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A modern country farmhouse just outside Brisbane

With space for horses, dirt bikes and an expanding menagerie, this family found an idyllic block and built their forever home.
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Old homes can have a certain charm, yet there were few redeeming features in the house Brisbane couple Kristy and Mark bought just over two years ago. “It was brick and asbestos, there were holes in the walls, exposed wiring and it was riddled with spiders,” says Kristy. “It was also split-level, but the downstairs was uninhabitable. We squeezed into the upstairs bedrooms and used the downstairs for storage, only to discover it flooded when it rained.”

Yet none of that mattered. When they bought the house, the plan was to knock down and rebuild. Mark and Kristy had looked to buy in this area for years, and it was all about the land – a one-hectare block where their children, Joshua, now 10, Ruby, nine, Lachlan, six, and Stella, four, could enjoy a rural lifestyle complete with their own dirt bikes, and endless grass for horses Rivi and Teddy to graze. “We needed to stay in Brisbane for work and family, yet this area had a country feel so it was perfect,” says Kristy of the idyllic spot just 13km from the CBD.

Kristy and Mark, pictured here with children Stella (standing) and (from left) Joshua, Ruby and Lachlan, and golden retriever Hudson, their generous block of land combines the convenience of city living with the fun of a semi-rural lifestyle.

Who lives here? Kristy, a stay-at-home mum; husband Mark, a company director; their children, Joshua, 10; Ruby, nine; Lachlan, six; Stella, four; dogs Milly and Hudson; ponies Rivi the palomino and Teddy the Shetland.

What is your decorating style? Kristy: “I don’t like too much clutter and I love everything to be meaningful. So most items serve a purpose or reflect my love of the country and the beach, which creates a modern country/coastal style.”

What do you love about the location? “We’re so close to the city and the kids’ schools, yet it feels like we’re in the country and so we get to experience both.”

Is there anything left to do? “We’re waiting for the garden to grow and watch it establish over time.”

To complement the block, last year the couple realised their dream of building a modern farmhouse with plenty of space inside and out. As pretty as a picture in classic white, with traditional verandahs and a pitched roof, the exterior sets the tone for the serene interior beyond the blue front door. Dulux Snowy Mountains Quarter and limestone in Tumbled Capbreton from Amber Tiles dress up the exterior.

After three months in the original house, the family were ready to move out and design their forever home, orientated to follow the lay of the land and overlook the surrounding bushland. Kristy immediately hit it off with builder Rachael Turner of Front Porch Properties, who ran the 18-month design and build. “We wanted a home that was classic, cosy and comfortable, and Rachael said yes to almost every crazy idea we had and thought outside the box to make it happen,” says Kristy.

KITCHEN Minimalist benchtop accessories including an ‘Isabella’ fruit bowl from Isabel World as well as House of Isabella bar stools and pendant lights from Uniqwa introduce a relaxed coastal feel.

Sticking with a predominantly white palette tempered with oak, the cabinetry was colour-matched to walls in Dulux Natural White and accented with brushed brass door hardware from Passio Interiors, while a brushed gold Zip HydroTap from Harvey Norman adds an element of luxury.

“I love everything,” says Kristy of the striking kitchen, which features a natural oak island by Farmers Doors topped in Carrara Gris quartzby Smartstone. Its delicate grey veining picks up tones in the soft furnishings and wallpaper in the dining nook. Rather than timber or tiles on the floor, matt white polished concrete speckled with aggregate is the foundation for the open-plan space. “I love the look and feel and it’s incredibly low-maintenance,” says Kristy.

DINING NOOK Custom upholstered bench seats form a comfy informal dining nook. A vintage timber table (Ikea’s ‘Ingatorp’ table is an option) and Provincial Home Living ‘Lawson’ stools.


Wallpaper is a wonderful way to define zones in open-plan spaces, such as the above informal dining area. Kristy selected Caselio ‘Hawaii’ wallpaper in Colour 6109 from Natty & Polly to break up a wall of VJ panels. “The blue and the gold tie in beautifully with the kitchen and add personality,” she says. Adairs cushions are tonal shades, while an Emac & Lawton ‘Zermatt’ wall lamp is another layer of interest.

KITCHEN For added interest, Kristy and Mark chose Statuario Dior quartz by Smartstone for the splashback. To help boost brightness, double skylights flood the galley-style layout with natural light.

A key requirement was a future-proof layout and beautiful robust finishes that would suit the family as their needs evolved. In addition to several living spaces, a priority were big bedrooms with plenty of storage, a laundry that doubled as a mud room and an alfresco area.

BUTLER’S PANTRY Two walls of windows ensure a light and bright area complete with a leafy vista. Open shelves and under-bench cabinetry guarantees plenty of storage, and a vintage ladder from Paddington Antique Centre introduces charm and practicality. To link with the adjoining kitchen, the pantry has the same Smartstone benchtops, cabinetry in Dulux Winter Terrace and a ‘Henley’ fluted farmhouse sink and a mixer, both from ABI Interiors.

The entire process was a dream fulfilled for Kristy, who’d spent years collecting images of Queenslanders, Australian farmhouses, cottages and American architecture, which helped inspire the finishes and details. To add a modern touch to the timeless palette of timber and tumbled limestone, polished concrete flows throughout. Pockets of wallpaper give personality, as do eye-catching pendants and wall sconces, yet Kristy’s favourite feature is the tranquil blue-green which adorns joinery and is accented in homewares. “I wanted a colour that was different but still classic, and this shade suits the surroundings,” she says of Dulux Roland.

DINING ROOM Pieces from Provincial Home Living, an Uncle George pendant and Joanna Davies’ artwork ‘Moonlight’.

LIVING AREA While the kitchen has a coastal feel, the living area exudes country cosiness, complete with a Mr Stoves fireplace enveloped in a stacked limestone wall installed by Stone Nation. “In winter, we have a fire every night and most mornings,” says Kristy. Custom bifold timber doors by Front Porch Properties help connect the space to the alfresco entertaining area, while a window seat is a quiet spot for reading.

WINDOW SEAT On the shelves, vases and jugs from Provincial Home Living add interest among books and a framed water colour that Kristy painted.

Joinery by Front Porch Properties is highlighted in Dulux Roland.

To soften the concrete floors, blinds by Tuiss and a jute rug by Weave anchor the generous Freedom sofa scattered with cushions, which pick up the blue tones of the custom joinery created by Farmers Doors and Front Porch Properties.

MAIN BEDROOM One of Kristy’s favourite places to sit is her bedroom window seat, upholstered in ‘Dalby’ fabric in Ivory by Acacia Textiles and topped with cushions from Pillow Talk and Feather + Oak and an Adairs throw. “It’s such a pretty spot to enjoy a view of the pool and all our back paddocks,” she says. Against a white ‘Juno’ bedhead by Black Mango, layers of linen from Myer, Magic Linen and Feather + Oak add a luxurious feel, and a rug from Freedom assumes the role of an artwork. Bedside tables from Naturally Provincial are paired with ‘Dulcie’ lamps from Provincial Home Living, and the brass ‘Portofino’ wall sconce is from Emac & Lawton.

A floral rug from Freedom constrasts a striped throw from Feather + Oak in the main bedroom.

ENSUITE With a double vanity, double shower and window side bath, the ensuite is an indulgent retreat. ‘TNA Majorca’ tiles in Mint from Tilescope envelop the ‘Olivia’ oval freestanding tub from Bathroom Sales Direct, which takes advantage of the view. Tapware from ABI Interiors brings a flourish of brushed brass, as do wall sconces from Emac & Lawton either side of custom mirrors by Farmers Doors. To contrast the cool tones, ‘Arbon’ tumbled limestone floor tiles by Eco Outdoor ground the scheme, and a natural oak vanity designed by Front Porch Properties, and anufactured by Farmers Doors, adds tactile warmth.

RUBY’S BEDROOM Decked out in floral, gingham and lavender-toned linen from Adairs, a ‘Gjöra’ bed from Ikea paired with an Adairs bedside table makes Ruby’s space a little more grown-up. Flowing curtains, also from Ikea, gently diffuse afternoon sun.

JOSHUA’S BEDROOM All the kids’ rooms are generously sized and feature lots of storage and window seats. In Joshua’s room, a ‘Juno’ headboard in Taupe from Black Mango is teamed with an olive Freedom throw and assorted cushions from Bambury, Adairs and Feather + Oak. A ‘Shorty’ locker by Mustard Made acts as a bedside table and continues the green theme. Above the window seat, an Emac & Lawton ‘Royal London’ antique brass wall light provides lovely ambient lighting. The print of a boy playing cricket was found on Etsy.

Kristy wanted a laundry that doubled as a mud room to store everything from ballet bags and cricket bats to goggles and helmets. “I love the arched cabinetry and lockers in my favourite shade of blue,” she says of the joinery in Dulux Roland, teamed with brushed brass knobs from Passio Interiors. “It looks beautiful and is really functional.” Rather than a tiled splashback, the couple opted for Easycraft VJ panels painted with Dulux Aquanamel in Natural White.

LAUNDRY Open shelves provide space for pull-out baskets, and a brass rail, from Passio Interiors, is handy for hanging clothes above the Smartstone Carrara Gris benchtop. Positioned below the window is a ‘Henley’ fluted farmhouse sink and ‘Rappana’ pull tapware, both from ABI Interiors.

The process involved a few hiccups, yet one complication relating to site levels improved the design. “Initially we wanted the alfresco area on the same level as the living spaces inside, but it needed to step down from the kitchen, which turned out to be ideal,” says Kristy. “It allows for a better view from inside and means the alfresco area has a beautiful four-metre-high ceiling and a great connection to the backyard.”

It’s here the family enjoy spending lots of time as it offers easy access to the pool and vast backyard, which the kids have plans for. “They’d like chickens, a goat, a sheep, a highland cow and miniature donkeys,” says Kristy. “I think we’ll start slowly and work our way up in size!”

POOL “With a big block, we thought we needed to go big with the pool,” says Kristy of the impressive 10m x 6m splash zone. “We also thought it would be so much better for the kids when they had all their friends over.” Around the perimeter, smoked oak decking from Millboard flows into the poolhouse, which the Front Porch Property team created by converting a Mimosa ‘Burleigh’ wooden gazebo from Bunnings. In the poolhouse, a Bunnings coffee table, custom bench seats topped with cushions, an Adairs print and wall lights from Barn Light set the scene.

Ruby leads Rivi the palomino for a walk around the property.

Source book

Builder: Rachael Turner, Front Porch Properties, frontporchproperties.com.au.

Drafting: Concepts Unlimited Design, (07) 3350 1311, cudesign.com.au.

Joinery: Front Porch Properties and Farmers Doors, (07) 5574 6881, farmersdoors.com.

Pool: Evans & Evans Pools, (07) 3202 1545, evansandevanspools.com.au.

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