Eileen and Ari un­der­took a com­plete ren­o­va­tion to trans­form their dated 1980s home into a to­tally mod­ern ex­am­ple of un­der­stated style.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

They built it 25 years ago; now Eileen and Ari have given their house in Bris­bane a com­pletely new Nordic look.


our first home in Bris­bane in 1989 – an open-plan, four-bed­room brick ve­neer place with a large out­door area for en­ter­tain­ing. More than 25 years on, it was long over­due for a facelift, so in 2015 we de­cided to un­der­take a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion. Ev­ery room needed work, so we de­cided to al­lo­cate part of the bud­get to hir­ing a pro­fes­sional in­te­rior de­signer – we chose Sarah McCarthy James from Green­wood’s Home, and it was fun work­ing with her to achieve our dream.

The new look

We like clean lines and an un­clut­tered look, and we wanted our home to be low-main­te­nance and stylish, so our brief was to cre­ate a Scan­di­na­vian­in­spired look and feel. The tiles in the kitchen, din­ing room and hall­way are the orig­i­nal tiles laid by my hus­band when the house was built. They are a light grey and have stood the test of time, so we didn’t re­place them. How­ever, we re­placed the old car­pet in the liv­ing room with an en­gi­neered Tas­ma­nian oak floor. White was the nat­u­ral colour choice for the walls, doors and skirt­ings. The arch­way be­tween the liv­ing and din­ing rooms was dark brick – paint­ing it trans­formed the room, mak­ing it much lighter and brighter. The neu­tral scheme makes it easy to change the look of any room just by adding ac­ces­sories.

Clever kitchen

The liv­ing room is my favourite space – it is the first room vis­i­tors see and it feels very cosy and wel­com­ing. My hobby is dec­o­rat­ing cakes for fam­ily and friends so the kitchen is prob­a­bly the most-used area. Also, when we’re en­ter­tain­ing I don’t feel cut off from ev­ery­one even if I’m in the kitchen. I love the colour and that it is light and airy. The draw­ers are self-open­ing and self-clos­ing and I only have to touch the draw­ers with the back of my hand

to open them. This is a god­send when I’m cook­ing and have dirty hands – it re­ally cuts down the clean­ing time!

Old meets new

It was im­por­tant to us that our new decor show­cased some of our ex­ist­ing fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing the din­ing room suite. It’s 25 years old but be­ing solid tim­ber, it’s still in very good con­di­tion and we didn’t want to re­place it. The orig­i­nal chairs were cov­ered in royal blue leather so we re­uphol­stered them with a grey-and-white-fleck fab­ric for a more mod­ern look that tied in with the new decor. It was a sim­i­lar sce­nario with some of our bed­room fur­ni­ture. I pre­fer solid tim­ber to ve­neer, and our motto is if you pur­chase tim­ber and treat it well, you will have it for a life­time. This set was pur­chased more than 15 years ago, and we just re­placed the han­dles to suit the de­sign scheme.

On dis­play

We have a col­lec­tion of hand-blown glass birds brought home from hol­i­days to Fin­land and given to us by fam­ily. An­other of my favourite pieces is the Tas­ma­nian oak dis­play case – it’s made of solid tim­ber and Sarah de­signed it specif­i­cally to dis­play my beau­ti­ful birds and other pieces. The art­works in the din­ing room are from De­signer Boys, cho­sen be­cause they have that sub­tle con­nec­tion to the glass bird col­lec­tion. They make quite a state­ment and

I love the rich blue and green colours. Work­ing with Sarah has given me the con­fi­dence to add a few low-cost pieces (I can’t re­sist a bar­gain!) – small things, like a mar­ble can­dle holder, a vase and a few plates. I’m not a big fan of clutter so I change what is out on dis­play. I have picked up a few things from Free­dom, and Kmart has some rea­son­ably priced items.

DIY de­tails

We are in the process of land­scap­ing the out­doors area. Ari is a com­pe­tent handy­man and can fix most things. Over the years, he has paved the drive­ways and built the per­gola.

With the re­cent reno he did all the in­te­rior paint­ing, plus we re-cov­ered the din­ing room chairs and I made the scat­ter cush­ion cov­ers. We en­joy work­ing to­gether on projects. It gives us the op­por­tu­nity to show­case our skills and also saves us a few dol­lars.”

Paint over brick to up­date an old-fash­ioned look. Scandi love

High ceil­ings, bright white walls and loads of nat­u­ral light set the per­fect scene for Eileen’s Nordic-themed decor scheme.

KITCHEN All white

The crisp kitchen is warmed with replica Al­var Aalto bar stools in Oak, from Matt Blatt.

DIN­ING New lease of life The 25-year-old din­ing suite looks as good as new with the ad­di­tion of mod­ern fab­ric.

LIV­ING ROOM Take a seat

Sofa from Cosh Liv­ing. Cof­fee ta­ble from The Mod­ern Fur­ni­ture Store.

LIV­ING ROOM Show off This dis­play unit is an orig­i­nal de­sign by Sarah McCarthyJames from Green­wood’s Home.

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