For almost 10 years a big old house sat silent and vacant on one of Dalby’s busiest streets but now three local sisters have swung its doors open wide.

The heritage house is a home again and this time around the whole town is invited in. Originally built by Dr Andrew Stewart around 1909, Quambi holds the memories of three generations of the Flower family. In the 1920s, it was purchased by the editor and proprietor of the Dalby Herald, Mr J Shaw Thompson, and later became home to Thompson’s daughter, Hazel. Hazel eventually married Bill Flower and together the couple ran the newspaper for many years.

Quambi House has now been restored by local cotton farmers Jessica and Shawn Fleischfresser (Fresser) who recently purchased the property from Hazel and Bill’s daughter, Margaret. For a long time, Jess and Shawn had dreamt of bringing the house back to life. “We looked at it many times over the last nine years,” Jess said. “When we finally had the opportunity to buy Quambi, we tossed up a few different ideas for how we might transform it.”

Along with Jess’s sister and brother in-law, Mark and Melissa Harms, the couple opened Urban Paddock Cafe at Quambi in January. Bi-fold doors open up to a deck overlooking a sprawling green lawn scattered with picnic style tables and chairs. Imagine Sunday morning brunch with a cup of Di Bella coffee and a stack of fresh pancakes with blueberry compote, while children are kept busy in the cubby house or with outdoor games.

An eye for style and a passion for gorgeous apparel and homewares saw Melissa launch retail store Milli and Robe with sister number three, Angela Bradley. Step in the front door of Quambi and in one room you will find a well curated rack of designer labels and in another, pieces by the likes of Timber and Cotton and Lily White Creative, for the home.

The true beauty of Quambi’s makeover, however, lay in the way the sisters have been able to seamlessly combine their different interests into one harmonious space, without compromising the home’s historical charm.

“It was challenging to open a space that met all the needs of a cafe while trying to keep everything in the house as original as possible,” Jess said. “Structurally the house was in great shape, and we’ve been able to colour match the paint, keep the VJ walls, pressed metal ceilings and the original façade of the fireplace,” she said. “It has been a dream and we are really proud. We drove past the other night with the lights on and it just looked so beautiful; it’s a space for everyone to enjoy.”

After all these years, when it comes to Quambi’s new lease of life perhaps it is the lady who spent her childhood there who said it best: “It warmed my heart to see how you have restored such a beautiful old house,” Margaret Flower recently wrote to the Fressers. “After three generations in my family, I am so happy the house has gone to those who appreciate its beauty… It’s so good to see Quambi has some life and vitality again.”

 

 

 

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