Published : 14 October 2015

It's sad to see our old heritage homes disappearing as our cities and towns grow to accommodate the growing population.

And true, those old homes aren't everybody's cup of tea when it comes to choosing a property.

However, if you think outside the box, there is a way to combine the best of both worlds, while helping maintain Australia's fascinating heritage.

More and more home-buyers are snapping up period homes, retaining those heritage features but modernising to create a state-of -the-art residence.


Farewell to lace and doilies!

You see, choosing an old Queenslander, for example, doesn't have to mean a lifetime of lace curtains and doilies!

Just recently we came across a stunning property that, from the front, gave the appearance of a cute country cottage, complete with white picket fence.

But when you went inside, it was quite a different story! There you discovered a blend of old and new, a cottage feel with resort-style size and facilities.

While polished timber floorboards ran through the bedrooms and living areas, gorgeous marble tiles graced the bathrooms.

Casement windows had been retained, along with a stunning fireplace in the guest bedroom, but modern light fittings and greenery added a modern touch.


Keep the best and modernise the rest

The high ceilings were still there - a real bonus, along with traditional fretwork. The original upright VJ walls had been retained but, painted in shades of charcoal and white, added a real designer feel.

So the secret when buying and renovating an old home is to keep the best, and modernise the rest.

Try and repair rather than replace, to maintain the period charm, and make a visual distinction between the old and the new. That way it looks intentional, rather than a make-good!

If you discover lovely old floorboards under the years of carpets and lino, celebrate them! Once repaired and polished they will look fabulous - especially with some pretty rugs added here and there.

Try and maintain the original windows - a task made easier these days, thanks to the many salvage yards around the country.

If the colours are dated, that is one of the easiest things to fix, as practically anyone can use a paintbrush! Once that avocado kitchen and pink bathroom are given a fresh coat of white paint you won't know the place!

Scour antique shops for interesting bric-a-brac, like old pots, baskets and suitcases, to add a nostalgic feel.

They will sit just as well alongside your modern furniture, creating that element of surprise and visual interest.

Perhaps the kitchen cupboards just need a lick of paint, too, but replace the old cooker with a stainless steel cooktop and oven and it takes on a whole new look.

Give curtains a miss and choose modern blinds in stone or taupe to again create balance between the old and the new.

It really is that simple and before you know it you'll have a stylish place to call home that is the envy of all your friends.