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!

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

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.


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.

OUT­DOOR See through From the front gate to the back door and out to the pool is one con­tin­u­ous line, just what Emily Jade wanted!

KITCHEN Cool class A Car­rara mar­ble is­land bench­top and Cae­sar­stone coun­ter­tops bring a sense of calm to a much-used space.

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.

KITCHEN/DIN­ING 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.

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