Renovating a Queenslander home | Undercover Architect Member Review

Carla is renovating a Queenslander home in Brisbane.

Having renovated before, and not having a great experience of it, Carla wanted to be better prepared, and avoid creating a design which would be over budget.

Listen as Carla shares her experience of getting ready for renovating a Queenslander, and how Undercover Architect has helped her feel more confident and in control of her project.

Carla is a member of the HOME Method.

My name is Carla. And I live in Brisbane, in Queensland, in Australia. And I live in a kind of house called an old Queenslander, which means that it was built from timber some time, early-ish to middle of the last century. 

And now I’m in a position where I really need to renovate it, because it’s getting rundown, it’s in need of repair. And the way in which the house was built then, isn’t quite compatible with the way that people want to live now. So I’d like to update it as well and make it fit our local climate a bit better.

What were you concerned about before starting your new build journey?

Well, embarking on a major renovation project is a bit daunting. I have previously done some renovations about 25 years ago, now. And for that job, I had some plans drawn up by an architect. I had a budget, I stated my budget, I then got quotes from some builders, which came in at much, much higher than my budget. 

So then I had to redo the plans, it delayed the whole project. And I’m very wary of repeating that process. 

So this time around, I want to understand the process a lot better, and to be able to make decisions that are a lot more informed with greater competence. And I think the course that I did with Undercover Architect has certainly equipped me to do that.

What have you learned from the Undercover Architect courses?

I have now retired, and I spend a lot of time at home, which just makes me more aware of changes that I wanted to make. 

And the thing that I had been most concerned about, is that I was basically ignorant of a lot of processes and if I blindly engage a professional in order to save time, there’s a very high risk that I could end up with something that I didn’t really want in the first place. 

So the most important thing for me has been to learn enough to actually gain some control of my own project and gain the confidence to know where to look for help.

How did you first discover Undercover Architect?

Well, that was several years ago now. And it’s a little bit difficult to remember. But basically, it was through cruising around the web, looking for information and following up leads. 

And at some point, I came across, perhaps some of Amelia’s podcasts, that probably led me to the website. And I took it from there.

Where are you now with your renovation?

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point. Partly because I had some health problems in between and dropped the project for about a year. But I am about to get quotes from building designers and builders. 

I figured out the whole group of different professionals that I need to get to, get to where I need to get them to work in a team based approach with each other and with me. So I’m hoping to get started with the actual renovations sometime during the year, next year.

Did you consider joining any other course out there?

No, because I, because I have had some previous experience, and I was actually looking for options with designers and builders, but I knew that I really wanted to learn more. And so about that stage, I came across the Undercover Architect.

What made you decide to join the Undercover Architect online courses?

Doing the course was actually a time saving solution for me. I think you invest money at the beginning in order to save you time in the longer term. And to avoid the pitfalls that are going to cost both time and money for things that otherwise you would just never expect. It’s a great collection of information which leads to other information and the more you learn, the more you know how to search for information as well. 

So yes, it opens up avenues for information as well as collecting a lot of useful things in one place. 

Another thing that I have learnt through the process and through seeing the stories of other people who’ve been involved, is that these major projects rarely run smoothly and rarely happen within the original timeframe. 

So I’ve also learned that it is a good idea to spend that time at the beginning, in the planning in order to try to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible once you seriously begin.

What are you doing differently because of this Undercover Architect course?

Yes, I’ve certainly gained a lot more confidence and certainty in the idea that I want to get my builder and my designer working together. I’m also considering the landscape around the house before I work on the house itself. 

And I’ve, I’ve also done a lot more preliminary work than I would have otherwise, for example, getting a proper site plan drawn up, before I do anything else.

Did the Undercover Architect course save you drama + stress?

Simply by being a lot better prepared than I had been previously. And also by throwing up lots of things that I should consider, which I have considered now. 

Whereas if the project had just gotten going without me being more informed, then they may have been decisions that I would have to, they’d surprise me. And I’d have to make them within a day or two, and be totally unprepared. 

So yeah, I just thought much more about all the dimensions that are going to be involved in this project.

How have you benefited from doing Undercover Architect’s courses?

So it’s, so the stage that I’m at is that I’m getting the brief together. And I have a short list of designers and builders, who I am about to start discussions with. So I’m not quite at the kind of stage that you’re talking about yet.

What is the best thing about the Undercover Architect course?

Well, I have a lot more confidence now that I will end up living somewhere which will be suiting me for the future.

What would you say to others thinking of joining this Undercover Architect course?

Well, I’d say that you should certainly consider it seriously. Because putting in the time now will be helpful in the long term. 

I think that Amelia does a wonderful job in putting out a range of publicly accessible web material as well as doing her paid courses. And I think those two things complement each other very well.

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