Once belonging to some of Brisbane’s most famed and infamous characters, this classic Queenslander has been lovingly restored as a modern family home.
When Brisbane couple Jodie and Andrew were looking for a new home in the city’s north, they knew they wanted one close to the bay. “However, this old historic home a few suburbs inland kept popping up in my online searches,” says Jodie, “so I eventually went to view it.” The elegant classic Queenslander, built in 1883, was impressive with fifteen-foot ceilings, VJ walls and wide width pine floors. Other period features included ornate cornices and ceiling roses – and the original sash and bay windows. “As soon as I stepped inside, I knew I had to have it; it felt like home.”Andrew and Jodie’s children, Jesse and Sidonie, were also instantly smitten. “We’d lived in a big, old house before, in Montville, but the kids found it scary. This one they love.” The home also comes with a colourful history. “It was originally located in Annerley and at one stage belonged to the Cilento family. It was later relocated and belonged to a well-known local fraudster, who ended up in prison.”
Though the architectural details were exquisite and “the bones were spectacular,” the home still needed a good freshen up. “It was mustard and avocado,” laughs Jodie, who re-painted all the interior walls herself, predominantly in soft whites and greys – though son Jesse’s room received a coat of deep inky blue. “Some people like to go yachting for leisure; we like to renovate. We find it relaxing.” Aside from the painting, Jodie tackled the wallpapering and tiling while Andrew took care of the plumbing. Only the electrics and painting of the high ceilings were left to professionals.
In addition to a fresh lick of paint, new light fittings were installed and the bathrooms renovated. The design objective in the petite 1.2 x 2.5 metre en suite, originally part of the verandah, was to make it appear as spacious as possible.
To achieve this, Jodie kept the colour scheme light and added sizeable mirrors. She also opted for a slim pedestal basin and forwent closed cabinetry. “The windows also really help to open the room up and it’s lovely to have the bath overlooking the garden.”
Originally Jodie wanted to rip out the old kitchen and install a new $60,000 one, but as it was unaffordable at the time, the couple decided to do a quick interim makeover instead. The cabinetry and layout were retained, but a new sink was sourced from Ikea and timber bench tops were bought from their local hardware store. In an inspired design decision, Jodie added bold black and white wallpaper from Porter’s Paints.
“Though this was supposed to be a short term solution, we’ve ended up really loving the kitchen, so it might stay.” Being handy with a paintbrush, Jodie tackled her vintage and pre-loved furniture with as much enthusiasm as her walls. “The side table in the hallway, in particular, gets updated whenever the mood takes.” However, there is one job that hasn’t yet been tackled. “I really want to Japan Black the floors, but Andrew’s not keen, so they’ll probably stay as they are.” Even Sidonie’s cubby house, which was found on Gumtree, received an overhaul. “It was so heavy as it was built from solid hardwood by an old man many years ago and we had to pull it apart to transport and then put it back together.” Once it was up again, it was decorated similarly to daughter Sidonie’s bedroom, right down to the Laura Ashley wallpaper and vintage linen.
In the living areas, the ‘soft yet vibrant’ colour palette was inspired by Jodie’s beloved collection of Norman Lindsay paintings, with pretty Bluebellgray cushions layered on linen sofas.
However, Jodie went for a dramatic charcoal in the open plan library, and filled it with unexpected touches such as the rows of ornate silver punch bowls, which she bought from Old Government House “back in my wedding planner days.” More recently, Jodie has opened a home/ wares and gift store, Hello Duckie, in Sandgate. “People come to my house and love the pieces I’ve chosen and wonder where they can get them, so I decided to find a little shop and fill it with all the things I love. Besides, with both the children in school, it was time to create again.”
Photography by John Downs.