Home Tours

Before and after: A classic Queenslander transformed

Carefully undoing layers of mismatched finishes from bygone eras have restored this classic home's original beauty
Loading the player...

There was no doubt that this four-bed, 1916 classic Queenslander needed a little more love than the makeovers it had undergone in the 1950s and ’60s.

Fortunately a Brisbane family was up to the task of renovating the home, seeing through the dilapidated finishes and poor layout to the home’s original quality.

Who lives here? Amanda, a childcare centre director; her husband Jeff, an electrician; their children Hudson, four, Charlie, 13 months, and Poppy, four months; and dogs Lulu and Lenny.

Queenslander before renovations
The home prior to renovations. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Location: Inner southern suburbs of Brisbane.

Original property: A four-bedroom 1916 Queenslander, with modern additions.

Renovation time frame: Eighteen months, on and off.

Why this house? Amanda grew up next door, where her parents still live, and, as a child, was intrigued by the house, which had been given numerous “makeovers” in the 1950s and ’60s. 

Renovated Queenslander
The home’s exterior today with the new butterfly stairs. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

“When the property came up for sale, we were nervous about the size of the project, but when it didn’t sell at auction, we made an offer and it was accepted,” she says.

“We knew it would be a big job, especially with a baby and both working full-time, but we were excited by the challenge.”

Home exterior of the Queenslander
Amanda, Jeff and Poppy on the verandah of the renovated Queenslander. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)
Queenslander front door painted in Dulux Domino
A classic black and white scheme, delivered by Dulux Vivid White with trims in Dulux Domino Black. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

The works: The internal layout was reconfigured to allow for an enlarged kitchen, new bathroom and new main bedroom. The exteriors were totally overhauled, with timber stairs reinstated at the front and a deck added at the back.

The result: “Removing several internal walls has created a much more open-plan feel, with an abundance of natural light throughout,” says Amanda. “Stripping away dated finishes and restoring original features has also given back the home its architectural integrity.”

Renovated Queenslander rear deck and backyard
The back deck is the perfect spot to enjoy time outdoors. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Favourite aspect of the redesign? “The kitchen – because we chose every element from the drawer handles to the light fittings,” Amanda says. “It’s a favourite place for the family to congregate.”

Major changes included restumping the house, removing exterior bricks from the lower section and replacing them with timber battens in keeping with the home’s era.

Seating area on verandah of Queenslander
The front verandah is now home to a vintage bamboo lounge setting and vintage chest, both found at The Old Boathouse. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

The front deck was stripped back, tiles were removed and damaged timber and joists replaced. New timber cladding, balustrades and French doors, along with a set of external butterfly stairs, were added to give the exterior a beautiful new look.

Inside, several internal walls were taken out to create a much more open-plan feel, with the original carpets and sheeting stripped off to reveal beautiful timber floors and vertical joinery.

Queenslander entrance hallway
The crisp palette carries through to the interior via the pretty hallway. Both the leadlight windows and door are original. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

The layout was reconfigured to allow for a grand, Hamptons style kitchen.

Central to the new layout is a striking kitchen island bench topped with marble found on Gumtree, with beautiful cabinetry and industrial-style pendants.

Hamptons style kitchen
Cabinetry carcasses from Ikea were a wallet-friendly purchase in such a large space, finished with custom made Shaker-style door fronts and glass cabinets. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

French doors lead out to the new back deck, transforming the former casual eating area into a light, white dining room.

Philippe Starck for Kartell ‘Louis Ghost’ chairs surround a one-off dining table found at Verandah House, with a vintage sideboard from The Old Boathouse and chandelier from Beacon Lighting create a fascinating mix of old and new.

Hamptons style dining room
By opening up the walkway into the kitchen and adding French doors out to the new back deck, the former casual eating area has been transformed into a light, white dining room. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)
Sideboard with coffee table books on top
With a predominantly grey and white palette throughout the home, vignettes such as this corner of the dining room provide a pop of colour. A portrait of Frida Kahlo by artist Emma Gale – a birthday present from Jeff to Amanda – takes pride of place. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Removing the internal wall between the living and dining room has given a much more functional layout. 

A ‘Stockholm’ rug from Ikea almost stretches the width of the room and anchors a classic ‘Arianne’ Chesterfield from Early Settler and a pair of wingback chairs found at Botticelli House, while a black timber ‘Riviera’ cabinet from Town & Country Style houses collected treasures.

Hamptons style living room
A mirror insert, in place of a fireplace, within the ‘Richmond’ mantel from Early Settler, reflects the room, helping to create the illusion of more space, as does the wall colour: Dulux Vivid White. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

This serene retreat is a far cry from the original decor. The bedroom is furnished with French provincial-style pieces, including an upholstered bed, found on Ebay and dressed in a ‘Nyponros’ quilt cover from Ikea. 

It is layered in soft grey, blue and taupe tones that co-ordinate beautifully with the bedside lampshades and the walls, painted in Taubmans ‘Cliff Face’. 

Main bedroom
The walls in the main bedroom are painted in Taubmans ‘Cliff Face’. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)
Main bedroom French provincial style
“I love that we’ve used reclaimed materials and traditional-style pieces to restore the home’s classic Queenslander look and feel,” says Amanda. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

A ‘Lorne’ button-back armchair in Natural Linen, from Early Settler and curtains in ‘Waterfall Ruffle’ in Ivory from Urban Outfitters, along with a striking chandelier (try ‘French Provincial’ iron chandelier from Design Chandelier) add the finishing touches.

The nursery features an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, curios and books that complement a timeless palette of grey and white. 

Baby nursery with wicker furniture and Boston fern
(Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Sheer ruffle curtains not only modulate the natural light, but also add a lovely textural element.

With the existing wash zone demolished in order to extend the kitchen, the original sunroom was divided up and reconfigured to create a new, generously sized bathroom.

A clawfoot bath acts as a central focal point, while timber floors and vintage-style pieces, such as the Early Settler tapware and vanity add warmth. 

French provincial bathroom
Decorated with art prints, potted plants and timber dressers, the bathroom has the feel of a relaxed living area. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)
Claw-footed bath tub in French provincial style bathroom
The calm palette is made up by Taubmans Endure ‘Cliff Face’ on the walls and hard wearing Berger Jet Dry AquaTread Satin Paving Paint in white on the floors. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Related stories