live outside and the feeling of space  and brightness is incredible.

Verandah extension almost finished
Almost finished

How did you manage your budget?

We did the Owner Builders Course which has allowed us a certain amount of freedom to do what work we could manage ourselves. We are both quite able and have done most of the work ourselves only bringing in trades when absolutely necessary for elements of the build we couldn’t manage. Labour is the most expensive item of the build so where you are able and can “do it yourself”

What is the best thing about living at Wellington point?

The best thing about Wellington point is the village itself and the proximity to schools( our kids can walk to school) rail and the water, with sea breezes all year round.

Do you have some advice for someone about to start a renovation project?

3 bits of advice I would give to anyone planning a large renovation:

  1. Buy a good trailer (it will save you hundreds of $$$).
  2. Research your tradesmen. Get recommendations. Get one that will work with you, give you advice so you can self-perform work where possible,
  3. Make a solid program and budget then double them!!!
5 Questions

5 Questions with Julian Kajewski

Julian Kajewski is a construction cadet at McNab Constructions in Brisbane. He took five minutes out of his day to answer our five questions.

What is your job description at McNab Construction?

I work full time as a Construction Cadet at McNab Constructions whilst completing my university degree at Queensland University of Technology. Next year I will be in my fourth year of a Bachelor of Urban Development (Construction Management).

As a Construction Cadet at McNab I have the opportunity to complete a rotation in three key areas: Estimating, Design and Operations. I have been lucky in that I have been placed in Operations, which is my preferred area at this stage of my career.

5 Questions

Five Questions with Matt Cornell

Matt Cornell - Cornell Engineers
Matthew Cornell 

Hi. I’m Matthew Cornell. I’m a structural engineer with 20+ years structural engineering experience in residential, industrial and small commercial jobs in Queensland. These are my 5 questions.

1. How did you become an engineer?

At school I aimed high and worked hard. I was interested in science, building things, electronics and computers. Spurred on and supported by my fantastic parents, I achieved decent Year 12 results and went to James Cook University to study engineering.

At that time I didn’t know I wanted to be a structural engineer – it just seemed like a good mix of science and fun.

2. Where do you live and why?

I live in Brisbane now but I grew up west of Mackay, Queensland in a sugar-producing town called Marian.

Mackay was right for me growing up. It’s a great place to go to school and has a lot of spirit. I moved around after university but ended up back in Mackay for 10 years until 2013.

Now my home is in Brisbane.

Brisbane is a great place to be growing our business and there’s so much to do on weekends.

There’s a wealth of great people with the same friendly atmosphere I love from my time in Mackay.

We live on the north side of the river because of its proximity to the airport and our office in Hendra but my wife and I love exploring and finding new places to have breakfast and dinner. We’ve travelled as far as the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast for a nice meal.

I think Brisbane has a lot of potential and I’m excited to have an office there.

3. What do you like about being an engineer?

I like helping people look after their properties. Property is a great wealth-building tool but it can also be a great nest egg.

When we design and document projects, we do it carefully and with smart engineering. It’s the best way to provide value for money.

Not all homes and building perform to expectation. So we also spend a lot of time inspecting buildings and finding ways to strengthen, stiffen or replace elements that are up to standard.

Matthew Cornell Structural Engineer

New homes, renovations and house repairs are my favourite types of project. I have great clients that appreciate the service we offer. Working with these people is the thing I like best about my job.

4. What is your greatest challenge?

As a business owner, my greatest challenge is taking time off.

Even though we have a great team of structural engineers in our office, our clients love to know they have direct access to me by phone and email.

We have projects in the design stage and construction stage constantly and I try to be always available if unexpected conditions arise on site.

That makes it hard to go away for any length of time.

My wife, Debbie, is awesome and understands that I have to answer my phone on holidays – and that makes it ok.

5. Where to from here?

Cornell Engineers has always been about being in the right place to provide a service to people who need help with structural engineering.

The Queensland market place has changed since we started back in 2003 and we change our business with it.

We’ll always be here for Queenslanders (and hose further away). Our experience and local knowledge mean that we’re a great choice for looking after your property whatever stage you’re at.

As we say: Building. Maintaining. Repairing. We’re Cornell Engineers.