Gold Coast couple Jess and James are no strangers to dual living. When the couple met in 2011 Jess had just embarked on a project with her parents, Louise and Warwick, to build a pair of duplexes where they’d live alongside each other. When it was completed, James moved in too. Seven years later, when the couple began planning their own family, they snapped up a dream block of land surrounded by greenery away from the Gold Coast hustle and bustle where they envisaged their kids could run amok.
Who lives here? Jess, a clinical nurse; James, JT Building Projects residential builder; their children Harry, six, Milly, three; Jess’ parents Louise and Warwick.
What’s your favourite spot? James: “Spending afternoons with the kids in the pool or sitting on the patio couches with Jess and a cold beer.”
What was the biggest splurge? Jess: “The front door. We wanted to do the style of the home justice at the entrance, something special in timber.
Why do you enjoy living here? Jess: “The location – it is central on the Gold Coast but we have so much space and trees around and it’s a great home to bring extended family together.”
With James’ skills as a professional builder and his own construction company, the couple embraced the opportunity to design and create a unique home on the site, which ticked myriad boxes. “Cost-wise, my parents were looking to get rid of their mortgage and we were looking to minimise our cost, so there were benefits in creating a dual-living home for all of us,” explains Jess. With the addition of son Harry and daughter Milly on the way, having grandparents close by was also advantageous.
Key to a successful design was thorough planning to ensure everyone’s needs were met in the immediate and long-term future. “Mum and Dad were downsizing so we worked out how much space they’d need to be self-contained, comfortable and for privacy, our indoor and outdoor living spaces weren’t adjoined,” says Jess. “It allows us to feel separate, but easily come together whenever we choose.”
“I just love blue in any shade as it reminds me of the ocean.”Jess, homeowner
Finishing touches in the kitchen included a Hamptons Floating Wall Clock from Temple & Webster, a couple of charming ‘Portsea’ exterior wall bracket lights from Beacon Lighting. A commissioned piece of art by local Gold Coast artist Tania Blanchard ties the kitchen with the dining, which can accommodate large extended family get-togethers around the ‘Clerissa’ dining table surrounded by ‘Cafe’ chairs, from The Beach Furniture, anchored with a ‘Chirala’ rug in Silver from Provincial Home Living.
Inspired by overseas travels, the exterior was influenced by the couple’s love of US coastal farmhouse styles, complete with a gable roofline and dormer windows. Inside, the farmhouse style flows through their kitchen, living and dining areas, affectionately referred to as the barn, where VJ panelling and wide timber floorboards are against a backdrop of fresh white walls teamed with soaring ceilings, which flood the space in lots of natural light.
“Being a carpenter, James has a passion for all things timber which we incorporated wherever possible,” reflects Jess, who enjoyed layering the fresh palette with bold navy-blue accents, decorative feature tiles and pretty pops of pink and green, which echoes the leafy outlook from every window.
An epic build to complete in eight months, James was motivated to expedite the process with the family moving in just before Milly was born in 2019. Over the last three years, the family have enjoyed further tailoring the home with new furniture and art, while Jess’ parents have relished the chance to landscape the sizeable property and spend plenty of time with their grandkids. The internal door, which separates the two dwellings, is like a revolving door for the kids. “Milly likes helping Lolly, my mum, in the kitchen, Harry likes drawing and will take his masterpieces to them to pop up on their walls and my dad loves to take them down to a swing we have,” says Jess. “It truly is our dream home, it has everything we need, the kids need, my parents need and we love it.”
The living area that also serves as a play room, which can be cleverly screened off from the living area with double barn doors. Custom integrated joinery runs along the window and is colour matched to walls in Dulux Lexicon quarter. A large ‘Noor’ traditional rug in Ivory and Blue Distressed from Miss Amara and a mix of Walter G cushions atop the ‘Zara Petite’ modular sofa in Cali Denim from Plush, add a splash of pattern. One of the most recent additions is a ‘Wategos’ coffee table from The Beach Furniture topped with vases from Adairs and Marmoset Found, which hold faux florals from Provincial Home Living and fresh foliage from the garden.
“It’s one of my favourite places to relax, in the bath looking through the window at the setting sun”Jess, Homeowner
Perfect for their current stage in life and beyond, the couple foresee the kids’ playroom morphing into a study and have already converted a section of the patio into an indoor gym. “Being in the trade, we never feel stuck with what we have and with James’ skills we’ll continue to make changes to keep our home new, fresh looking and fun. It also means we’ll probably be happy here forever,” she adds.
With six people living in the home, it made sense to invest in a modular sofa for when the family came together. Not only does it make it easier to chat, it also offers more flexibility and the option to move sections around when you feel like reinvigorating your space. Plus, the real bonus is that it actually gives you more seats.
Nautical stripes were added to the main bedroom with a custom, upholstered bench seat and roller blind, made by Jess’ uncle and aunt’s company Elfi’s Curtains, which also made curtains in Cloud Fabric in Mineral from Material World. Layers have been added to the bed with cushions and throws from Sheet Society, Bed Bath N’ Table, Freedom and Walter G. The bedside tables are from Harvey Norman.
Pretty in ever-so-subtle pink, the ensuite features a strip of ‘Broadwater’ penny round mosaic tiles in Pink Gloss from Tile Cloud above the Caroma ‘Aura’ bath from Harvey Norman, positioned to take in a private leafy outlook by the window. For cohesion with the timber floors in the rest of the home, the Articwood Camel Matt Tile from National Tiles was a perfect solution for a similar look in the wet area. The timber feature rail, wooden mirror from Temple & Webster and a Beacon Lighting ‘Byron’ pendant add to the warm feel.
A seamless floor plan with minimal level change that simply flows outside to the pool and expansive backyard, is ideal for all. Jess’ parents’ section of the house forms the backdrop to the family’s outdoor lounge area, which overlooks the pool and is furnished with a ‘Rimini’ outdoor coffee table and ‘Bianco’ outdoor chairs and sofa, from Harvey Norman. A robust flooring solution is Terrazzo Grey Tiles from Gold Coast Tile Market.
“We have built something that has everything we want and need as our family grows up. We are very lucky!”Jess