Meet Michael and Kathryn Simmons. This passionate and energetic young couple are currently holding the heritage restoration flag high. So who are they? In their own words, “We are the crazy people who buy the houses that no one else wants because they are too much work! ”
So here’s a brief-ish outline…In 2007, both in their early twenties and still at university, they bought their first heritage property. A little, rundown workers cottage in North Ipswich. They have been slowly completing work over the years, having recently restumped and replaced the roof.
In 2008, they purchased Bowerlea at 2 South Street. “It was very run down but all of its beautiful original detailing had been retained.” Michael and Kathryn graciously opened Bowerlea as part of the National Trust Great Houses of Ipswich in 2014. After spending 7 years restoring it to its original glory, and realising they had completed their journey with Bowerlea they decided to sell in 2015.
Later in 2015, Michael and Kathryn purchased Frampton Villa at 48 Whitehill Rd Eastern Heights. You would be excused for not knowing of or even noticing this residence as it had spent approximately 60 years as a hostel and rehabilitation centre.
When in fact this was originally a colonial home built in 1870-1890 as the ‘interim’ house for James Foote family while they built the ‘proper’ residence further down the road. The ‘proper’ residence has long since gone.
Michael and Kathryn having the vision of bringing this property back to life undertook this renovation with great gusto. “We spent 6 months undertaking extensive demolition and restoration of the front half of the house to make it habitable.”
To date they have opened the verandahs, reinstated most of the lacework and original style cedar doors and joinery, replaced verandah boards, reinstated window hoods, and landscaping!
All the while working full time and raising a family…..
“We still have a lot of work to go, including restoration of the semi-detached kitchen and original servant quarters…this will be another 5 years at least” Kathryn said… laughing.
You can follow their work via Michael’s Instagram account; @frampton_villa_restoration