Oasis of cool A breezy retreat fit for a family of five
A STONE’S THROW FROM BRISBANE’S HEART, THIS ONCE-CRUMBLING QUEENSLANDER HAS BECOME A BREEZY RETREAT FOR A FAMILY OF FIVE
Design inspiration can come from myriad destinations and sources: for homeowners Kirsty and Pete, it was a visit to a favourite restaurant of theirs during a family holiday that inspired what was to become the masterstroke in the renovation of their old Queenslander. “We saw these huge glass windows at our favourite Italian restaurant, with great plants bringing the outdoors in,” says Kirsty. “We knew that’s what we wanted straight away.” Another point on the must-have list was enough space for their growing family, which includes Hugo, eight, Kai, seven, and baby Ivy, to enjoy life to the fullest, and a design that would also work for extended family gatherings. “Pete is one of seven children, and I’m one of three, so when our immediate families get together we have over 50 people,” says Kirsty. When Kirsty and Pete bought their inner-Brisbane home for its enviable corner position in 2014, they planned for Pete, a builder, to do the renovation himself, and called on architect Tim Stewart to help create their vision: a breezy, modern oasis in the city. Both the couple and Tim were keen to retain the essence of the home’s original design. “We didn’t want to remove the house, we wanted to celebrate what it was,” says Tim. “The Queenslander was always about lightweight construction, ventilation and semi-private outdoor spaces.” To make the most of the block, the old home was lifted and moved back to the south-west corner, allowing the living and entertaining areas to bask in a beautiful north-east aspect. Tim and Pete then set to work on building an expansive new ground floor centred around a stunning courtyard. Today, a soaring seven-metre ceiling extends overhead from the second floor, and enormous sliding rosewood and glass doors disappear to create a dramatic – and seamless – flow from the inside out. “Eighty per cent of our meals are eaten outside,” says Kirsty of the outdoor space. “We have the perfect climate, and beautiful breezes most of the year.” An old fig tree just beyond the fence line provides glorious dappled shade and a textured backdrop to the joyful outdoor areas, that are all intrinsically connected to the indoors. “We can see the kids if they are in the pool, doing their homework, playing with friends in the yard or watching television,” explains Kirsty. “It’s such an easy home to live in.” On what has become the rear of the home, the retractable windows the couple had coveted from their favourite eatery now help to create a gorgeous sanctuary. “The living room opens up on both sides to allow the breeze to flow through,” says Tim. “Having the garden against the edge of the room also helps to passively cool the space.” To extend the easy-living, tropical-yet-chic feel of the building to the interiors, Kirsty kept a vision board crammed with inspiration from magazines, Instagram and Pinterest. “I love clean, simple, neutral colours with plenty of greenery to soften,” she says of her elegantly understated decorating style. A palette of Dulux Lexicon in quarter strength and locally sourced timber plays seamlessly to the theme. “We used spotted gum throughout because we loved it against the stone and concrete features,” says Kirsty. “We felt it gave the most earthy, natural feel with the tropical gardens.” The greenery thrives in the Queensland sunshine, helped along by an irrigation system that automatically waters every second day, meaning Pete and Kirsty can spend less time gardening and more time with their children and the other people they cherish. “What we love about the home is having our family and friends visit,” says Kirsty. Which is exactly what a home is all about.
LIVING ROOM A swathe of spotted gum in a natural finish stretches from the front door to the open-plan living area (above), where a ‘Pure Vision’ fireplace from Real Flame provides heat as well as ambience in the home during cooler months. “Timber is a beautiful material and it has a wonderful ability to make a home feel warm and inviting,” says architect Tim Stewart. A black teak stool and pot plant in a ‘Seaside’ basket, both from Magnolia Lane, create a point of interest by the staircase. With its wraparound bench seat and low sofa from Nick Scali (picked up a few seasons ago), the living room is a drawcard for the whole family. An ‘Iko’ marble-topped coffee table from Jardan ties in stylistically with the nearby Talostone island benchtop.