Saturday, November 20, 2010

Designer looks upward for living space

THE past two years have been busy for a young man who has devoted his life to building a better Redland, or at least, ensuring optimal use of space in our rapidly growing city. John-Paul Hartill grew up at Capalaba West, attended St Anthony's Primary School and Villa Nova College, then knuckled down to a career in residential housing design and drafting. The career choice came easy. John-Paul is the son of John and Loretta Hartill, who were the proprietors of Classic Constructions, not only building new homes but also specialising in making better use of existing homes through second storey additions.

JOHN-Paul was in-house designer for the family company for 12 years before his parents retired about two years ago. While mum and dad were still packing for their move to a relaxing lifestyle on Bribie Island, the son set up Urbane Residential Design, which he operates from his Wellington Point home. He has continued the second storey specialty, while also providing 3D design and drafting for other extension projects and new residential construction. John-Paul estimates he has completed 350 to 400 such design projects with both firms over the years, so he certainly would have a special 'feel' for the requirements.

"THE good things about adding a second storey are that you are not using any more of your site, you can live in the house during the construction work and you don't have costs like conveyancing and real estate commissions that apply when you move to a new or different home," he says. "On a typical three-to-four-bedroom home you can usually add three to four bedrooms upstairs." He says the cost of a second storey of that size would range from $2000 to $3000 a square metre, including all standard finishings except floor covering.

AS the flow of international students to South East Queensland institutions has increased, John-Paul has found a market with home owners setting up student accommodation. Such usage generally has involved the addition of three bedrooms and three-way bathroom, with separate shower, powder room with vanity unit and toilet. John-Paul says about half his work has been in bayside districts and he works closely with local builders.

URBANE Residential Design, which has featured on the Classifieds 'Find Us First page, will have its second anniversary in January, but the champagne corks have already popped for another important celebration – the first wedding anniversary for John-Paul and his wife, the former Helen Fletcher, who grew up at Alexandra Hills and is now a nurse at Brisbane Dental Hospital. John-Paul thanks his sister, Sarah, for introducing him to 'the love of his life'. Sarah and Helen studied nursing together and became good friends. John-Paul and Helen married at Guardian Angels Church, Manly, on November 14, 2009.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times. (Image from Microsoft)

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