The leading accommodation in Ipswich is Cumquat House, with an exceptional 5/5 rating by guests on TripAdvisor. In this interview, owners Marie and Peter explain the significance of the property’s architecture and heritage, its recent renovations and the special welcome offered to Ipswich visitors.
Q: What inspired you to buy Cumquat House? Did you intend to run it as a B&B?
A: We were looking for a business opportunity in relation to the UQ university, which was due to open. Always having a love for heritage buildings we came across Cumquat, although it was severely damaged by storm and some parts were unoccupied for 18 months. To us, it was a blank canvas waiting for us to restore it. In 1998 we initially offered student accommodation and limited B&B. In 2016 we closed the student accommodation and refurbished again into full-time B&B.
Q: What is the historical and architectural significance of Cumquat House? Is it heritage-listed so it will be retained for future generations?
A: Cumquat House was constructed by Mr Woodford a prominent builder who also built many local buildings, TAFE, department stores and houses. According to an article in the Queensland Times, dated 1919, he won the contract in 1913 to rebuild the Sandy Gallop mental asylum opposite us (now USQ University). During this process, Mr Woodford built Cumquat House on his land, showing the latest building techniques in the use of brick and concrete in the Spanish Mission Revival style.
All the interior walls are hand-finished polished concrete with suspended concrete floor balconies and hidden concrete lentils supporting the arches. The building, a pair of semi-detached as we call it today, was a show home for potential customers to view and purchase the design to have built. This building is very significant as all rooms have internal balconies within the roof line but open on three sides for summer’s cool breezes.
It is heritage-listed and all the bricks were made at Dinmore Ipswich.
Q: What changes have you made?
A: When we purchased Cumquat House, it was flats, and the rear of the property was a bus depot workshops and storage yard. The renovations that we made have bought it back to two houses.
Q: Some rooms have more modern decor. Does each one have a deliberately different look or will they all be upgraded?
A: We like to vary the decor in each room to show its individuality. Compton and Brockwell have fire places. Headley Adams has the original wash room restored to an Edwardian bathroom. Downstairs we have restored the formal parlour with its pressed tin ceiling and also retained the original fitted kitchen and walk-in pantry.
Q: Do you use local produce for your free breakfast?
A: We do a continental buffet for breakfast with freshly stewed fruit of the day, fresh fruit salad and our signature dish is a three cheese tart. Goat’s feta is from the local camel dairy and homegrown spinach, basil and parsley are from our garden.
Q: Are there any other special touches or quirky objects or luxury items or locally made things worth noting? Awards?
A: On the booking sites such as booking.com and Expedia, we are rated 9.8 and win the award every year for People’s Choice #1 in Ipswich.