Keen home decorator Jess has turned a little fibro cottage into a charming family home.
Jess Walsham put her DIY and bargain-hunter skills to good use, turning a fibro cottage into a fabulous family home.
“WHEN CHAD AND I bought our 1960s fibro cottage six years ago, it was in original – or poorly DIYed – condition. But we loved the natural light flooding in, and it was the right size (and price). We could see it definitely had potential!
Before moving in we completed a mini-renovation, removing a wall between the living and kitchen area, installing a new kitchen and bathroom and repainting throughout. Since then, we’ve worked on the backyard, installed shutter blinds that we ordered online, and changed the colour of a few walls. We’ve also updated our furniture choices to meet changing needs as our family has grown.
With three fairly uninterested males in the house, I am chief decorator – but Chad and I do make big furniture decisions together. I’m influenced by fabulous magazines, a few TV shows and the inspirational homes of friends, and my style is evolving. When we first moved in I wanted a blank canvas, so painted everything neutral.
But over time, as I’ve seen how the light bounces around the house, I’ve added feature walls in different shades of grey to create mood and definition, as in the living room and kitchen nook.
I like to combine new items with pieces that have a history, like the timber stand and marble-topped wash stand. And I love a bargain – I bought six dining chairs on eBay for $70! Stores like Target and Kmart have great linen and homewares – I seem to have an inappropriate number of cushions, both inside and stored in the garage.
DIY is also a bit of a hobby, creating pieces that no one else has. Our dining table is a tabletop I stripped back and sanded, on new trestles. I didn’t like the fluoro yellow legs of Jonty’s desk, so I sprayed them black. The blackboard unit in the kitchen nook was easy to make, and the Lego figurines live in a round shelf to which I glued Lego mats – much better there than underfoot!
Having an open-plan area as the hub of our home is important to me, and being in a light-filled house makes me so happy and relaxed. While our house isn’t pristine – there are nicks out of the paintwork and Hot Wheels tyre tracks up the walls – that’s all part of the charm. For now, it’s perfect for us.”#
LOVELY LEGS Replica Eames DSW chair, $59, Sokol.
EXPOSED! Mechanics 1 Light cage pendant in Black, $89.95, from Beacon Lighting.
FUN FOR KIDS Instax Mini 8 instant camera, $99, Harvey Norman.
All in the family The timber stand was found in a beach shack Jess’s parents bought 40 years ago, and restored by her brother.
TROLLEY STYLE Vettre bedside table in Turquoise, $49.99, from Ikea.