A Trip Around the World - Extraordinary Home Styles

Posted by Jen Scholte Team on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 at 10:09am.

This piece was written by Debbie Bullock, Sales Representative with the Jen Scholte Team. Debbie moved from England to Canada in August 2012 with her family. Debbie has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Australia and the US - and after a month of local travel in Ontario settled in Collingwood and hasn't looked back. Debbie has a keen interest in home styles and shares key styles noted in her travels in this blog. 

If you’re anything like me, you find home styles fascinating. The size, layout, exterior, colour, textures, type of building materials, windows all ‘talk’ about the home. On a trip to Australia some years ago, we visited friends who lived in a “Queenslander” and that’s when I first fell in love with this style of home!

Queenslander Home

(Traditional “Queenslander” home)

As the name suggests, a Queenslander home is a style of house that originated in Queensland, Australia. Queenslander homes were originally designed for the tropical and humid climate, primarily built of timber and some iron, with many having metal roofs.  With the often oppressive climate and a large termite population building with wood was controversial ‘back in the day’ and this led to one of the great design concepts found in Queensland homes: an elevated base. The main body of a Queenslander home is raised off the ground both to help prevent damage by termites and to increase ventilation and heat control inside the building.

Protection and respite from the heat and humidity is a concern in Queenslander homes. In addition to the raised platform, houses have many windows, some with awnings or overhangs to take advantage of breezes while protecting the inside from direct sunlight. Most homes have at least one balcony or verandah, which provides welcome shaded outdoor seating and entertaining areas.

(Verandah to offer a welcome escape from the heat and sun)

Most Queenslander-type houses are one or two storeys and feature a pitched or steeply sloped roof.  They are often customized in Colonial, Georgian, Victorian, Antebellum, Federal styles.

As with all homes, the interior of a Queenslander home may vary widely, but consideration is often given to using the space according to the climate and rejecting formal spaces in favour of open floor plans.  With the arrival of air conditioning technology, the outdoor climate is less of a factor, but many traditional or historic Queensland homes still display an informal and practical interior style.

What style of home is a favourite of yours - would a “Queenslander” be on your list?

Amsterdam House Boats

There are approximately 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam, many of which are moored in the city centre.  The intricate network of canals in Amsterdam allow for a unique residential area with colourful and attractive houseboats moored along the canal banks. 

Houseboat owners in Amsterdam obtain a permit called a ligplaats, which entitles them to moor their home in a particular spot, anchored to a specific address.  As with all properties in prime locations, these permits are in high demand and increase the value of a houseboat, particularly if they are in the ‘right’ spot! 

Many of the original houseboats are restored ships from the days of Amsterdam’s seafaring and trading legacy. Many are more than 100 years old and retain some original features in addition to having the modern amenities we’ve all become accustomed to, such as electricity, heating and running water! 

After the Second World War, houseboats were an innovative solution to the rising demand for housing in Amsterdam, as well as other cities like Utrecht and Haarlem that also have canals flowing through them. An influx of more modern houseboats in the 1960s and 1970, was seen as a good solution to the increased need for housing. 

Today, the houseboat market is highly competitive because the allocation of permits is tightly restricted. Houseboat living can offer spectacular views of the historic Canal Belt and city sights - can you imagine living in a permanent home with the water gently lapping around you and the buzz of City life close by?


Thatched Roof Cottages

Anyone who has visited the UK will have spotted thatched roof homes dotted about, especially in the countryside villages. It’s true that there are thatch-roofed houses in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Scandinavia and parts of France too, but there are more thatched roofs in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. Thatched roofs are part of the fabric of the British countryside, and the thatched cottage of William Shakespear’s wife, Anne Hathaway, is synonymous with this type of home. Pictures of Anne’s family home have appeared on countless postcards, prints, chocolate boxes and biscuit tins for centuries!

Anne Hathaway’s family cottage


In the UK, especially England and Wales, thatchers have been honing their craft since before the Middle Ages.  Evidence of thatching from the Bronze Age has been found by archaeologists, beneath other materials when ancient historic properties have been renovated.  In fact, this type of roofing material may have been used in Britain since people first gathered in villages.  

Thatch is not as flammable as many people think it is.  Thatchers say that it burns slowly, ‘like a closed book.’  It also has some natural properties; it is weather resistant and when properly maintained does not absorb much water.  It is a natural insulator and air pockets within the straw thatch insulate a building in both warm and cold weather, and when applied correctly offers good resistance to wind damage!

It is thought that there are over 60,000 properties in the UK with a thatched roof! Thatching methods have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, and numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used over the centuries survive in early publications and archives. Today, it is estimated that there are around 900 professional thatchers working their magic on storybook cottages with a thatch of straw!
What do YOU think, would you like to live in a thatched roof home with all the romance it may inspire?

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