I am sitting in the upper floor office of our Australian home and, even though I survived years of humid Chicago summers and a decade in perpetually hot Houston, I have to honestly admit it is beginning to feel a lot like summer in Brisbane. But then a breeze flows through the house or I walk downstairs and sit for a minute in the cool “rumpus room” (cool for the temperature and the name), and it isn’t so bad. The locals warn me: “Just wait for December and January.” I think I’ll be spending a lot of time in the rumpus room then.
Our house is a “Queenslander,” named for the unique type of home developed in the mid-1800s for the Queensland climate. Due to Queensland’s high humidity, rainfall and pests such as termites, Queenslanders are built with the main living area raised up on “stumps” to allow for ventilation under the home, protection from termites and other pests and protection from any possible flooding. Like many in our area, ours is a renovated Queenslander. A few years ago, it was raised up higher than the original stumps to make room for additional living spaces to be constructed underneath the main floor, creating a very cool area to live and sleep in the hot summer months. The main floor was also renovated, but many of the windows and other original features of the home remain.
Queenslander homes are also known for their amazing verandas, often on the front and back of the house. Our covered back deck is a favorite place for weekend breakfasts, nightly dinners and weekend barbecues.
When we found out we were moving to Brisbane, one of the first questions we asked was where we would live. Should we live in a condo overlooking the river or maybe live closer to the coast so we can get to the beach quickly? Should we live near the city to allow for a quick commute to work and school or perhaps lease a home with more land and space in an outlying suburb?
As it turned out, the leasing market is quite competitive in Brisbane and the homes quite expensive to rent, so finding a nice home for a decent price was going to be tricky and we would need to jump on any we liked quickly. As my husband was here for weeks ahead of us, it fell to him to tour homes and, when he saw the one we are currently leasing, he quickly knew it was the one for us. It’s spacious but not too big. It’s close to the city but in a residential neighborhood. It’s close to both of the kids’ schools. It has a pool! And, for me, it was important it had character. Our last two homes were basically cookie cutter. I liked them but, when going for a walk or visiting others, I would see our home over and over again, just with slightly different layout and colors.
Of course, Queenslanders are everywhere in Brisbane, but each one seems to be unique. I feel really lucky to be living in one for a little while. Here’s a little sampling of the uniqueness of our home for now: