Home Tours

How classic American style revived this Brisbane Queenslander

Taking inspiration from time spent living in the US, a close family of three are bringing the American dream back home to Brisbane.
An American-style living area with patterned blue sofas, a fireplace and white wall panelling.Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown

Things didn’t bode well for this six-bedroom Queenslander in Brisbane when owners Teresa and Dale first set eyes on it. It felt too big for the couple and their now 12-year-old daughter Bennett, yet there was also minimal storage, the interiors were dated and the bathrooms, laundry and kitchen were cramped and dysfunctional. “For a really big house, we felt there were very few areas that suited us and how we lived,” says Teresa.

A classic Queenslander house with a white fretwork exterior.
The exterior features custom timber fretwork in the balustrades and weatherboard cladding painted Dulux Mount Buller. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Thankfully, after living overseas, most recently in Tennessee in the US, the location close to family and lure of the relaxed Queensland lifestyle got them across the line. Teresa reached out to Lauren Mahoney of Sydney firm Studio Trio, who had worked on a previous home of theirs. As Teresa explains, “I wanted a designer who would collaborate with me and provide guidance and direction.”

An entrance hall with white wall panels, a blue console and open shelves.
Teresa and Dale’s family home is a tale of two countries; a classic Queenslander with an all-American red, white and blue palette. A console in the front entrance hall is covered with Schumacher ‘Tigris’ fabric with a Kate Roebuck artwork, ‘Two Blue Circles’, above. Laura Kincade sconces were customised with Chintz White shades from Bloomingdales Lighting. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Who lives here?

Teresa and Dale, daughter Bennett, 12, and two five-month-old Standard Poodle puppies, Dixie & Darcy.
Where? A two-storey, six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in an inner-city suburb of Brisbane, Qld.
Time frame? Renovations ran over the course of four years, from 2019 until 2023.
The dream? To make an enormous house feel like home, with every room tailored to a small family’s needs and lifestyle.
Approach: Every inch of this home has been renovated with all new fixtures, finishes and furniture.
Must haves: Rooms that work for a family, with breakout spaces, easy-care surfaces and classic, American-inspired interiors.
Wishlist: Soft furnishings featuring colourful prints and shades; cosy living spaces; a well-stocked wine cellar.
Why is this your dream home? “It’s a home that feels like us; it suits our lifestyle. It’s perfect for our little family of three, but is also fun for when we want to have a crowd of friends here,” says Teresa.

A foyer with a custom red and white mirror and cane console.
In the lower foyer, a custom ‘Lyford II’ mirror from Oomph Home features a red shellac paint finish and rattan inlay. “We had it made in America and shipped here,” says Lauren. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Together, the pair gave the whole home an extensive renovation, with every room completely reimagined to reflect the family’s tastes and casual lifestyle. Floors, lighting, paintwork, fixtures, furniture, artworks, window treatments – everything was new and followed Teresa’s favoured American-classic aesthetic, from chrome hardware to Ralph Lauren light fittings and a bold, colourful palette of navy, red and white. “Of all the homes I have worked on over the years, this one is something I personally love and would live in myself,” says Lauren.

A mudroom with navy joinery and a floral bench.
The mudroom has joinery in Dulux Pacific Line and a bench seat covered with Schumacher ‘Chiang Mai’ fabric in Aquamarine. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

A series of breakout spaces means Teresa and Dale can relax upstairs while Bennett hangs out with her friends down below. “It’s now a home we are proud of, that allows us to live how we want,” Teresa adds.

A white rumpus room with a table, open shelves and a foosball table.
A rumpus area is the perfect hangout space for Bennett and her friends, and includes a study nook with a pinboard in Paniola red, light blue and navy multicoloured fabric from Anna Spiro Textiles and an ‘RS2’ foosball table from Ajar. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Due to the specific nature of some of her requested light fittings, fabrics or wallpapers, Teresa learnt to be patient. “I would rather delay finishing an area until I could get something I loved, often from the US, than compromise with something that was available ASAP,” she says. An example of this are the artworks in the entrance hall and rumpus, which were commissioned from Kate Roebuck, a Tennessee artist that she and Dale had long admired. “Lauren made the process easy, sending paint and fabric samples to Kate to ensure the paintings suited our home.”

Lessons learnt

Living area

“This is my favourite room,” says Lauren. “The furnishings are cheeky and classic but modern, starting with the Brunschwig & Fils ‘Les Touches’ wallpaper from Elliott Clarke either side of the fireplace, which just makes the space.” She added two ‘Miami’ chairs and an ottoman from Montique Exclusive Furniture with custom covers in Ralph Lauren ‘Eden Roc Stripe’ and ‘La Garoupe’ fabrics from Icon Radford.

An American-style living area with patterned blue sofas, a fireplace and white wall panelling.
The ‘Mosquito’ bench (discontinued) is from Boyd Blue. A Stanton print from Provincial Home Living hangs above the fireplace. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)


The kitchen received a complete makeover, including all new joinery by Wyer + Craw painted Dulux Vivid White and Dulux Madigan for the island. Continuing the crisp white palette, the benchtop perfectly complements a marble mosaic splashback from Elite Bathware & Tiles. A trio of Thomas O’Brien ‘Gale’ pendants from Visual Comfort & Co draw the eye upwards. Even the essentials were given a stylish touch, with a French farmhouse sink from Belfast Sinks and Perrin & Rowe ‘Ionian’ tapware from The English Tapware Company.

A white classic-style kitchen with shaker cabinets, cane stools, and chevron tiles.
‘Tribeca’ bar stools are from Lincoln Brooks. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

“I had definite thoughts about decor and how our family wanted to live. I didn’t want to see someone else’s ‘signature’ or ideas everywhere in my home.”

– Teresa
A white, blue and red accented banquette leading to the stairwell.
Casual meals are enjoyed on the banquette with white vinyl back cushions and cherry red leather straps from Pelle Leathers. The table, designed by Studio Trio, has legs in Dulux Prestige Blue. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Main bedroom

In the main bedroom, the bedhead, pelmets and cushions have all been covered in Schumacher ‘Sinhala’ linen in Sky. The lamp from Circle of Light picks up on the same hues.

Doors opening into the main bedroom with blue floral accent decor.
A ‘Sunburst’ mirror from Cromwell is on the wall while a European Kassala sisal rug from International Floorcoverings adds texture. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Teresa says Lauren was an amazing support throughout the renovating process. Colour and pattern were important inclusions for Teresa, with blue and white no-brainer selections. “Then Lauren suggested picking a pop of colour, and there were so many gorgeous deep red Ralph Lauren fabrics, so another decision fell into place,” she shares. Another pearl of wisdom Teresa learnt from Lauren: “Everything in a room should be beautiful, but doesn’t need to shout, ‘Look at me’. It results in rooms that are eye-catching but also restful,” says Teresa.

Interior design tip

Bennett’s bedroom

“Bennett’s bedroom is perfectly pretty,” says Lauren of the space, with its walls papered with ‘Clementine’ wallpaper in Indienne from Sanderson, and the area above the picture rails painted Dulux Blossom Time.

A children's bedroom with floral wallpaper and a custom draping curtain.
A custom bedhead is covered with Boyac ‘Normandy’ linen in Sorbet. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

“It’s a family home. As much as it is beautiful, in so many ways it’s also practical. Lauren has helped me create a home that is classically inspired and layered.”

– Teresa
A pink children's bedroom with floral wallpaper, a window seat and vintage style drawers.
An Annie Selke rug from Winton House, commissioned Helen Church watercolours and a Chapman & Myers ‘Diego’ lantern from Visual Comfort & Co with custom shades by Studio Trio continue the pink scheme. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)


Dale’s study is a pleasure to work in, with the ‘Campaign’ desk and ‘Fullerton’ chair from Xavier Furniture, joinery painted with Dulux Blue Fantastic and the Anna French ‘Kahna’ wallpaper in Red from Thibaut.

A classic navy style study with open shelving and red tiger wallpaper.
The ‘Campaign’ desk and ‘Fullerton’ chair from Xavier Furniture. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Bathroom and powder room

Wyer + Craw made the custom vanity in the bathroom, with joinery in Dulux Terrace White.

A classic bathroom with a shaker style vanity and blue wallpaper.
The custom vanity by Wyer + Craw. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Ralph Lauren ‘Marlowe Floral’ wallpaper from Icon Radford features in the powder room, where a Serena & Lily mirror, Chapman & Myers ‘Boston’ loop-arm wall lights from Visual Comfort & Co and an artwork by Kayce Hughes deliver wow moments.

A classic-style powder room with a pedestal basin and blue floral wallpaper.
The striking Ralph Lauren ‘Marlowe Floral’ wallpaper from Icon Radford. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)


Anna French ‘Cairo’ wallpaper, a French farmhouse sink from Belfast Sinks and a Dutch door ensure the laundry is a pleasing space. All joinery is painted Dulux Vivid White.

A laundry room with blue patterned wallpaper and a farm-style door.
Honed Carrara and Thassos basketweave mosaics from Surface Gallery line the floors. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)
A laundry room with blue wallpaper, shaker cabinets and farm-style sink.
Tiles from Elite Bathware & Tiles feature on the splashback. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Outdoor entertaining

“The lower deck barbecue area is such a lovely place to sit,” says Lauren. Blackbutt decking from Queensland Timber Flooring is painted Dulux Vivid White, acting as a fresh base for the Serena & Lily outdoor table, and ‘Portofino’ outdoor chairs from Xavier Furniture.

A classic, all-white barbeque deck area with a table, patterned kitchenette tiling and slatted blinds.
Portuguese feature tiles from Old World Tiles contrast the sleek Beefeater Signature ProLine barbecue from Winning Appliances. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Pool area

The family relax poolside on Trousdale cast aluminium chaise lounges, with shade provided by Tuuci ‘Ocean Master’ Roman valance umbrellas.

The pool area with loungers and black parasols.
Tuuci ‘Ocean Master’ Roman valance umbrellas add a classic touch. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

One of the biggest learnings – for both Teresa and Lauren – was that long distance collaborations can most certainly work. “I connected with the best trades in Brisbane and frequently visited the site to measure the spaces and check in with Teresa and her family,” says Lauren. Going above and beyond was all part of the process in creating Teresa’s forever home.

A wine cellar with navy patterned wallpaper and mirrored shelving.
The wine cellar is a special place to visit with its floor-to-ceiling wine racks, Vintec wine fridges, honed granite benchtop and walls papered with Stroheim ‘Cathay Pastora’ in Indigo. (Photography: Tim Salisbury / Styling: Jackie Brown)

Reflects Lauren, “Dream homes to me are not just about the beautiful things you put inside the home, they’re about the people who live there and the experiences you have together to get to the end game.”

Interior design: Lauren Mahoney, Studio Trio, studiotrio.com.au, @_studio_trio.

Architect: Brad Cross, Jazz Designs, jazzdesigns.com.au.

Builder: Nick Roberts, iBuild Constructions, ibuildqld.com.au.

Joinery and stonework: Wyer + Craw, wyercraw.com.au.


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