Riza’s charming family home is full of creative ideas, vintage collections and adorable outdoor rooms. It’s the perfect summer house.
After living overseas in apartments, Riza and Cameron found the ideal family home: an old Queenslander on a large block.
“WE HAD BEEN LIVING in Asia and Africa for more than a decade when we decided to come home to Australia.
The majority of our time overseas was spent living in high-rise apartments with no gardens, trees or grass of our own to enjoy, so we longed for wide open spaces. But logistically, we both needed to live in a city for work purposes. I’m not from Brisbane but my husband is, so we started there. We thought a Queenslander on a big block would give us everything we needed.
We started out looking for a block that was at least 800 square metres – the house itself wasn’t as important, as originally we intended to build. Then we found our 115-year-old Queenslander, nicely renovated in traditional style. With its heritage charm and 1200 square metre block, we were smitten.
For the past 12 years we’ve been updating the house to suit our needs and style. We put in a new kitchen, which is now 10 years old, converted the front formal dining space into two extra bedrooms, added a bathroom, installed a pool and built a pool house complete with a barbeque, kitchen and shower/bathroom.
Cameron is a civil engineer and very analytical, whereas I’m driven by both aesthetics and the desire to efficiently use the structures we have rather than adding on more square meterage. We use every area of our house and block, creating spaces that support the outdoor lifestyle for which Queensland is so famous.
The conversion of our double carport into a pool house has basically given us a second dining space, kitchen, bathroom and living area, without changing the original footprint.
Living and working in south-east Asia and Africa has really influenced our style, so it tends towards Asian colonial. Cameron and I love the cool, relaxed luxury, dark timbers and exotic decor with an air of sophistication.
Ours is an eclectic collection of furniture and art from op shops and antique stores in Australia and overseas. Plants and palms are a big part of this look and we have them everywhere, indoors and on the decks. I have a cane addiction, and I love anything Chippendale or Blanc de Chine. I like people to feel comfortable in my house – I don’t want anyone to worry about where they sit or how. The vibe I want is relaxed luxury – special and beautiful, but not precious.
ROOM BY ROOM
We’ve tried to create seamless indooroutdoor spaces. The living room opens out with double French doors to the back deck, which has another sitting area surrounded by green foliage and hanging baskets. We often use these spaces as one extended living area, particularly in summer.
Another favourite space is the kitchen, where family and friends drink endless cups of tea and eat countless meals. I have a series of photographs I’ve taken over the years of my kids at the table. Each photo is shot the same way – the table is the same, but the kids have grown from babies to teens.
PIECES OF ME
Styling a home is about so much more than pretty cushions and flowers. It’s about creating a place you love to be, that tells people who you are without words. Your home is somewhere you should want to be.
Our home is lived in, every bit of it. The girls draw on the front deck, I work from my laptop in every room, we entertain out on the back deck and every evening we eat together in the kitchen. In a sentence, our home is somewhere we enjoy being and miss when we are away.”
Fresh face The exterior was recently refreshed with a coat of paint in Dulux Snowy Mountains.
Come on in A long hallway welcomes visitors and stretches to the living room at the home’s rear.
To the floor In striking contrast to the walls, the front deck is painted in Dulux Black Orbit.
In the family The table was from Riza’s grandmother. The marble top is new but the timber legs are original.
Touch of tradition A stove has been placed in this original alcove for more than 100 years.