Inside Lamb House: Owners Share Story Behind Multi-Million Dollar Restoration

Steve and Jane Wilson, owners of Lamb House in Kangaroo Point, graciously opened the doors of the meticulously restored house for a special tour, providing an intimate glimpse into the exquisite 1902 estate after their multi-year renovation efforts.

Read: Renovation of Lamb House into ‘Home’ Finally Complete

In a special episode of ABC’s Restoration Australia, the couple gave an eagerly-anticipated first look inside the heritage-listed villa, now called “Home” after completing their ambitious restoration project.

Steve and Jane Wilson with Restoration Australia host Anthony Burke (Photo credit: ABC)

When the Wilsons purchased the dilapidated property in 2021 for $12.75 million, they committed a further $15 million to restoring every facet of the early 20th century residence to its original glory. Their goal was to accurately recreate architect Alexander Brown Wilson’s celebrated design vision down to the most intricate heritage detail.

Photo credit: Alex Chomicz – Home_Kangaroo Point/Instagram

The owners proudly showcased the incredible lengths taken to forensically examine and replicate each historical element, from colour schemes to light fittings. Mr Wilson revealed they had even hired security after purchasing to stop potential break-ins.

Photo credit: Alex Chomicz – Home_Kangaroo Point/Instagram

A show-stopping highlight is the kaleidoscopic laylight window in the entrance foyer, meticulously reconstructed pane-by-pane with over 1,000 individual glass pieces by conservation artisans Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn. Mr Wilson marvelled that it creates “an aquarium of light” in the wonderful room as rainbow-hued patterns danced across the space.

Photo credit: Alex Chomicz – Home_Kangaroo Point/Instagram

Uncovered from beneath decades of grime, wood carvers precisely replicated original timber detailing whilst specialist plasterers shaped intricate ceiling roses and cornices using authentic techniques like “running the cornice.”

Photo credit: Alex Chomicz – Home_Kangaroo Point/Instagram

Mrs Wilson noted the garden surrounds were just as crucial to recreating the estate’s early 20th century character, saying they are “just as important as the house itself in respecting the heritage.”

Photo credit: Alex Chomicz – Home_Kangaroo Point/Instagram

After removing layers of graffiti and surveying archival photographs, the interiors have been utterly transformed from dilapidation into a pristine time capsule of 1902 design. 

Whilst some modern touches are still to come, the couple are thrilled to have already moved in, believing Alexander Brown Wilson would be “very pleased” to see his celebrated early 1900s design so impeccably revived.

Read: Lamb House Set to Return To Its Former Glory

The Wilsons look forward to sharing this spectacular historic gem by opening Lamb House’s doors for charity events, immersing visitors in Brisbane’s opulent colonial past.

Published 28-May-2024

Kangaroo Point’s Lamb House Close to Being Fully Restored to its Former Glory

To owners Steve and Jane Wilson, as the restoration of Lamb House in Kangaroo Point nears completion, the project has been a worthwhile one, with its share of pleasant surprises, such as the discovery of fairly intact, 100-year-old tiles under the bathroom floor; and challenging ones, such as managing ballooning costs that have gone past initial estimates.

Read: Lamb House Set to Return To Its Former Glory

The Wilsons acquired the heritage-listed property for $12.75 million in 2021 and have since invested significant time and money into faithfully restoring the century-old home. 

The restoration is “progressing rapidly,” according to the couple, with just months to go before completion and their projected November 2023 move-in.

Lamb House
Photo credit: JDA Co/Facebook

A key focus of the renovation has been the preservation and replacement of the home’s original red cedar woodwork, an important architectural feature noted in the building’s heritage documentation. 

Lamb House
Photo credit: JDA Co/Facebook

Although the Wilsons have not revealed the total cost of the project, Mr Wilson acknowledged it has exceeded their initial budget, as construction costs have risen substantially in recent years.

Among other surprises, when old bathroom tiles were removed, the couple discovered 100-year-old originals underneath, now replaced with new matching tiles.

In one update to the home, the Wilsons added an attic space by opening up the existing roof. They plan to install a leadlight window in the attic, covered by a hardened glass skywalk.

The driving philosophy behind the renovations has been to be pure to the soul of the house and the intent of the house. The couple enlisted the help of Chapman Builders and designers from James Davidson Architects (JDA Co) and Conrad Gargett to carry out the restoration.

After two years of waiting, the Wilson family is eager to finally move into the renewed Lamb House later this year.

History of Lamb House 

Lamb House, circa 1904 (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Lamb House, a heritage-listed villa located at 9 Leopard Street in Kangaroo Point, has fallen into disrepair after sitting vacant for several years. 

The grand home was originally designed by noted architect Alexander Brown Wilson and constructed in 1902 for John Lamb, co-owner of the successful Queen Street drapery business Edwards & Lamb. 

After John Lamb’s death in 1920, he left the business to his sons John and Frank, whilst the Lamb House property was passed on to his widow Sarah. Sarah continued living in the grand home with the Lamb children who never married.

Despite its rich history, Lamb House had become rundown from lack of use and maintenance and was unfortunately subjected to squatting at times. 

Photo credit: Lamb House/Facebook

In December 2020, the Brisbane City Council announced plans to sell the property in order to recover unpaid rates that had accumulated over multiple years, going against the wishes of the original owners. By May 2021, Lamb House was officially listed for sale.

Read: Exploring the Former Kangaroo Point Residence of the Queensland Water Police

When Steve Wilson and his wife Jane purchased Lamb House in June 2021, they pledged to restore the historic home to its original grand condition as a way of honouring its heritage.

Published 8-August-2023

Lamb House Restoration Nears Completion

After two years of dedicated refurbishment, Jane and Steve Wilson are just months away from moving into the historic Lamb House, their meticulously restored riverside mansion in Kangaroo Point.

Lamb House, a historic federation home with stunning views of the Brisbane River, CBD, and Story Bridge, was originally built circa 1902-1903 for John Lamb, co-proprietor of the esteemed Queen Street store Edwards & Lamb.

When they acquired the house, the Wilsons knew that they had to race against time to save it from further decay. The collapse of the roof exposed the house to the elements, but their passion and determination gave the iconic residence a chance at a new breath of life.

Lamb House
Photo Credit:

Throughout the restoration process, the Wilsons have displayed an unwavering commitment to preserving Lamb House’s historical charm. From meticulously restoring the red cedar wood, an integral part of the house’s heritage, to replacing stolen lead lights with carefully designed replicas, every detail has been given the utmost attention.

Photo Credit: Facebook/JDA Co/@alex_chomicz

The Wilsons say that they have put their hearts and souls into this undertaking. While adding contemporary accents for a comfortable lifestyle, they have gone above and beyond to preserve the spirit and mission of Lamb House.

A stunning attic room has been added, but the house’s historic elements have been preserved, striking the ideal balance between respecting the past and embracing modern living.

Once complete, Lamb House will once again come alive, connecting Kangaroo Point’s past with its present.

Published 17-June-2023

Approved: 15-Storey Apartment Tower Next to Heritage-Listed Shafston House

A controversial 15-level luxury apartment tower next to the heritage-listed Shafston House has been approved after development plans were suitably revised.

The approval follows a State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) decision in January 2023, giving the proposed development the green light after the developer revised its plans. The Burgundy Group proposes a 15-storey tower comprising 37 luxury three- and four-bedroom apartment units on the grounds of the home at 23 Castlebar Street in Kangaroo Point.

Approved: 15-Storey Apartment Tower Next to Heritage-Listed Shafston House
Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council /

The State Assessment and Referral Agency initially told the developers to amend its original plans and reconsider the location, scale, bulk, form and architectural details of the proposed tower that they want to build next to the heritage house, among other reasons.

According to the revised plans, the proposed apartment building will be located further from the heritage-listed Shafston House and the height reduced by 5.3 metres as well as the use of a lighter colour scheme. 

The two riverside homes on the northern edge of the site have been scrapped whilst the two terrace homes on the southern edge have been reduced in scale.

Shafston House
Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council /

Shafston House

Initially built in 1851 by Rev Robert Creyke, the heritage-listed Shafston House is one of the oldest homes in Brisbane. From being a private residence, the site became an Anzac Hostel (1919-69) and also served as an accommodation for the Royal Australian Air Force (1969-87) before it was redeveloped as part of the Shafston International College (1995-96). The single-storey cottage had several owners and had also undergone several stages of construction, renovations and extension.  

The proposal attracted 200 submissions with a majority opposing the plans due to several issues including its impact on traffic, loss of community open green space, overshadowing of neighbouring buildings, and that it is undermining the heritage importance of Shafston House.

Published 28-March-2023

Have Your Say On The Proposed Shafston House Apartments

Act now. You can still have your say on the proposed development involving the heritage-listed Shafston House at 23 Castlebar Street, Kangaroo Point until November 30, 2021.

The Burgundy Group is fine-tuning its plans for the Shafston House at Kangaroo Point, before a formal proposal is submitted to the Brisbane City Council for approval. The Group has established a dedicated website for the proposed development and is currently seeking community feedback. Residents may fill out the form provided on the website. 

The proposal involves the restoration of the house as a residential dwelling, fulfilling their promise to bring the building back to its former glory, with the other buildings on the site converted for residential purposes as well. However, other added structures will be removed whilst an allowance will be provided to allow for a riverwalk connection to be constructed in the future.

Photo credit:  Shafston House Apartments /

“The proposed development concept is consistent with Council’s planning guidelines as set out in City Plan 2014 which identifies the entire nearly one hectare site in the High Density Residential (up to 15 storeys) Zone (HDR2) and within the Shafston Precinct of the Kangaroo Point Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan which anticipates as an acceptable outcome multiple dwelling development up to 15 storeys in height with a tower site cover of up to 45%,” the website said.

Photo credit:  Shafston House Apartments /

“The investigations and engagement completed to date has confirmed that multiple towers across the site would not be an appropriate outcome,” they added.

The Burgundy Group’s proposal consists of a single 15-storey residential tower, comprising 37 three- and four-bedroom apartments positioned towards the Thorn Street frontage. There will also be two luxury river terrace homes (1 – 2 storeys high) to be built on the eastern portion of the site. The formal lawn and significant view lines to Shafston House from the street, and to and from the Brisbane River, will be preserved.

About the Shafston House

Designed by Robin Dods, the single storey cottage was built in several stages between 1851 and 1904 and underwent renovations with extensions and new buildings adjacent to the house constructed until the 1930s. In 1996, a Shafston International College campus was also established on the site until it was closed in 2020.  

Shafston House | 23 Castlebar St, Kangaroo Point QLD 4169, Australia