These are Queensland's top 50 homes (Part 1)
NO longer the hub of the humble beach shack, Queensland homes have finally come of age.
A design culture has taken hold that is seeing the state punch above its weight when it comes to pushing the boundaries of cutting-edge architecture and redefining dream homes.
Our sun-soaked streets are now home to world-class architects and boutique builders with a focus on innovation, functionality and doing away with traditional house boundaries to embrace the indoor/outdoor lifestyle the Sunshine State is famous for.
The Courier-Mail's experienced property team has cast the net far and wide across the state to compile and showcase a collection of Queensland's best houses.
Counting down from 50 to 1, today we reveal the first half of our exclusive feature on the homes that stand out for all the right reasons.
Not just homes of the rich and famous, but the houses of everyday Queenslanders, selected based on criteria such as heritage, sustainability, quirkiness, luxury and location.
The first 50 to 26 houses range from a Gold Coast mega mansion akin to a Kardashian palace and a Japanese-inspired beach house in Sunrise Beach, to Brisbane's first 'passive house' and a 160-year-old landmark residence in Bowen Hills.
Sitting at number 26 on the list, Cintra House is one of the city's most prominent hilltop residences - a heritage-listed landmark that dates from 1863.
Records show the owners, Stefano and Denise Paino, paid $6.6 million earlier this year for the property at 23 Boyd Street.
The two-storey, six-bedroom, sandstone home sits on an elevated, 3000 sqm site, offering 300-degree, uninterrupted views of the city, Hamilton Hill, and the Brisbane River.
A rare example of Georgian architecture, it was designed by architect Benjamin Backhouse and has a rich past, having once been used as a convent and serving as the home to Queensland's 10th premier, Boyd Dunlop Morehead.
Heading to the beautiful beaches of Noosa, 'Sunrise Shack' is a refreshing example of why not all new coastal homes need to be big and blingy.
In fact, when Peter Stavroff came to build his ideal beach house at 40 Orient Dr, Sunrise Beach, he had quite the opposite in mind.
Having spent many years living the high life, working and travelling overseas, he was ready for something a little more modest, more comfortable, more, well, zen.
With the help of renowned architect Frank Macchia, he achieved it with his cleverly designed two-bedroom "shack" made of only natural materials - burnt wood, stone and glass.
"There's no paint here," Mr Stavroff said. "There's oil on the walls, so it's a very eco house.
"Even the benches and table are made of paperrock, which is basically hundreds of pieces of paper meshed together."
After spending almost three years in Japan, Mr Stavroff fell in love with the architecture, much of which is based on a Japanese philosophy called wabi sabi, and celebrates the beauty of imperfections.
He believes the shack captures this to perfection.
"It's an incredibly calming space, very earthy, but the fact that I can feel at home and the people who come here can feel at home, that's the true secret."
Leading the green charge, at number 30 on the list is 'Vanquish' in Brisbane's inner west - a home that sets a new benchmark for sustainable housing.
The Auchenflower property, built by Solaire Properties, is proof a large-scale Passive House can be built in subtropical Queensland, without compromising the outdoor lifestyle.
The house can maintain a constant temperature of 23 degrees and delivers air that is cleaner inside the house than outside.
"This is the flag on the moon," Solaire Properties director Harley Weston said.
"Our goal is to make it look and feel and smell like a mansion but to give it a back story of sustainability.
"When you get to this level of a passive house, people's heads hurt. All you need to know is this house is going to be comfortable all year round, it's going to be quiet, long lasting and you'll never get a power bill."
Originally published as QLD's top 50 homes: Part 1