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Amazing makeover: from dingy cottage to modern Hamptons-style home

What a transformation!
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When designer Kerri Shipp from Driftwood Interiors first laid eyes on a rundown cottage in suburban Brisbane, she knew she had her work cut out for her.

“Before my client bought the house, it was owned by the same family since it was built in the late 1800s,” she says.

“When she got the keys it was almost untouched. I’m talking curtains disintegrating when touched, paint peeling off the walls, a kitchen with a single sink and a wood burning stove.”

While Kerri knew she was up for a challenge, she could see the home had good bones and that underneath the disrepair was a sweet little cottage waiting to emerge.

Kerri Shipp
Before: tired, forgotten and in need of a makeover.

“It’s such a gorgeous little cottage and I could really see how fantastic it could look, in spite of its rather awful original appearance,” she explains.

“It still had most of the original features, like decorative transoms and VJ walls so I wanted to freshen it up and accentuate these beautiful colonial details.”

Some serious rebuilding work was needed, so the first jobs she ticked off included adding an indoor toilet, renovating the kitchen and removing the enclosed verandah to open up the home.

Driftwood Interiors
Light now floods into the interior spaces. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)

The whole house was painted inside and out, a rear deck was added and the internal pine floors were replaced with recycled hardwood.

Driftwood Interiors
The power of white paint. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)

“The homeowner was happy for me to take the reins with the styling, but she does love the Hamptons look so that’s the direction I took,” Kerri says. “Hamptons works really well in Queensland and it’s very popular here.

Driftwood Interiors
Classic floor tiles and VJ panelled walls in the bathroom. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)

“The home is small and only has two bedrooms, so I really wanted to pare back and keep the spaces nice and open, adding texture and interest in the artwork and soft furnishings.“

Kerri focused on a light colour palette to open up the rooms and keep the home looking fresh and chose a soft blush and natural colour scheme for the second bedroom to contrast with the blues used throughout the rest of the home.

Kerri Shipp
A fresh place to perch in crisp blue and white decor. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)

Kerry’s top tips for a Hamptons-style renovation

1. Freshen up interiors and exteriors with paint
“Paint can’t be beaten for its ability to transform a space.”

2. Use natural fabrics
“I used mostly natural elements in the soft furnishings; linen, cottons and wool in the bedlinen and throws, and cushions were a mixture of linens and cotton velvet for a touch of luxury.”

3. Mix old with new
“Rattan furniture adds a lightness while antique furniture works beautifully to add personality to the newer elements. Include some vintage pieces wherever possible, as it stops things from looking too ‘catalogue’ and adds some uniqueness to the space.”

4. Add some soft lighting
“I love to add lamps and use custom shades to create a cohesive and individual design scheme.”

Driftwood Interiors
Pale blues for a calm bedroom setting. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)
Kerri Shipp
Pale pinks work beautifully in the second bedroom. (Credit: Driftwood Interiors)

Kerri Shipp is an artist and the owner of Driftwood Interiors which provides design and styling services in Queensland and Northern NSW.

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