Renos breathe life into tired homes

Dan Berigan relaxes in his fully renovated East Toowoomba home, on the market for $795,000.
Dan Berigan relaxes in his fully renovated East Toowoomba home, on the market for $795,000. Nev Madsen

BREATHING new life into an old home without spoiling its sense of history can be like walking a tightrope.

Toowoomba carpenter Dan Berigan's newly-renovated home at 75 Mary St perfectly balances the old with the new.

"I bought the house off a family who had lived here for 30-odd years," he said.

"After all that time new nooks, crannies and half-partitioned walls had started to appear all over the place.

"That just doesn't suit the modern lifestyle at all.

"Today it's all about open spaces, smooth lines and a modern feel."

Mr Berigan set out on a $300,000 project to bring the colonial Queenslander into the 21st century.

"We started at the bottom by re-stumping the house and re-designed it from the bottom up," he said.

"We converted the old kitchen into a main bedroom and what was the pantry is now a walk-in wardrobe.

"It can be very expensive, but you're paid back when you see the finished product."

Builder Ross Turner said an increasing number of investors were looking to renovate homes rather than start from scratch.

"The bulk of what we've been doing this year is renovation and extension-type work," he said.

"The new house market has been a bit slow, so people are looking to improve rather than build."

Mr Berigan said seeing the finished product made the months of work worthwhile.

"The most rewarding part has been just the project itself; taking an old home and breathing new life into it," he said.

Find out more about 75 Mary St on Domain

Turner's tips:

  • Stick to your goals
  • Don't over-capitalise
  • Find the highest-value house on your street so you don't overspend

Topics:  property renovation

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