Experienced renovators Giacinta and Mitchell fell in love with this rundown Federation home at first glance.
A Federation home needing attention was the perfect project for seasoned renovators, Giacinta and Mitchell.
About me Hi, I’m Giacinta, a national injury management advisor, and I live in a Brisbane suburb with my husband Mitchell, a building services contract manager, and our dogs
Rosie, a Rottweiler, and Harry, a Cocker Spaniel. Best tip Having renovated three properties together, we think living in while working on a house saves time and gets better results.
“MITCHELL AND I WERE LOOKING
for a house to renovate when we came across this little gem. We’d always dreamed of living in a home that had character and were really attracted to the Federation style of this house, especially the high ceilings, tongueand-groove panel walls, the beautiful archway at the entrance and the gorgeous original floorboards. On the floor plan it appeared quite small with only three bedrooms, but the high ceilings and built-in wardrobes made it feel a lot bigger. And the location was fantastic, within walking distance to shops and cafes, including Mitch’s favourite ice-cream shop! This house simply ticked all my boxes!
Previously Mitch and I had renovated two other houses cosmetically, but this one was by far our biggest challenge. The house was almost in its original state when we bought it, apart from a kitchen renovation about 20 years ago. However we decided to move in straightaway, as we’ve found that although you have a sense of what a house needs when you first see it, you really get a vision of what needs to be done when you live there for a period of time. We knew it could be stressful, with plenty of late nights and weekends as we both had fulltime jobs, but we had worked really well together previously. I think I have the vision, but we execute it together. I’m lucky I have a husband who likes to be involved.
Our overall plan was to repair any structural damage, lighten up the interiors with paint and additional lighting and update the kitchen, bathroom and window furnishings – all within a six month timeline! This meant I had to be very organised. There were many nights where I sat on the couch with my laptop putting a detailed plan together for what we needed to do that week or that month.
Painting the tongue-and-groove ceilings and walls was a huge job which involved plenty of preparation. They were original – as in stained timber, which made the interiors so dark we almost needed torches during the day. Luckily, we got advice from my dad, who’s a painter, and ended up sanding the panels, filling gaps, priming twice and painting twice. Lots of effort, but what a transformation!
Meanwhile I negotiated with and scheduled in contractors for the structural work. The original roof was rusted and leaking, so that had to be replaced. We also had to replace some beams on the front verandah due to termite damage, repair the front and rear deck due to weather damage, construct a roof over the rear deck and put in a front fence – which Mitch built.
OLD AND NEW
Where possible, we tried to keep the original feel of the house, but one area we had to mix old with new was the
bathroom. The gorgeous vanity, one of my favourite pieces as it’s nearly
100 years old, had a water-damaged top so we replaced it with a piece of Caesarstone. Now it should last another 100 years! We would have loved to keep the original four-footed claw bath but respraying was going to cost more than buying a new bath. So we sold it to a buyer who planned to renovate and use it. In the kitchen, we decided not to paint the ceiling, as the stained timber gave the space depth and reminded us of the home’s character. New slimline white cabinets, built by a local cabinetmaker, along with a marble-look Laminex benchtop and white tiles, have created just the kitchen we wanted: white, light and classic, with lots of space and storage.
I don’t really follow trends or styles,
I’m all about connecting with the furnishings, the texture, the colour and lots of plants. I like to have greenery inside to help purify the air and bring the outside in. In fact my favourite place now is the front verandah – after we tidied the garden! It has a great view of the street and is perfect for early mornings or late afternoons. It’s where our dogs love to people-watch, and where Mitch and I can enjoy a glass of wine. During the week our street can be quite busy, as we are near a school, but on weekends it’s quieter.
We tried to do much of the hard work ourselves, as that’s what we both love doing. It’s actually the things outside an actual renovation that are the hardest to maintain – sleeping enough, eating well, fitting in exercise. Cooking meals up in batches and freezing them to make sure we stayed healthy was a real help. Renovating as a couple can also take a toll on you personally, but we’ve found that it’s a matter of staying connected. And we enjoyed this project so much that it inspired us to start Etch Properties, which showcases places we’ve renovated and/or decorated.”
A shade sail over the rear deck was replaced with a new roof, creating a spacious outdoor room.
Painting over dark timber walls in white is an instant brightener.
Find a similar antler lamp on Etsy.