A post-war Bris­bane bun­ga­low cry­ing out for a ren­o­va­tion was too good to pass up for El­iz­a­beth and Bruce Ni­cholls.

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“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.

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