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We caught up with Amy Eldridge and Lisa Wilkinson from Concepts Unlimited Design and Gerard Ryan to chat about their most recent collaboration on the award-winning residential renovation of a 3 storey Queenslander located on the banks of the Brisbane River in Dutton Park.

Tell us a bit about Concept Unlimited Design.

LISA: Concepts Unlimited Design is a multi-disciplinary Building & Interior Design company with over 23 years of experience. We have a team of 15 and specialise in custom designed new builds, renovations, and small commercial projects.


Tell us about your recent project with RYCON for the Borva Street Renovation.

AMY: This recent award-winning project was designed on a complex site in the heart of Dutton Park, that posed some site access challenges for the builder to negotiate. The 1920s property required us to retain the original traditional façade with the addition of a modern rear extension to take advantage of the gorgeous Brisbane River views with a resort style pool. 

Amy Eldridge and Lisa Wilkinsonf rom Concepts Unlimited Design and Gerard Ryan

GERARD: The Borva Street renovation was a partial demolition and a complete makeover of a three-storey heritage Queenslander on a challenging sloped lot. We installed a brand-new kitchen and living spaces, added a terraced patio that leads down to a spa, and constructed a curved wet edge swimming pool. Exceptional finishes and fixtures, some sourced internationally, were used throughout.

The effort was all worth it in the end! The Borva Street renovation was a standout project that showcased the seamless collaboration between RYCON Constructions and Concepts Unlimited Design and our team’s ability to navigate complex challenges while still delivering the high quality finishes that RYCON Constructions is known for.


What was the client’s vision and how did you approach this project to meet the vision?

LISA: The key aspect of the original brief was to gain off street parking as well as reconfigure the internal layout and alfresco area to increase liveability. The design development was influenced by the steepness of the site and priority was given to improving the natural light flow into the terraced levels.

GERARD: This home renovation was for a family of 5, who were keen to retain the Queenslander charm at street level while enjoying the best of modern style and convenience over three expansive levels that capitalised on its unique location and views. Our client wanted clean lines and ample storage throughout their home renovation. Warm wood tones and zero handles in the large walk-in wardrobe were one way of achieving this.



    What were the main challenges of designing and building on a steep block with limited street access? How did you and the RYCON team overcome them?

    AMY: One of the main challenges of working on this steep block was we needed to be mindful of the height encroachments of the area. Retaining walls were included to create the tiered pool design that felt part of the property rather than a disjointed addition.

    GERARD: Building on a steep block with limited access presented unique logistical challenges, from transporting materials to managing construction workflows efficiently. These challenges meant that we needed to get creative.



      The demolition commenced as our 5-tonne excavator was transported to the site via barge on the Brisbane River. Due to limited side access, we managed the removal of excavated rubble by hoisting 3m² skip bins from the back of the property, over the house, to street level, where it was then transferred into 10m³ tip trucks. This task was safely executed using a 60t slewing crane, operated with the assistance of two dogmen.

      It took a lot of careful planning to ensure that every phase of the project was executed with precision. It really showed off our knack for turning tough situations into something special and making the most out of a tricky spot.


      Were there any elements of the house that had to be retained due to heritage value?

      LISA: Yes, we needed to consider the heritage value of this property which was achieved by retaining the whole of the front façade, including the porch and rear roof which was then incorporated into the new kitchen design at the rear of the property.

      GERARD: Concepts Unlimited Design did an exceptional job creating a design that beautifully blended the house’s old-school charm with sleek, modern touches and conveniences. Coupled with RYCON’s expertise and high quality craftmanship, we were able to elevate and modernise this old Brisbane beauty, breathing new life into it and creating a luxury home fit for today’s way of living.

      This Borva Street makeover is a nod to that classic Queenslander style we all know and love, especially with that iconic VJ panelling in the front hallway and kitchen, not to mention the stained glass windows at the front door. 


      What aspects of the design was the client most delighted by?

      LISA: The clients loved how the redesign of the kitchen & upper floor will change how they live and entertain as a family. The large kitchen and living space take advantage of the amazing views over the Brisbane River. Moving all the bedrooms to the middle level really separated the living and sleeping zone and the resort style pool allows for connectivity to the back yard and river.

      GERARD: Yes, the kitchen and verandah views are a favourite with our client. Internally, the cathedral ceiling in the kitchen is quite a stunning feature. The client also loves the river views they get from the amazing infinity pool, which just melds right into the scenery. And adding that curve? It brought everything together, making it feel like it’s all part of the landscape. 



      What advice would you give to someone who wants to renovate or modernise an old house?

      AMY: Seek advice from professionals early, this also helps to form realistic expectations. It takes a great deal of planning, and having a team of designers and external consultants that will guide you along the process is a great place to start. They can advise on the limitations and requirements for each specific site. Also be prepared for the unknown, more so with renovations. Until the builder starts to investigate what is behind the walls and ceilings, you will never know what might be hiding behind the walls. Whether it be asbestos or bad electrics. We work on a wide range of budgets and love breathing new life into renovations.

      GERARD: Our advice to anyone looking to renovate or modernise an old house is to always start with a clear vision and engage with professionals who share your passion for transforming spaces. The journey of renovation is complex and filled with unexpected discoveries, making it crucial to have a team that can navigate these challenges with expertise and creativity.

      At RYCON, we believe in the power of collaboration and the importance of craftsmanship, ensuring that each project is approached with a bespoke mindset tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of our clients.


      What’s ahead for Concept Unlimited Design and RYCON?

      LISA: We are excited to continue the working relationship with Rycon on future projects whether they be new builds or renovations. The high quality of the finished result at Borva Street is a testament to the experience of the RYCON team.

      GERARD: The future for RYCON Constructions and Concepts Unlimited Design is incredibly bright. Our collaboration on the Borva Street project has been a rewarding experience, contributing positively to standards of quality and innovation. We’re eager to maintain this partnership, embracing new challenges, and crafting spaces where practicality is beautifully balanced with aesthetics.


      With over 20 years of experience, RYCON can help you get started, no matter where you are in the planning process. Contact us on (07) 3899 6355 for a complimentary consultation.

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