A post-war Brisbane bungalow crying out for a renovation was too good to pass up for Elizabeth and Bruce Nicholls.
“WHEN WE FIRST SAW THIS home, it was painted pink, with bright yellow windows, and was very run-down. It needed lots of love, but we really liked its original character and the fact that it had a big backyard. Our two boys were young at the time and we wanted to encourage them to play outside, so that was really important to us. And even now, 10 years later, they still spend most of their time in the garden or by the pool with their sister. I often joke that although we live in a quiet neighbourhood, we’re the noisiest family on the street!
The home is a post-war bungalow, so it’s just celebrated its 60th birthday, but as we have replaced nearly all the tongue and groove internal walls, it seems older than it is. Before we moved in my husband and I painted the whole house ourselves on weekends, which took several weeks. There’s not a wall we haven’t touched! We pretty much started from scratch, and redid nearly every aspect of the home, from fencing to walls, new bathrooms and a brandnew kitchen. Everything!
In terms of style, we went for a Hamptons-inpired look in the openplan kitchen, with our Caesarstone benchtops and blue breakfast bar chairs from Ikea. But for the rest of the home we have mixed French provincial with modern country to make it look fresh and contemporary.
This is the first house I’ve renovated, but luckily my husband has renovated a few houses before, so we have been able to do a lot of the work ourselves. He’s also a real handyman, so when
I tell him that I’d like him to build something a particular way, it always comes out exactly how I want it to look! We did have a builder do the main extension, though, just because it was such a big job but my husband followed that up by doing all the builtin wardrobes, relining all the walls and all the fencing around the yard.
In the kid’s bedrooms, we have relied on stores like Ikea for affordable furniture, so we don’t have to worry about them making a mess and playing roughly. But throughout the rest of the house, I have mixed in a lot of second-hand pieces. I really love upcycling and repurposing. There are several things we’ve painted, including a table that was hiding under the house for six years! We also found the white shutters on the deck at a recycling yard for only $120. My husband had to modify them, cut them down to fit and paint them. But they look new!
My favourite space is the deck; we spend a lot of time there as a family. I really like being outside during the summer months, and the pool helps make it feel like a really summery home. We were worried about the kids damaging the grass when they got out of the water, so we added a border of white, textured cement pavers. They are non-stick, and white stops them from getting too hot. My husband did all that before the really hot weather came and he did a great job of designing it to look like the tiles were an extension of the deck.”
KITCHEN Design doubts “Don’t be too worried about styles. Just buy things you love. They’ll work in your house somehow,” says Elizabeth.
KITCHEN Home hues Elizabeth didn’t start with a set colour scheme, but believes you can never go wrong with white.
KITCHEN Clever storage “Bruce does the weekly shopping so he can see what we’ve run out of by just looking at the pantry,” says Elizabeth.