Even the best renovations can leave you wanting more, as the owners of this sweet cottage in the Brisbane suburb of Bardon discovered. Felicity and Sam had already completed a beautiful renovation when the arrival of their daughter Eloise prompted them to think bigger. “They realised the need for a living/dining and playroom space off the kitchen, where they spend most of their time,” explains Gabrielle Reinhardt, owner and creative director of Berkeley Interiors. So, Felicity and Sam engaged Gabrielle to improve the look and functionality of this hardworking area, and breathe new life into the home’s underused sleepout.
The project started gaining pace in early 2020 (just before Queensland’s first lockdown), with an uplifting palette setting the scene. “Felicity likes colours and patterns and was happy for me to use some of the beautiful textiles she had seen in my previous work,” says Gabrielle. “The bright, happy colour scheme brings a modern take on the more traditional-style furnishings, which works perfectly in the Queenslander home.”
It also worked a treat with Felicity’s other request: incorporating family heirlooms from her childhood in Hong Kong. “We incorporated the beautiful Chinese elm table in the entry and traditional Chinese chairs in the living area,” says Gabrielle. “I also added some chinoiserie styling with blue and white and traditional ginger jars to bring it all together.”
Aside from the COVID delays, the designer’s biggest challenge was creating a dining area and lounge in the limited space. But Gabrielle had a versatile solution with the Berkeley Interiors redesign. “The house already has a large living room downstairs and a big table on the deck,” she says. “So, we decided to create a small lounge area and a dining nook for four – intimate and perfect for family meals or when another couple comes for dinner when the kids are in bed.”
Ink-blue counter stools now offer a stylish seat at the kitchen bench while the child-friendly dining zone features white rattan chairs and a teak table from Sika Design. It’s a taste of the country that still feels right at home. “I always love to include some rattan pieces in my projects as they provide texture and warmth and a casual vibe,” notes Gabrielle, who also brought a warm mix of materials into the lounge.
A gorgeous sofa, designed by Diane Bergeron for Melbourne’s Arthur G Furniture, draws the eye here. “The sofa is a favourite of mine and shows that Felicity was brave enough to use pattern and colour,” says Gabrielle. “So often people play it safe, which is OK, but I feel this choice takes the room to the next level and makes it much more fun and interesting.”
Gabrielle’s signature style expertly blends custom pieces with designer finds to create spaces with a personal touch. “I don’t like to provide my clients with just off-the-shelf furnishings that they can purchase themselves,” she explains. “I like to offer them the opportunity to make their home their own and to create furnishings that bring colour and life to the room.” Case in point: the bespoke lampshades that bring vibrancy to the entry and the custom cushions in fabrics from Christopher Farr Cloth, Diane Bergeron and Anna Spiro Textiles.
Finding a solution for the sleepout was a cinch, as Gabrielle explains: “I find a sleepout makes the perfect playroom,” she says. “They are always so lovely, especially because of the dappled light, the French doors and that indoor-outdoor feeling.” This pretty and practical children’s retreat features a table and chairs by Melbourne-based Plyroom, and a ‘Puku’ ottoman from Coco Flip. “Berkeley Interiors always like to support local makers and suppliers where possible,” says Gabrielle, who also commissioned a canopy and comfy floor cushion in Georgia Macmillan’s ‘Dibba Dots’ fabric especially for little Eloise.
The ‘Rhythmic Tides’ wool rug from Claire Gaudion anchors the room, its ocean-inspired hues creating a harmonious flow with the neighbouring living space. The playroom’s completion was impeccably timed, with the family welcoming baby Audrey in July. “The playroom is getting a big workout,” shares Felicity. “It’s been a lifesaver, especially in the recent lockdown.”
Although the project’s six-month timeline was doubled while the team awaited final deliveries, the results were worth their patience. “Felicity was so trusting and ordered everything in the middle of the pandemic,” says Gabrielle. “She was very patient and understanding – and was happy knowing she would have these pieces for a long time.”
Felicity and Sam are equally complimentary, noting the “approachable and involved” style of their designer and her Berkeley Interiors team. “Gabrielle went above and beyond, sourcing different pieces of furniture and decor for us to choose from,” says Felicity. “Now the rooms flow much better and are much more practicable and functional. We have a lovely, liveable dining and living room as well as an amazing playroom!” The perfect finish.
Words: Nicole Deuble | Photography: Hannah Puechmarin