When homeowners Hayley and Terry bought their Gold Coast home three years ago, they had to look beyond the particularly unattractive shade of ’90s pink which spanned carpets, upholstery, window dressings and even flanked the fireplace. “It was everywhere,” recalls Hayley. “The floor tiles though were even worse. They were a ghastly glossy pale blue with a squiggly pattern that looked like a wet slug trail!”
With two adult daughters, Lucy and Bella, and son Orly who’s approaching his teen years, the couple saw potential in the split-level home, despite the dated aesthetics. The home, complete with a self-contained studio, had the space they were after, in a prime waterfront location. Experienced renovators and self-confessed serial movers, the pair relished the challenge of stripping away the home’s ’90s persona in favour of timeless finishes, character furnishings and warm tones – deliberately eschewing trends, which would inevitably date-stamp the home once again. “We did the living area and kitchen first, as it’s where we spend most of our time and, being in the centre of the home, the changes had a domino effect,” Hayley explains.
Who lives here?
Hayley, a stay-at-home mum; husband Terry, a commercial project manager; adult daughters Lucy and Bella and son Orly, 12; Holly a Spoodle; Skipper a Siamese cat, and black cat Salem.
What soft furnishings draw you? Hayley: “I love pattern, particularly florals and most of my curtains and blinds are William Morris.”
Inspiration for your Christmas look? “This year, it’s shades of blue, brown and green. I’ve been increasingly using them throughout the house.”
Favourite Christmas tradition? “One of our trees is a family tree and and has collectable decorations that we started collecting the year we met. We’ve continued the tradition with the kids.”
What followed was a fresh coat of Dulux Snowy Mountain Quarter throughout, new timber flooring on the lower level, updated window furnishings, statement lighting and clever additions such as integrated bench seating and an understairs daybed. Renowned for her DIY projects and decorating, which she shares with her Instagram community via @mumlittleloves, Hayley embraced the power of paint and bold colour throughout to revitalise key furniture pieces and rooms. “Our last house was all white and blue, but here I wanted to do something different so went with varying shades of olive-green downstairs to unite all the living and entertaining areas,” she says. “Upstairs, I played with warm colours for the bedrooms.”
Coupled with an inspired mix of print and pattern, the effect is an entirely different look and feel, which is ever-evolving. “I’m always experimenting with new projects, changing furniture around, adding wallpaper, reupholstering or painting something,” says Hayley. “Using colour on the walls is my favourite way to completely change a space and I find painting relaxing, it’s my happy place.”
This year will mark the family’s third Christmas in the home and being on the water, with a pool in which to cool off and games room, complete with a bar, pool table and multiple spots to relax, it’s become an annual holiday venue for extended family. As a festive season enthusiast, Hayley is happy to host and goes to town with decorative trimmings which begin at the front door and flow throughout with ledges, walls, multiple trees and the family’s beautifully restored fireplace adorned with festive cheer and stunning floral touches.
“I love doing something different each year and I’ll often begin dreaming up what I’ll do next Christmas, while the current Christmas decorations are still up,” she enthuses. “At the beginning of spring I’ll start looking for ribbons, papers, fabrics in my chosen colour palette or theme, then gradually begin making stockings and DIY touches for the table. At Christmas, I also fill the house with fresh flowers from my incredible local florist That Pretty Market, which has the most amazing selection.”
In the living area, a Sanibel Spruce from Balsam Hill, decorated with ‘Grand Forest’ and ‘Farmhouse’ ornaments (also from Balsam Hill), takes pride of place beside the fireplace, the first thing the couple tackled in this space. This involved removing pink plasterboard surrounds and a marble hearth to reveal original brickwork. Hayley and Terry then created decorative surrounds and added a shiplap backdrop painted in Dulux Olive Leaf.
Not only were the original white 2-pac cabinets and black and blue granite benchtops not to Hayley’s taste, but functionality was also an issue with the existing kitchen. “It was closed off on one side so it was a real bottleneck, and the main bench was split level with a bar height servery which affected usability,” she explains. The solution was to gut the zone, open up one side and install Kaboodle Kitchen cabinetry, topped with solid American Oak benchtops. Marble subway tiles from National Tiles form the backdrop where a Falcon oven is a feature. “I’ve always wanted one as I love the classic look and ability to simultaneously cook separate dishes in the dual ovens,” says Hayley. “On Christmas Day, we have the turkey cooking on one side and the pavlova in the other.”
“I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction from renovating.”Hayley
Hayley loves a layered Christmas table setting, and this year’s festive colour scheme was largely inspired by ‘The Forest’ tablecloth and napkins from Hutch Table Accessories, teamed with plates (also from Hutch Table Accessories), Villeroy & Boch glassware and a ‘Lucille’ vase from Provincial Home Living filled with flowers from That Pretty Market. “I love a ‘more is more’ approach to Christmas table settings,” says Hayley, whose treasure trove of napery and table linen is stored in the Provincial Home Living Coventry Buffet and Hutch, customised with check curtains. Neutral, textural elements, such as the Rustic River Rock Sisal rug from Floorspace Australia.
We love… DIY Christmas decorations
For a coordinated look, Hayley combines bought pieces with handmade touches. “Because I can’t always find what I want to suit my colour palette, it’s often easier to make what I’m after,” she says. “I love using napkins to make bon bons that I fill with socks, lip balms, chocolates, scratchies and bad jokes.
Much of the renovation involved removing pink details but in the main bedroom Hayley reintroduced pink – albeit in the guise of Dulux Primal in half strength, which is classified as brown.
The inspiration for Orly’s room, where Holly the Spoodle joins Orly, began with the ‘Bohemian Forest’ wallpaper from Edge Wall Art (in a custom colour). The neutral backdrop is accented with Early Settler furniture and a Koh Metalico mirror.
Rooms switch between the kids as often as the walls change colour. Lucy recently laid claim to this room and requested a neutral scheme. “It’s actually the smallest room in the house and while some people think you should use light, bright colours to enhance the sense of space, I like to embrace the cosiness of a compact room, and went with chocolate brown,” explains Hayley of the walls painted in Taubmans Cowhide.
With the myriad shades of green used downstairs, Hayley combined leftover paint to create the hue for Bella’s bedroom. “Rather than a colour feature wall, I prefer to paint the bedroom in one colour to create an enveloping feel,” says Hayley.
“Rather than follow a particular style or trends, I’ll draw inspiration from a beautiful fabric, cushion or piece of furniture, and create a look from there.”Hayley
Laundry and mudroom
Previously an uninspired sea of white tiles and laminate cabinetry, the laundry is full of personality and doubles as a mudroom. Kaboodle Kitchen Alpine cabinetry in Kaleo provides a splash of blue, complemented with Kaboodle Kitchen solid American Oak tops, which serve as a bench seat. The floor was transformed with Chicago Brick State Street tiles from National Tiles.
Often a relaxed multi-day celebration, Christmas is generally a sit-down roast turkey and seafood lunch for 20 or so guests, who all bring a plate. With plenty of blow-up mattresses and comfy sofas to go round, most people stay the night and ease into a laid-back Boxing Day grazing on leftovers in between swims and a spin in the family’s boat. “It really is a magical time of the year!” says Hayley. “I love the anticipation, the fairy lights, quality time with family, and the opportunity to go over the top with decorating.”