With its petite proportions, stylish simplicity and classic white palette, you could be forgiven for thinking Leanne Ruegg’s cabin style home is somewhere in Scandinavia, rather than a leafy Sunshine Coast suburb. When it comes to a home revamp, Leanne Ruegg doesn’t waste any time adding her distinctive touch. Within months of buying her basic four bedroom Buderim home, which she shares with daughters Bronte (14) and Greer (11), Leanne had completely transformed the look and feel of the place both inside and out.
“The house was dated and had sat on the market for quite some time. Although it was far from my own style, I saw its underlying potential and as soon as we moved in I set about revamp it to resemble a Scandi summer house,” reflects Leanne. A devotee of Scandinavian design, characterised by clean lines, functionality, an abundance of white and classic timber elements, Leanne sought inspiration online via the work of Dutch stylists such as Emma Fexeus and Camilla Engman, Pinterest and real estate websites from Sweden and Norway.
Outside timber cladding was transformed with copious amounts of Dulux New Charcoal stain, while the original heritage green and burgundy trims were repainted in white to create a crisp contrast. Garden beds were planted out with a mix of white flowering perennials, a coop was built for the girls’ much-loved chickens, Noodles and Constance, and the outdoor area was extended to accommodate white timber furniture so the family could make the most of alfresco dining during summer.
“Rather than completely refit a new kitchen, I opted for a few upgrades which modernised it on a budget,” explains Leanne, who removed coloured laminate cabinetry in favour of classic white door and drawer fronts, and added new benchtops and modern matt black tapware. Standard downlights were also replaced with a mix of feature pendants, which add character to rooms and cast a lovely ambience at night. Other budget friendly DIY improvements included painting kitchen and bathroom walls to disguise garish feature tiles and replacing timber venetian blinds throughout with soft floor-length linen curtains.
“Sewing new curtains dramatically improved rooms as it allowed in a lot more natural light,” explains Leanne. With daughters Bronte and Greer sharing Leanne’s creative flair, rooms are imbued with personal touches, from pretty bunting suspended over the dining table, paint dipped straw bags and timber chopping boards, to framed artwork including self portraits by the girls and a quirky suspended wire mobile complete with fabric birds, cleverly made from an old crab-pot.
Originally from New Zealand before relocating to Australia six years ago, Leanne has decorated the rooms with a mix of new pieces (many from Ikea) and the rustic finds and treasures that the family brought over from Whakatan, a small coastal town on the north island. “When I love something I tend to collect it en masse,” says Leanne of her assortment of white crockery, glassware, vintage mirrors and various found objects beautifully grouped on shelves and displayed within glass cabinets, to create vignettes around the house. “Over the years I’ve accumulated lots of deer ornaments and I particularly love my 12 pointer venison antlers given to me by my dad, who used to be a live stock agent in New Zealand.”
Having created an incredibly liveable home stamped with style, Leanne reflects she’s happy with the improvements, yet is always looking for the next project to tackle. “There’s nothing I love more than pottering about at home on weekends working on something, whether it’s sewing, painting a piece of furniture or moving things around. I love that it’s always evolving.”
Words by Kylie Jackes. Photography by Anastasia Kariofyllidis.