Home Tours

Home tour: Small space, big solutions

How this Brisbane home made the most of its modest footprint
John Downs

Space was at the heart of all the decisions in this home renovation, with spectacular results.

Deck with outdoor furniture
(Credit: John Downs)


The renovation of this Queenslander included extending the deck a few metres to ensure a larger entertaining area. Glass railings maximise city views, while timber battens add privacy and exterior blinds from Vanguard fend off summer sun. For similar outdoor furniture, try Milan Direct.

Kitchen and dining table
(Credit: John Downs)


Originally a galley-style layout, the kitchen was transformed into a more functional L-shape with an island, gloss white cabinetry, Caesarstone benchtops and a touch of timber veneer. The lighting scheme was enhanced with Lightyears ‘Caravaggio’ pendants from Cult and the replica ‘Tolix’-style chairs are from Replica Furniture. The dining table from Jimmy Possum is recycled from old boardwalk planks from around a lake in Melbourne. 

Office nook
(Credit: John Downs)

Office Nook

Custom powder-coated ‘Mr Big Shot’ pendants from Satelight command attention above the internal stairs, where sleek timber joinery forms an office nook. The chic alcove is furnished with a ‘Malmo’ stool from Middle Of Nowhere.

Living room with TV
(Credit: John Downs)

Living room

During the renovation, internal stairs were relocated and the furniture reconfigured for a more open-plan feel, which freed up valuable floor space. The sumptuous ‘Jasper’ couch from King Living sits opposite a ‘Winston’ armchair from Jardan. In lieu of a coffee table, a timber-framed ledge (below & opposite far right) behind the sofa displays greenery, curios, photos and an abstract artwork from Adairs. Joinery designed by architects Base Architecture, in collaboration with interior designer Rachel Cochrane, also pairs practicality with good looks. The wall cabinets conceal DVDs, games and throws, and audio equipment is neatly screened behind custom laser-cut panels by Tilt Design Collective. Designer Collection ‘Triangle’ custom wool rug in Fern, Cornflower, Indigo & White, is from Armadillo & Co.

master bedroom with timber panelling
(Credit: John Downs)

Main bedroom

This is one of just two rooms in the house that was extended – the additional floor area was used to create the lounge section. The Wilfred’ sofa is from Jardan while the window has been dressed in Chivasso ‘Transit’ sheer curtains from Unique Fabrics. Overhead, a trio of tonal Caribou lights cascade from the ceiling. The collection of cushions are from Adairs, Pillow Talk, Sheets On The Line and Sheridan, while the pale green bedlinen is also from Sheets On The Line.

A glossy wall of floor-to-ceiling spotted gum timber delivers impact in the main bedroom and beautifully defines its lounge area (opposite). “I love the way the timber accentuates the room’s vaulted ceiling,” says Abbie. “The natural colour variation within each board injects so much warmth and character.” To get the look, try Boral’s Solid Qld spotted gum hardwood flooring, 130mm x 19mm boards, from Floorboards Online. Visit floorboardsonline.com.au. 

Girls' bedroom
(Credit: John Downs)

Girls’ room

Bespoke winged-back beds from Bednest were designed to create a fairytale feel. The walls are swathed in Quercus & Co’s ‘Oslo’ wallpaper in Freya, while the bedlinen was custom-dyed to get the right colour. Textural cushions from Lazybones and Domayne add layers, and the multi-height ceiling draws the eye upwards and offers a sculptural element.

Ensuite bathroom
(Credit: John Downs)


The hexagonal Mutina ‘Tex’ tiles from Ace Stone & Tiles form the ensuite’s moody backdrop. Beautifully colour-coordinated, the monochrome palette features a honed marble silver sandscape vanity and splashback, with 2-pac cabinetry below colour-matched in Dulux Paving Stone. Pastel mint towels from Aura By Tracie Ellis echo the gelato-toned linen in the main bedroom. To enhance the ensuite’s functionality, its layout was flipped, allowing for a floating double vanity topped with Axa ‘H10’ basins from Reece. Recessed mirror cabinets are another clever inclusion and provide abundant storage without encroaching on the space.

Craft studio
(Credit: John Downs)

Craft Studio

A studio nook on the ground floor was created within the open-plan playroom. It is fitted with custom joinery and concealed drawers and cupboards that provide ample storage for stowing bundles of fabric, while a nifty roller door enables the sewing machine to slide away. On the wall, a hexagonal pegboard by Al & Em ties in with a ‘Harper’ occasional chair made in custom fabric from Jardan.

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