Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Restoring Orwell: January 2016

January 8, 2016
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The Hidden Doorway

These old Queenslanders were built to catch breezes. For the most part they were constructed on stumps and boast a plethora of doors and windows that can be flung open to catch the air and provide relief from the warm subtropical air. From day one, we felt there ‘should’ have been a door in this spot.

Externally, the blank wall of VJ (vertical joined) planks look out of place and odds with the other external walls. Even though a hodge podge en-suite had been constructed off to one side, and an aluminum hopper window inserted on the other, it didn’t explain the lack of flow and cohesiveness that these old buildings usually boast. In addition, an internal plywood wall was out of character and obviously installed at the same time as a built in wardrobe.

Office - BeforeThis room is my office. It’s upstairs and sits behind the front porch. it gets good breezes, the winter morning sun, and a pleasing view. I believe it would once have been a reception room, and had been stripped to turn it into a bedroom with desk – possibly for a teenager. First to go was the robe. With it, no less than four generations of carpet finishing with true 1930s hessian underlay. Three generations of carpet queenslanderThree generations of carpet queenslanderThen, plywood stripped and small tacks laboriously removed. The brown and cream paint underneath are the original colours, long boarded over.

Remove plywood from VJs queenslanderAs the plywood was stripped, the doorway we suspected ‘should’ have been there was, indeed, revealed.

Hidden Doorway QueenslanderFile 7-10-2015 11 56 06 am

You can see the space where decorative trims would have sat above a lead light pane. Underneath, double French doors that would have swung out to the verandah. The original frame, hingemarks and stoop are still present.

Hidden Doorway Queenslander Old VJs QLDer It’s nice to have it gone, and to be able to move my desk into the room to work from is a joy. I don’t mind looking at the brown and cream for a bit, it reminds me of a time when things were simple, more genteel.

Now to find the right set of doors to fit the space. Wish me luck!

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