An eclectic renovated cottage in Paddington

The renovation of this Paddington cottage combines both shopfront and home for one savvy couple, affording them the perfect work/life balance. Words + Styling: Tahn Scoon / Photography: John Downs

Jewels NY storefront Paddington

Leith Anderson Reid and husband, Philip, shared their home with us in the Summer issue of QH. They bought the high-set cottage in August 2010 and immediately started renovating. The idea was to create two stores at the front, one to house Leith’s jewellery store, JewelsNY, and the other to rent out to generate revenue. The renovated cottage itself would extend out the back, and be adorned with all the charm and eclectic opulence of the couple’s treasured collections.

Leith had been operating her jewellery store on Paddington’s iconic La Trobe Terrace for four years “but the rent was killing us.” As empty nesters, Leith and her husband, Philip, who works in media sales, were considering downsizing from their spacious suburban home, so hit upon the idea of buying into the strip. “It was so frustrating, though, as contract after contract fell through. Then one day I was standing outside the store and asked one of the locals walking past if she knew of anyone selling. She said no – but then she came back a couple of days later and asked if we’d like to buy her house. It was an old colonial cottage right on the terrace, and we said yes straight away.”

Dogs at the front door

A layered lounge

With the help of their son, Joey, who now owns a construction company, Creative Construction Australia, the renovated cottage was eventually finished, and the couple moved out of the shop and into their newly extended home. The décor is pure Leith; theatrical and luxe, but one-hundred percent relaxed at the same time. Dogs pad around the house and drape themselves decorously over antique furniture. Genuine antiques sit beside less expensive tongue-in-cheek finds, and animal motifs take pride of place.

“My philosophy is ‘bold is beautiful’. I’m not timid about decorating with colour,” says Leith, who rather daringly painted her walls out in matte black. “The thing is, it is only two walls as we have covered one in antique mirror and the other is all bi-fold. And we have so much natural light coming in from the back that the room can take it.”

Pedestal dining table

Dark and moody decor

Eclectic treasures birdhouse

The kitchen is unique, to say the least.  “The idea was for it not to look like a kitchen. We’re all foodies, and I love to cook, so even though the kitchen is in the middle of the living area, it looks more like a welcoming table laden with food and wine – not a utilitarian space.”

Though Leith had some initial reservations about living in the inner-city, “I’m an outdoor girl at heart,” they are now both utterly enamoured with the lifestyle. “You can step out your front door and have your choice of a quirky café, a five-star restaurant or Suncorp Stadium – all within walking distance,” says Philip, “but best of all, it’s a tight-knit community. The only downside is too much coffee on tap!”

Black and timber kitchen

Eclectic home style

Dark decor in the bedroom Round bath tub

Eclectic bathroom design