I first visited this house in the early 1970s, I worked every weekend for an antique dealer friend of our family – Mr Harcourt Howard. Betty Clarke was a regular visitor and buyer at Harcourt’s home at Denham Street Clayfield, a school teacher, a spirited bower bird who invited me up to Denmark Hill early on in our friendship. Chestnuts was her and Ashley’s “doll’s house” as I remember it – they lived there in small arched rooms completely crammed to the roof, verandahs over-flowing and a kitchen so filled with colonial objects that each week’s shopping, I guessed would never fit.

Allan & Linda had previously make restorations to the building for Ash & Bette and had first option to purchase. Here’s a bullet-point list of features: – Triple brick ground floor walls, with double brick upper – Extensive use of flame and fiddleback Queensland red cedar – Antique cast iron spiral stairway – English antique high level W. C. suite with calico interior to pan & stoneware fluted hand basin to powder room – Antique W. C. suite, claw foot bath & marble floor to bathroom – Marble floor & walls to ensuite – English imported wallpapers – English styled panelled conservatory – Eat in kitchen with restored Aga stove, walls marble; French provincial style – Floor marble & terracotta – Fire place to master bedroom – Polished cedar cutstring staircase to full height attic rooms with gothic windows – Reverse cycle air conditioning to lounge & bedroom – Secure front verandah with cast iron panels & lattice – Rear verandah with cast iron posts & panels with views across Ipswich to Brisbane – Detatched laundry & sewing room – Detatched garage with remote controlled door –  Monitored back to base security system – Exterior security lighting – Iron security grills to all accessable windows – Hard wired synchronised smoke detectors to all levels – Sandstone summer house with slate roof nestled in two metre high rear walled garden – Timber pitched roof potting & gardeners shed – Terraced front gardens landscaped with sandstone paving and retaining walls – Victorian terracotta garden edge tiles bought the house and added wings . . .

Barbara and I also selected The Chestnuts as one of the two Ipswich Houses for our recent commissioned sculpture for the Ipswich Art Gallery, so we already had a great connection to the place when the Coopers asked me to do the marketing & design work with them. Here’s a small A4 .pdf of the brochure and the house can be viewed on the web – here.

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