The forever home of Emily Jade O’Keeffe and husband Gerard on Queensland’s Gold Coast reflects her theatrical background – and her favourite colour, pink!
Check out Emily Jade O’Keeffe‘s house on the Gold Coast – it’s a show stopper! And it features her favourite colour, pink.
“I’VE ALWAYS LOVED that 1940s Hollywood glam style. My dad was an amateur actor and I have a background in the performing arts, so I grew up around the stage. I wanted to bring a bit of that old-world glamour into my home. The richness of that era is visible in our velvet sofas, crystal-cut vases and ornaments, chandeliers, and the bold colours throughout our house.
Building is a bit of a passion for my husband Gerard and me. While living and working in Brisbane, we constructed and decorated two houses. Then I got a job in radio on the Gold Coast, so we looked for a block near the coast. Land here is more affordable than in Brisbane and we found a completely flat 1300sqm block – luxury – in a quiet street. We got plans drawn up to renovate the existing ’70s brick dwelling but it worked out to be more expensive than to knock down and rebuild.
Although we roughly followed the Hamptons-style weatherboard design of our previous houses, we had a lot more space to spread this house out. But we used the same ideas, fixtures, tiles and floors, which made the whole process a bit quicker and easier.
At the very heart of our home is the Hamptons-style kitchen. I find it warm and comfortable, and it’s probably my favourite room in the house. However in the initial plans the layout was a bit different and the kitchen was allocated a very large space. I’m sure my architect thought I was crazy because I wanted it so big with miles of bench space and an island bench as big as a cricket pitch. But once the slab was laid I realised the kitchen space was enormous, so we halved it and pushed the kitchen to the side. This left a space to fill, hence the smaller kitchen table (which I bought second-hand). It was a happy mistake as the dining table, a few metres away, is far too big for my little family of three, so we use it for entertaining and eat cosily at the round table.
We chose Shaker-style doors to fit the theme and our large island bench, with statement pendant lights because I wanted a nice big feature to pull it all together. The bench is so much more than a place for food prep – it’s somewhere to sit and chat, it looks directly outside to the backyard so friends can come over and talk to me while I cook, and I also have a lovely view of the kids playing.
SAY IT WITH PINK
My husband stays well and truly out of the design process! Instead, I worked with designer Lauren Pearse from Rylo Interiors (www.rylo.com.au) on the decor. I just can’t get enough of pink; the theme for my 21st birthday was to wear pink – even my dad and my granddad did! Everyone who knows me knows it’s my favourite colour and so I can’t do a house without it. Pink is everywhere in my home, but my personal favourite is the pair of hot pink chairs in the lounge room, created by Rylo Interiors.
Lauren also suggested the photo wall that accompanies our staircase. I love photography and basically, if I’m not in the photo, then I probably took it! I also love to support local artists, and in this home I feature mainly three. Kendall Perkins is a Sunshine Coast artist who has been a friend for over 15 years, Brisbane artist Sarah Hickey used to be a high school art teacher but now has a very successful career selling her art, and CJ Hendry is also a Brisbane artist who now lives in New York. My husband started following her on Instagram, and we’ve tracked down some of her artwork for birthdays.
I really think we won’t ever want to move out of this house. It’s perfect for us and, since we bought it, land values have changed quite a lot on the coast. The street is divine – so private and peaceful – and all our neighbours are amazing. We’re really happy with how the house turned out and appreciate it because we know exactly what went into it! And I’m also proud I can tell my daughter that we planned and built this house, and tried to create a home that in 20 years she’ll still love to live in.
Statement pendant lights balance the huge island bench. Centre court The large island bench becomes a breakfast bar with the help of black stools from Café Culture.
From the front gate to the back door and out to the pool is one continuous line, just what Emily Jade wanted!
A Carrara marble island benchtop and Caesarstone countertops bring a sense of calm to a much-used space.
Family and friends With cosy nooks and space to seat a crowd or cosy trio, this open-plan area is big on versatility and great for entertaining.