Fi­esta Time

A north-Bris­bane fam­ily have poured heart and soul into their 1933 Span­ish-style home, just made for en­ter­tain­ing.

Australian House & Garden - - THE CHRISTMAS ISSUE DECEMBER - STORY Deb­o­rah Grant | STYLING Jacqueline Kay­tar | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Cathy Schusler

A ren­o­vated Span­ish Mission-style home in Bris­bane with a cool, cre­ative vibe.

Some peo­ple might baulk at the thought of a three-day Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion. Not this Bris­bane clan, who gather to­gether every year for a mega fam­ily event. It in­volves the five mem­bers who live at Ji­laine – An­gus Craig and Kirsti Simp­son and her three daugh­ters – host­ing Kirsti’s three sis­ters and their fam­i­lies (each with a hus­band and three chil­dren) plus Grand ad in the sprawl­ing fourbed­room Span­ish Mission-style home. The cousins com­man­deer the pool and al­most all their ac­tiv­i­ties are water-based.

Kirsti bought the house in 2006 af­ter it had been on the mar­ket for some time. “It wasn’t lived in and felt re­ally mys­te­ri­ous,” she says. “We lived one block down on the same cor­ner and there was some­thing crazy-beau­ti­ful about it that was re­ally ap­peal­ing.” De­spite the ivy grow­ing up to the roof and in the gut­ters, they moved into the home and re­tained as many of its 193Os fea­tures as pos­si­ble. They con­tin­ued the cre­ative vibe by al­low­ing Mathilda, 15, Lucia, 13, and An­jel­ica, eight, the lux­ury of paint­ing the down stairs walls them­selves and as­sem­bling cre­ative lit­tle col­lec­tions of ob­jects in some of its cor­ners.

Four years ago, the cou­ple called in ar­chi­tects Twohill and James to cre­ate a new main bed­room and below that, a shady pav­il­ion next to the pool. They also added a pool house and a one-room stu­dio to ac­com­mo­date guests. As it stands

‘We have a fam­ily din­ner in the pav­il­ion every night so it feels like the cen­tre of our world.’ Kirsti Simp­son, owner

now, the main dwelling is on three lev­els with three bed­rooms. Kirsti is a com­mer­cial in­te­rior de­signer and uni­ver­sity lec­turer and has filled it with her favourite fur­ni­ture from Space, Dedece and Liv­ing Edge, along with an im­pres­sive art col­lec­tion and fam­ily pieces.

Al­most all the en­ter­tain­ing hap­pens around the pool, which was built in the mid-1960s and re­fur­bished in 2014. The pav­il­ion is level with the kitchen and has an out­door fire­place that al­lows it to be used in sum­mer or win­ter.

“This is one of the most used ar­eas of the house ,” says Kirsti. At Christ­mas, the kids make all sorts of dec­o­ra­tions and string them up with spe­cial pieces from their moth­ers’ child­hood. They also write fes­tive mes­sages on the front gate in chalk. Mean­while, the adults have a spe­cial cock­tail – last year it was a flo­ral-in­fused Ink Dry Gin & Tonic – and An­gus cooks an or­ganic turkey ac­cord­ing to a fam­ily recipe.

Ev­ery­one loves the feel­ing of gen­eros­ity the house con­veys. “It has a com­mu­nity feel; we have gates be­tween the yards in both direc­tions and have made life­long friends through those con­nec­tions,” says Kirsti. “Only one fam­ily owned Ji­laine be­fore us. They built it, then two more gen­er­a­tions lived here. That re­ally ap­peals to me, espe­cially the idea of us do­ing the same.” Twohill and James, For­ti­tude Val­ley, Queensland; (07) 3257 0700 or twohil­land­

‘We’ve had some fab­u­lous par­ties and won­der­ful cel­e­bra­tions here. Christ­mas is a time for ev­ery­one to make this house theirs.’ Kirsti

DESSERT Pavlova is a Christ­mas favourite for the fam­ily. This one is a shell from Jo­ce­lyn’s Pro­vi­sions, crowned with vanilla cream and rasp­ber­ries. Be­hind is pain d’épice, cov­ered in white choco­late like snowflakes. Smart buy: ‘Gabriella’ cake stand (with pavlova), $69, Pot­tery Barn. KITCHEN In 2006, Kirsti and An­gus fell in love with the orig­i­nal col­umns, one of which is framed in the new kitchen’s door­way. The brick-shaped white tiles ref­er­ence the brick paving out­side. Black-stained oak cabinetry and stain­less-steel bench­tops. Kartell ‘GE Metal­lic’ pen­dant light, Space. The A let­ters above the door were ar­ranged by An­jel­ica.

LIV­ING ROOM A half-wreath made from olive-leaf fo­liage (some painted sil­ver) and bougainvil­lea gives a fes­tive feel to this mag­i­cal white space. The clay stars are hand­made and painted white. Eero Saari­nen ‘Tulip’ ta­bles from Dedece. The art­works on the ta­ble are by Krista Berga (the large sculp­tures, plus the works on the dis­play shelf at left), Michael Zavros (rose) and Lyn­dal Mi­lani (foe­tus). Pho­tographs by Eu­gene Tan. TA­BLE DE­TAIL Kirsti says the cut­lery is a “ran­dom col­lec­tion of sil­ver from an­tique stores”. Iit­tala Cham­pagne glasses, Make. NIB­BLES Pop­corn and sweet treats fill a ta­ble in the liv­ing room. Bowl and wine bucket, Pot­tery Barn.

‘There is some­thing crazy-beau­ti­ful about this house that makes it re­ally ap­peal­ing. We love liv­ing here.’ Kirsti

MAG­NO­LIA GAR­DEN The girls decorate the Mag­no­lia gran­di­flora tree through­out the year, for all sorts of rea­sons. This Christ­mas has a sil­ver and red theme. All the presents are wrapped in an as­sort­ment of sil­ver wrap and nat­u­ral kraft pa­pers, one with foiled-sil­ver spots. Each is tied with nat­u­ral twine and dec­o­rated with olive leaf and bougainvil­lea, as per the front-door wreath and gar­lands through­out. Lean­ing over the wall is a bird-at­tract­ing Drunken Par­rot Tree. POOL HOUSE In 2013, the fam­ily ren­o­vated the pool and added the shade struc­ture so they could spend more time here in sum­mer. Four ar­tic­u­lated seat backs line the rear. Climb­ing ivy and star jas­mine grow over the per­gola. Per­sian cush­ions, from the fam­ily col­lec­tion. Grey cush­ions, Wo­ven Im­age. Al­var Aalto ‘Stool 60’, Ani­bou. TER­RACE Friends gifted the deckchairs, which came from an out­door cin­ema. “The num­bers are still vis­i­ble on the sides,” says Kirsti. Ter­ra­cotta pots look great with the red roof tiles and brick pavers. Chi­nese ce­ramic (sil­ver) ta­ble. Tim­ber ta­bles made by a friend. For Where to Buy, see page 212.

Fam­ily fes­tiv­i­ties Every year the Simp­son/Craigs and their large ex­tended fam­ily gather for Christ­mas lunch in the pav­il­ion. This year it’s dec­o­rated with a flo­ral canopy made from fresh bougainvil­lea at­tached to a piece of drift­wood with twine and hung from ex­ist­ing hooks in the ceil­ing. “We also put up dec­o­ra­tions my sis­ters and I made when we were chil­dren,” says Kirsti. “Plus hand­made ones the girls cre­ate every year. It does get a bit eclec­tic.”

PAV­IL­ION An­gus and Kirsti with (from left) An­jel­ica, Mathilda and Lucia. ‘Basix’ ta­ble run­ner in Tem­pest and ‘Floca’ table­cloth in Ayr­ton, both Hale Mer­can­tile Co. Plates and bowls hand­made by Luna Ceram­ics. Verner Pan­ton chairs. Smart buy: ‘Basix’ Euro­pean linen nap­kins in Tem­pest, $22 each, Hale Mer­can­tile Co.

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