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A Contemporary Queenslander


Today’s Brisbane home is a bright and beautifully modernised Queenslander – and a real family effort!

Young architect, Frank Vedelago has worked closely with his builder brother-in-law to renovate a pre-1911 weatherboard house, creating a breezy and light-filled home perfectly suited to the Northern sub-tropics.

4th October, 2017

The Brisbane home of Frank Vedelago and Jane Vasey. View from the street to the front of the house with the original cottage and new carport visible. The modern addition was joined to the back of the property. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

View from the main living room to the staircase in the void which connects the original cottage to the new addition. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

The sparsely decorated main living room features a Swedish NUD pendant light and custom cabinetry with American Oak veneer. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

The modern kitchen with its gorgeous Carrara marble benchtop and splashback. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Work area on the mezzanine of the void featuring American Oak cabinetry. The Indigenous bark artwork painted in 1989 (artist unknown) was a gift to Frank from his mum. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

The kitchen features floor-to-ceiling sliding doors allow healthy airflow and track lights keep the vibe clean and minimal. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Master bedroom featuring large-scale banksia artwork by Judith Sinnamon. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Bedroom in original cottage featuring American Oak shelving and original French doors. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Alternate angle of master bedroom featuring large-scale banksia artwork by Judith Sinnamon. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Jane and Frank: partners in life, and landscaping! Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

The car-port, multi-purpose room and pool, spread out along one side of the property, giving it what Frank describes as a ‘campus’ feel. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Frank custom made the outdoor table and bench seating, with the accompanying chairs a budget Kmart find (we love the mix of bespoke with more accessible pieces!). The property also has dual-street access via this back garden and also the new addition, which overlooks the end of a neighbouring cul-de-sac. Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Styling – Alexandra Macmillan. Photography – Mindi Cooke.

Jo Hoban
Wednesday 4th October 2017

Frank Vedelago and Jane Vasey had been living and working in Melbourne before they returned to Frank’s hometown of Brisbane in 2015, and purchased an old, run down worker’s cottage. In Melbourne, Frank had completed an Architecture degree and gained valuable industry experience. ‘In the early stages of my career I was lucky enough to work for Six Degrees and Kennedy Nolan – I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such talented, but also kind and generous people’ the young architect recalls. Come 2015, though, Frank was eager to sink his teeth into his very own project!

Frank and Jane’s original Queenslander cottage was built pre-1911, and was a typical structure with four rooms, a lean-to kitchen and an outhouse in the backyard. Its less typical pyramidal roof form, however, distinguished it from later-era cottages. Frank wanted to maintain the integrity of the original structure, while adding a more livable modern addition. ‘The cottage sat on a large site which enabled me to adopt the design concept of a ‘campus’ – pushing building elements across the site to create a sense of space’ he explains. Frank’s favourite multi-purpose ‘workshop/studio’ space is aligned with this idea; it sits aside from the house, and divides the carport from the pool that runs along one side of the property.

Carefully updating the original cottage, which still has the original hoop pine flooring and ‘VJ’ (timber panelled) walls, Frank built a bedroom, bathroom and living area underneath which serves well as a guest suite. An internal void with a staircase leading to the 2nd level and a mezzanine desk area creates a generous sense of interior space. The modern addition is a two-level structure featuring a master bedroom, dressing area and ensuite upstairs, with the kitchen and living areas downstairs.

The north-east aspect of the main living areas encourages breezes to flow through the property, and the floor to ceiling screens, and overhead fans reduce the need for air conditioning – as Frank was keen to avoid such mod cons, preferring instead to work with the natural climate.

Aesthetically, the home celebrates natural light and materials, such as Australian blackbutt flooring and Carrara marble, creating a relaxed, understated feel. ‘Jane and I find solace in natural environments, and wanted to experience a similar quality at home’ Frank explains. ‘Family and friends have jibed us for being minimal, but we find an uncluttered space relaxing to be in.’

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