Selling our Toowong house

A view for early birds

Selling our house, now there is a line to attract unwelcome spammers to my blog. For anyone reading this outside of Australia, a Toowong house actually means the suburb of Toowong, there is no such thing as a Toowong House. But there is a Queenslander and that is what we have. After recent renovations and deliberations we have decided to sell our Brisbane Queenslander home we have lived in for over 15 years. It is odd that we stayed so long as the last house we had for 11 years and we always said we would never be in a house that long. Why you may ask…. well we think a change is good as it gives you a new perspective and outlook, and with a new possibilities of how you live your life. So it is with heavy hearts we are prepared to let it go as we have loved this home and enjoyed many good times here and so have our friends for that matter. It means just a little more too as I have worked out of my home for so long, having an office here and a kitchen I purposely designed for teaching cooking. For over 5 years I also worked alongside various photographers who came to take shots of the food I cooked here for The Sunday Mail newspaper. I also loaned the kitchen for a few film crews to shoot cooking segments and was invited to star in a few of those too.

After 15 years I am finally getting my lime tree to bear fruit and my kaffir lime tree and lemongrass give me plenty of ingredients for Thai cooking. My hedge of rosemary, oregano and marjoram, copious mint, a few chillies and a large bay tree bay help with any other type of cuisine.  My passionfruit vine has not been so reliable so I won’t be missing it. My orange tree has its first two oranges and probably after I go the grapefruit will appear.

The back deck

The next step is to choose a method of marketing. I am overwhelmed by how many real estate agencies are around us. So we will be looking at who should represent us and how to best market our house. I am biased of course but living so close to the city and having city and river views was top of my list when I began the search to find my Toowong house. I knew I could create what I wanted inside so my wish list to agents 15 years ago was find me a place set back off the street (we were almost on the road in Highgate Hill) with a north-east aspect, and a swimming pool if possible. Well we got all that and then we set about renovating and rebuilding which also included raising the house by another metre. It was already elevated but we wanted to make the downstairs guest room legal!

Its traditional but we learned to live with it, the fountain I mean

Since we last sold a house the internet has stepped up as a prime form of marketing. I remember when looking for a new house I went to agencies with my wish list.  If I were a buyer in the market today I would first be checking the internet to see what is out there rather than going to an agent who might spend a couple of full days showing me everything they have.  The agents back then did subject me to this technique, possibly to tempt me to change my wish-list or maybe the tactic was to sell me something more expensive than my budget allowed. That said the internet was not being used in the way it is today and maybe it helps the agents if people have first looked at the properties they represent on the internet so time is not wasted all round.

The long saltwater pool

When I am sitting in the pool house or cabana with a cold drink and lots of good reading material I have already put the answering machine on so I am not tempted to run to the phone or carry down a portable. I feel like I am at a resort. I have a ceiling fan to keep me cool and I can move my lounge chair around to be under the shade so I do not get sunburnt. Writing this I am already missing my lovely pool. People have asked if I ever dived off the house deck above. Certainly not!  it is the shallow end and I would not be here to tell any stories if I had. I can dive in from the pool house, that is the deep end.

I am often asked if I have a favourite place in the house, so just before the pool area have to say I love my little library, it houses our general books, not the cookbook collection as that is in the dining room on floor to ceiling shelves. The library area also hides away the CD’s and DVD’s and a deliciously decadent day bed, it has a big storage space under the bed which is ideal for blankets etc. So my reading time includes a short snooze and then I wake again refreshed to concentrate on another chapter of whatever I am reading. I am getting sentimental already.

The talented Gillian Hirst catering for me here

Now to the room everyone thinks is my favourite, the kitchen. I do admit that the kitchen is rather gorgeous, even after 15 years looking at the same one I am not bored. It has everything where I want it, well it should – it took me some time and thought to design and functions for various uses. My choice of commercial kitchen ranges has been rewarded as they do not date like all the domestic cookers on the market. When it was built I would venture to say that freestanding domestic ranges were not the in thing as they are now. It was all wall ovens and separate cooktops set into benches. Well I put one of those in too so I actually  have a four burner gas cooktop.  There is a wide and deep electric oven and I even have a turbo gas oven with a water connection so that brings it up to date with the current trend for steam ovens, giving me no less than 2 ovens and 8 gas burners for all that juggling when a big party is happening. Whether I am cooking or I bring in the caterers, who by the way thank me profusely for having deep stainless steel sinks, bench tops and good ovens.  Now there is more…I have a walk in cold room and a separate walk in wine room downstairs. I know when I leave here I will have to think about buying my supplies in a whole new way. Bulk buying has become a way of life, it saves money and time. My house painter Kevin Houston was amused when he saw me step into the cold room one day with a basket and he said it looked like I was going in there to shop!

Gillian's fab chocolate roulade

Working with photographers in my food writing days was lots of fun and plenty of hard work, neither of us had assistants and I had to cook and style the food and the photographer had to work quickly to catch the good light. We mostly photographed on the table on the rear deck with me desperately hoping he would get ‘the shot’ before the food formed a discernible film or an unhealthy looking crust.

We have renovated entirely our ensuite but earlier last year we renovated another bathroom. At that time I was sick of going downstairs to wash clothes so I decided to incorporate the laundry into the middle bathroom.

Middle bathroom with laundry incorporated

I am now dedicated to black floors in bathrooms, they seem to be the best colour and are easier to care for than my previous white floors.  I put a black granite one in this bathroom and the new ensuite also has a black floor. This bathroom has a vanity basin set into a cabinet that I bought at an interiors shop that specialises in lots of old furniture from Europe and Asia. The mirror came from Morocco, it reflects our love of travel. I think the decor overall throughout the house is contemporary with many Asian artifacts we have lugged back from Asia. I had a special marble and stainless steel table made for entertaining outside, it is actually two tables that can be placed in different positions but there is no way I am parting with it.

My bespoke extra long dining tables on back deck - not for sale

We have painted the house white inside and out so if the future owner does not ‘do’ contemporary or Asian then they can put their own stamp on it. The professional photographer is coming next week so there will be better photos soon and the real estate agents arrive tomorrow to look us over and assess the best way to go to market. Roz


  1. #1 by Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial on June 11, 2010 - 8:38 pm

    Good luck with the sale, Roz! Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos of your wonderful home – obviously so many happy memories for you there…

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