Waiting to knock down and rebuild, Jacqi Russo and husband Adam had fun refreshing a “disaster”.
Jacqi and Adam knew they’d have to live in their 1970s “knock-down” for a year but with a little creativity, a bright (if temporary) family home emerged.
“A YEAR AGO we were living contentedly in a lovely home we’d recently built. We weren’t actively looking to sell or to move but my husband, Adam, and I were feeling a little restless for our next challenge. With one eye on the local Mornington Peninsula real estate market, Adam spotted a property not much more than a kilometre away. We were attracted to the block and the location, but not the house – the house was a disaster! With a large north-facing backyard and a stroll to the beach, shops and school, the block was too good to refuse.
Our first impressions of the dated two-storey home were confirmed by a building report. We made plans to rebuild but the house was sound enough to suffice while we went about designing our new home.
Although it was only going to be ‘home’ for a short time, I was keen to give the house a much-needed refresh. The entire interior was very original 1970s – and not in a good way. We had two weeks to get rid of the staleness and turn it into something fresh and bright that we’d be happy to call home. A few handy friends helped out – down came the old stained patterned curtains, up came the carpets and out came the paint tins!
Originally just the living-room carpet was earmarked to go but upon seeing the filth beneath I just had to get rid of the lot! We sanded
“My easel is my favourite item – I thought I’d overspent, but in hindsight it was a bargain!”
the old boards by hand and painted them white. The biggest splurge items were the new custom block-out blinds, but they are well worth it.
They really bring a clean crisp look to all of the rooms and when they are open they are virtually invisible.
One of the biggest challenges was storage for our growing family. It wasn’t worth building in any solutions for such a short time, so instead we just reduced the amount of stuff in the house. A lot of boxes are still in the garage and, to be honest, nothing has been missed.
The living room, kitchen, bedrooms and only usable bathroom are all located on the top floor, and the lower level of the house is home to my art studio, where I paint most days. I adore colour. I love to spread it around according to what feels good. We knew this version of the house
would be temporary, so we made some fun and bold decisions, like the bright teal semi-gloss floor paint in Sadie and Audrey’s room, the dark charcoal walls in the master bedroom and a fresh minty-blue front door.
I’m not particularly interested in trends or fashions – I choose things that I’m very drawn to, that resonate on a deeper level. I think if you do that your home will always be a true reflection of the family that lives there. When I’m unable to redecorate an entire room, I use the addition of something special to change how the room feels, like the Missoni hand-towel that is a perfect match and an instant upgrade for our retro lilac bathroom. Old treasures I’ve bought from vintage stores and crafts made by the girls share equal space next to designer items in our home.
When the house is looking a little less than perfect, it’s no big deal! We all seem to function a little better when things are organised in our home, but for someone who loves clean lines and open spaces I have to admit I’m not much of a housekeeper. The living
Life in colour Jacqi added colour with a vintage green velour sofa and Indian fabric ottomans.
DINING Hello, sunshine Sheer curtains from Ikea allow light to filter into the kitchen.
DINING Table talk
A borrowed table replaces the oversized one in storage.
STUDIO A place to paint Jacqi’s light-filled studio is on the ground floor.
A slimline corkboard from Officeworks houses inspiration and Jacqi’s art.
BEDROOM Bright things Rather than buying a new bed, Jacqi revitalised her old one with a cheery coat of yellow paint.
KIDS’ BEDROOM Bold move Knowing the home was only temporary made risky decisions – like bold aqua floor paint – easy.
BATHROOM Pastel power
“I love the bath but it certainly won’t make it into the next house!” Jacqi says laughing.