1 Righting some wrongs
Gail says the house, built around 1910, had been “butchered” by various owners making ad hoc alterations – an art deco fireplace had been installed in a bedroom, a section of the hallway had been divided off to create a tiny bedroom and doorways had been punched into walls to create a warren of odd little spaces. So when the couple moved in they spent the first few years undoing earlier renovations. Making the decision to peel dark wooden panelling off the walls was difficult but Gail and Cory were right to trust their instincts. “As soon as it came away, we realised it wasn’t original. Removing the panels really lightened the interior,” says Gail.
She and Cory brought in builders for the major construction work but took on all the redecorating, with the help of Gail’s dad, a highly capable jack-of-all-trades.
Cory didn’t initially share Gail’s love of character villas, preferring a more contemporary style of home. This disparity in taste has influenced many of the interior design decisions as Gail has strived to retain the integrity and features of the old home while providing the amenities and benefits of a modern dwelling. “I’ve always tried to show Cory that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds with a modern interior and the special style and features of the original,” she says.
She has gone to great lengths to reinstate wooden scrolls and ceiling roses, match replacement doors and replicate skirting and architraves; she has even added an archway to the hall. The original bathroom has been converted to an ensuite and a small annexe in the hallway has been made into a walk-in robe for the master bedroom. Heat pumps warm the high-ceilinged rooms.
KITCHEN, LIVING, HALLWAY In the light, bright interior contemporary artwork and furniture sit alongside cherished treasures. Shoe lasts on a bench in the hallway were found in the UK during Gail’s travels.