Asking Kellie to choose the spot she most loves in her home is like asking which of her five children is ‘the favourite’, she says with a laugh. “They’re all pretty great, it’s impossible to pick,” she reflects, surveying the sun-drenched spaces of her home on Queensland’s Gold Coast, which she shares with partner Scott and her two youngest children Bella and Noah. “It’s our morning ritual to have coffee on the front verandah, afternoons are often spent in the alfresco area out the back and in summer it feels very special to have a swim at night as music plays through the outdoor speakers. We love it all.”
WHO LIVES HERE? Kellie, an interior-design student and her partner Scott, a building-design student; Kellie’s children Noah, 12, and Bella, 20, a uni student; and ragdoll kitten Arlo.
CHRISTMAS DAY PLANS? Kellie: “We have a wonderful family get-together at our house with an afternoon swim at the beach.”
WHAT’S ON YOUR CHRISTMAS MENU? “Delicious fresh seafood from our local seafood supplier.”
WHAT’S YOUR DECORATING STYLE? “Our 2.7 metre tree is the centrepiece of our living space while fairy lights twinkle around the pool house and verandahs. The guest house has a simple tree and beautiful glass decorations.”
For Kellie, an interior-design student, and Scott, who’s completing a building-design diploma, creating their home was the perfect proving ground to hone their new skills after both changed career direction. “When we started house hunting, it was all about the site as our intention was always to knock down and build a home where we could personalise every element,” explains Kellie. Towards the end of 2019 they found a great location near the beach, with views to the local national park, which they could capitalise on with a two-storey build. Spending three months in the original 1970s home gave them a chance to get a feel for the block, while they mulled over concepts for the new house, which was drafted by a local building designer.
Once they had the basic plans, the design was further individualised with additional sculptural curves, space to store Scott’s collection of 20-plus surfboards and a tiled breezeway flanked in glass, which connects the main house with a self-contained guest house.
“This is the nicest house we’ve ever lived in and only house we’ve owned. Before we built, we’d only rented,” says Kellie.
The couple’s site visits during the build paid off, with tweaks made to the design along the way. One significant change after the slab was laid was upsizing the island bench. “Often it’s not until you’re physically in a space that you get a true sense of the size and after stepping out the kitchen area we enlarged the joinery, so it was in proportion with the adjoining living and dining zones,” says Kellie. The bench forms a sleek centrepiece, clad in a white two-pac timber profile and topped with a blend of Hebel by HWD Construction and micro-cement render by Render X.
Ready to start the build in March 2020, the same month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Kellie recalls questioning if it was wise to press ahead. “It was a tough decision, but we began as scheduled and our fingers were crossed during the entire eight-and-a-half-month project.” While there weren’t too many setbacks, the biggest issue was materials. “We had a moodboard and distinct colour palette in mind, but couldn’t always get our first choice of finishes,” says Kellie. “Often we had to make selections based on what suppliers had in stock.”
Despite this, they created a dreamy scheme layered with beautiful materials and textures in earthy tones. With four bathrooms and a powder room to fit out, Kellie relished giving each space a distinct look with inspired tile choices, statement bathtubs and hand-crafted basins. The dining-nook walls were slathered in tactile render, while timber, leather and rattan provide a final injection of warmth. “The whole process was challenging and exciting and taught me a lot about interior design,” says Kellie. “We worked hard to get the flow and continuity right and I think we pulled it off.” Although the couple agree it’s the best house they’ve ever lived in, they’re already planning the next project. “We’ve got lots of ideas and are keen to do something completely different, maybe a modernist barn-style house in the hinterland,” says Kellie. Whatever they do, it’s bound to be beautiful.
In the living room a ‘Long Beach’ sofa from Lounge Lovers melds with surrounding finishes, while cushions and a throw from Feather & Oak paired with patterned Sea Tribe cushions add warmth. Atop a Sarah Ellison ‘Chub’ coffee table, a candle and potted ‘Tineke’ rubber tree, from the Good Plant Co, provide a sprinkling of pink. Rather than adorn walls, Kellie says the arch window that frames a dragon tree is “a piece of art in itself”.
The plan was to have timber floors throughout but the couple decided to switch to tiles on the lower level. Thrilled with the look, Kellie couldn’t be happier with the large-format concrete toned ‘Bottega Caliza’ floor tiles she chose from Earp Bros.
It’s no surprise that visiting friends and family are keen to extend their stay after one night in the home’s self-contained, split-level guest house. With a living area and kitchenette downstairs, the guest bedroom sits in a loft space above and is a tranquil retreat with leafy National Park views. Atop Woodcut Voss engineered flooring, a ‘Norah’ bed and matching bedside table from Life Interiors claims a central spot. Dressed in linen from Adairs, the green is picked up in potted plants from The Good Plant Co, including a Philodendron ‘Birkin’ on the bedside table.
On the front verandah inbuilt bench seats wrap around one corner to maximise the use of the space, with Sea Tribe and Feather & Oak cushions echoing the greenery of a cluster of plants from The Good Plant Co. The grey pots were also sourced from The Good Plant Co, while the white pot was picked up at Bunnings. Additional embellishments include a Hello Trader pendant and a Sarah Ellison ‘Elton’ table. Rather than stain the Blackbutt timber floor, a clear coat protects the natural warm wood tones from the weather.
BUILDER: PJH Constructions, (07) 5520 0733, pjhconstructions.com.
LANDSCAPER: JSW Landscapes & Design, 0411 194 203, jswlandscapes.com.au.