This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Transformed Queenslander That Celebrates Its Undercroft

Architecture

Architect Kieron Gait describes a traditional Queenslander undercroft as a cool, shady space with battened edges, and a concrete slab that acts as a heat sink. It’s often the most comfortable place to be in summer, yet it’s typically underutilised.

His vision for this Brisbane project was not merely to activate the existing undercroft, but position it as the heart of the home. The existing house was raised and moved towards the rear of the site, allowing space for a new living platform beneath.

The upper level now enjoys an elevated north-facing aspect across the new ‘backyard’ that’s proudly presented to the street.

Family life occurs in a breezy, light-filled home with a strong connection to its garden and surrounding neighbourhood.

29th July, 2022

Bardon Undercroft House is a recently renovated and extended Queenslander by Kieron Gait Architects. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Renovations celebrate the undercroft, introducing a new open-plan kitchen, dining, and living areas including a ‘garden room.’ Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The existing timber Queenslander was moved towards the rear of the site and raised to allow a new living platform underneath the house. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The new space enjoys an elevated north facing aspect over the street to the treetops beyond. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The living level encourages the family to live collectively: spaces are connected but separate, each with their own character and outlook, but unified by the rhythm of the exposed structure above. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Concrete floors drift outside to the garden terrace, blurring the lines between the house and landscape. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The new front garden designed by Dan Young Landscape Architect and installed by Sod Design echos the pocket park opposite. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Concrete belongs to the ground while spotted gum timber references the existing house’s hardwood frames and construction. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

‘The idea is that the concrete and timber become part of the garden connected to landscape, whilst the white painted timber and steel infill the void between it and the Queenslander above,’ explains Kieron. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

A blue bathroom conjures feelings of a tropical escape. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The upper level now enjoys an elevated north-facing aspect across the new ‘backyard.’ Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Family life occurs in a breezy, light-filled home with a strong connection to its garden and surrounding neighbourhood. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The garden room embraces the new front yard featuring natural materials in keeping with the surrounding landscape. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The family of six can occupy the house in many ways across the multiple living spaces indoors and out. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

The garden room beneath the existing home. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Amelia Barnes
Friday 29th July 2022

‘Living has moved from the insular, raised house to the garden.’ 

Beneath many Queenslander homes is an ‘undercroft’ typically used for storage and passive cooling.

In this recent Brisbane project, Kieron Gait Architects saw potential to better utilise this space for family living, with an adjoining north-facing garden. 

To achieve this, the existing triple-gabled house was moved back 4.5 metres on its Bardon site (about five kilometres north-west of the CBD). ‘This was a somewhat brave move by the owner, as it presents the family and garden to the street,’ say the architects. 

The original rooms were all completely retained, but raised 1.5 metres to allow for a new liveable storey underneath. 

Subsequent renovations celebrate the undercroft, introducing new kitchen, dining, and living areas including a ‘garden room.’

This indoor-outdoor space embraces the home’s new front yard designed by Dan Young Landscape Architect and installed by Sod Design featuring natural materials, in keeping with the surrounding landscape.

Concrete forms a cool slab beneath the house, while spotted gum timber references the existing home’s hardwood frames and construction, complemented by contemporary white painted steel.

‘The idea is that the concrete and timber become part of the garden, connected to landscape, whilst the white painted timber and steel infill the void between it and the Queenslander above,’ explains Kieron. 

Each room has its own character and outlook, unified by the rhythm of the exposed structure above.  

Upstairs, the original house becomes a private retreat containing the bedrooms and additional quiet living spaces.

Large operable doors and windows to the east naturally ventilate the home. Combined with the thermal mass of the concrete floor and aspect, Kieron says it’s a comfortable space to be in year round.

‘Living has moved from the insular, raised house to the garden, [facilitating] daily life in an open and light-filled family home. The original house is still respected, used and restored.’ 

This Week

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!
Bea Taylor
  9 hours ago

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
Amelia Barnes
  1 hour ago

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Miraculous Floating Garden + Pool in Brisbane

A contemporary, low-maintenance interpretation of the Australian suburban dream!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Mid-Century Brisbane Home Redesigned For Modern Life

A subtle renovation by Kin Architects has enhanced this mid-century home, making it functional for years to come.

Architecture

A Revamped Queenslander Designed To Embrace Its Lush Landscape

Nielsen Jenkins have transformed this typical Queenslander into a sleek, contemporary home that can withstand the state's harsh sun.
Christina Karras

This Week

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!
Bea Taylor
  9 hours ago

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
Amelia Barnes
  1 hour ago

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Miraculous Floating Garden + Pool in Brisbane

A contemporary, low-maintenance interpretation of the Australian suburban dream!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Mid-Century Brisbane Home Redesigned For Modern Life

A subtle renovation by Kin Architects has enhanced this mid-century home, making it functional for years to come.

Architecture

A Revamped Queenslander Designed To Embrace Its Lush Landscape

Nielsen Jenkins have transformed this typical Queenslander into a sleek, contemporary home that can withstand the state's harsh sun.
Christina Karras

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net