A RESIDENTIAL design expert with an appreciation of the Queensland climate is helping families improve their living spaces.

Graham Lloyd (pictured) loves the challenge of redesigning Brisbane’s ageing homes into trendy, modern living spaces.

“There is a lot of older housing stock in Brisbane and the land value is getting higher. People want to upgrade their premises to create more living space. This is especially the case for quite a lot of cottage owners.

“People also really do not want to sell, after paying a decent price when house prices were high.”

The 37-year-old principal of Graham Lloyd Architect started his own business in February last year after working for Petrie Terrace-based Ceccato Hall & Associates Architects.

“Work came through friends and referrals from people. Most of my clients are in their mid-to-late 30s with children,” he says.

One of his clients is a family at Red Hill who have run out of room in their small Queenslander.

“The internal areas were quite modest, but I am looking to expand them and open up the spaces to increase outdoor lighting and remove the darkness typical to a lot of older style homes," he says.

“I want to include outdoor connections by spreading covered areas to the backyard with landscaping and a pool area.”

Although swimming pools can deter prospective home buyers due to the burden of maintenance, Lloyd finds they are very popular with existing home owners.

“People looking at building pools go ahead with it because the children will love it,” he says.

“Maintenance and costs associated with keeping it clean are factors, but my clients want to create their own private place to swim. It is nice to have a water feature and place for outdoor fun with the family.”

Lloyd has also done commercial work. His portfolio includes the Dalkia headquarters at Springfield Technology Park ($5 million), The Corner retail commercial and service station in Brookwater ($3.5 million) and various branding exercises for shopping centres, warehouses, multiresidential, institutional and master planning projects.

“These days my business is mainly focused on upper-end residential property, which is quite specialised,” says Lloyd.

Another project currently on Lloyd’s books is the development of four two-bedroom townhouses in Nundah.

“The concept is working on environmentally sustainable solar access, cross-ventilation and building external amenities to reflect the nearby parklands and Nundah Village,” he says.

Lloyd plans to make 2012 a year of consolidation for his fledgling business.

“I want to improve on efficiencies and from the next financial year, I would like to double my revenue to $150,000,” he says.

Lloyd relies on his website to generate interest and make client contacts and he has just started to explore social media opportunities.

“I see potential there to be a way to market my business and get the word out. Facebook is a juiced-up tool to refer people and spread information,” says Lloyd.

Lloyd insists though he has no plans to show his work through online videos.

“There are already too many magazines and television shows about home renovation. I prefer dealing with clients one-on-one rather than a broad brush to ensure things are tailored to their requirements,” he says.

When he is not redesigning homes, he enjoys travelling.

He recently completed Tasmania’s Overland Track last year, has trekked through New Zealand and regularly cycles around Brisbane.

“My travels help me see how other architects design buildings," he says.

“I keep an open mind and find it great to look at the work of others as it influences my work. It is also a way to recharge my batteries and avoid developing a tunnelvision mentality.”

Lloyd is a member of the Australian Institute of Architects and Hillstone Young Professionals.

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