Termite hotel in Brisbane turned back in to heritage homestead
His family co-founded an online travel empire that allowed travellers to jet off to some of the world’s most spectacular destinations.
But it was an original homestead in Chelmer that had always caught Will Brice’s eye.
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“It was down the road from my sister and I must have walked past it a thousand times,” Mr Brice, whose family co-founded Wotif.com which was sold to travel giant Expedia six years ago, said.
“When the agent called, I had to have it. We bought the house less than two years ago and embarked on a massive renovation, a total rebuild in fact from the ground up.
“It was a huge labour of love.”
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The property called Dalmuir at 10 Lama St, Chelmer – in Brisbane’s leafy western suburbs – was completely transformed by Mr Brice and his wife Shona in keeping with its traditional style.
Ray White Sherwood agent Adriana Cameron said the luxurious five-bedroom home with four entertaining areas and three bathrooms was “utterly faultless”.
Dalmuir was built by the Frew family in 1893, with the area known as Frew Estate.
Robert Frew, who died in 1930, was well known for his presidency of the Queensland Tennis Association, often referred to as the father of Queensland tennis. The former Milton Tennis Centre is named in memory of him, Frew Park.
“We spent about six months working with Brisbane City Council’s heritage department to totally rebuild the house in sympathy to its character,” Mr Brice said.
“We negotiated with council to allow some modern conveniences – like an ensuite – but we have essentially built a very modern house that … retains its heritage appeal.
“We have four children, so I built the house for our family, with plenty of zones. It’s 130 years old, and it will now last another 130 years.”
The renovation took 12 months as everything had to be rebuilt, including every leadlight window and sash.
The galley-style kitchen has European stainless-steel appliances, a Carrara marble island benchtop, American walnut island benchtop feature, and a scullery with built-in shelving.
The house has five bedrooms including a spacious master suite with an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe.
Three further bedrooms can be found in the children’s wing, which includes a rumpus room, mudroom and laundry.
Living spaces include a family room and lounge, plus a dining room. There is also a study and a guest room.
An indoor/outdoor room leads off the kitchen and the family room, and includes space for alfresco dining, a functioning wood fireplace, a wet bar and built-in refrigerators. This area opens out to the garden, the pool deck and the pool, which is ringed by Travertine pavers and has floating steppers to the covered pool cabana.
Other features include an attic retreat with built-in day beds, ideal for a library, quiet area to study, or a private space for guests, Jane Churchill and European wallpapers throughout the formal spaces, ducted airconditioning and ceiling fans and the original ironwork detail on the front veranda, juliette balcony and internal staircase.
Mr Brice said they were now selling as it was time for a new project.
“I love renovating heritage houses,” he said. “It was absolutely rotten when we got it, with water and termite damage.
“But being able to work with the council and heritage professionals, to transform it and make it in to a house for a family to enjoy for the next 130 years, that’s the passion.”