It’s a common quandary owners face when their home no longer ticks all the boxes. Do you sell and buy elsewhere? Search for a new block to build on, or stay put and renovate? Gold Coast couple Josephine and Bryant grappled back and forth with this dilemma. They loved the location of the waterfront home they had bought in 2014 – as did their children, Michael, now 10, and Sofia, eight – yet by 2020 the almost 20-year-old home looked its age and lacked connection to the outdoors where they enjoyed spending time.
Who lives here? Josephine and Bryant, business owners, and their children, Michael, 10, and Sofia, eight.
What renovating lessons did you learn? Josephine: “Covid taught us many lessons in patience during the build, with a few delays and last-minute re-selections required to keep the project on track. Yet we trusted the process and it all came together beautifully.”
Best spot in the house? “The butler’s pantry is probably the most used space in the home. I feel a sense of relaxation when I am there, and I’m finding it’s a place that the children come and just sit and talk about anything on their mind while I prepare food.”
Favourite piece? “The Kelly Wearstler ‘Linden’ lamps in the main living area are amazing, and a wine cellar under the stairs is quite convenient!”
“We initially looked at selling and then building, but couldn’t find a suitable home, or a north-facing block that gave us a better outlook than we have,” says Josephine. The suburb – close to the beach, the kids’ school, restaurants and Josephine’s mum, who lived just down the road – was also hard to beat. “We realised that our location, right on the water with farmland on the opposite side of the canal, was really special and not something we could easily replicate elsewhere,” she adds.
Making the decision to stay, the couple’s focus shifted to a major renovation that encompassed a total interior refit and an extension to enlarge the main bedroom on the upper level and the alfresco below. To manage the project and look after the redesign, they enlisted Josephine’s childhood friend, interior designer Lynda MacDonald of The Design Chaperone. She cleverly modernised the spaces and reworked the floor plan to create a fresh, family-friendly layout that embraces the idyllic waterside aspect and outdoor living.
A key alteration was relocating an internal staircase, which opened up the entry and enables a glimpse of the expansive water view the moment you step through the front door. “It was a great idea, which really changed the entire feel of the house,” says Josephine. “All the spaces now flow and are much more useable.” On the ground floor, a bank of oversized stacking doors were added to further draw in views and merge indoor and outdoor entertaining areas. Functionality also drove changes, such as converting a previously unused sitting area at the back of the house into an enviably large butler’s pantry that now acts as a second kitchen.
The cocktail lounge is favoured as a living area during cooler months, where Arte ‘Les Nuances’ wallpaper from Unique Fabrics and decorative wainscotting is an elegant backdrop. The space is furnished with ‘Vittoria’ sofas and ‘Odessa’ coffee tables from Coco Republic.
As for overhauling the dated finishes, Josephine and Lynda had many discussions about how the style should look. They drew on Josephine’s classic, elegant aesthetic and her love of American farmhouses to devise a palette that melds timeless and contemporary pieces with a sprinkle of brushed gold. This understated luxe feel is incredibly comfortable and on the money for family life and entertaining.
Although the extent of the changes was enormous, the project took just six months, during which time the family stayed with Josephine’s mum. “Moving back in felt like we had an entirely new home, exactly where we wanted to live,” says Josephine. “It’s so open and welcoming and makes the absolute most of the water views.
On the weekends, we often eat and entertain in the new-look alfresco area. Bryant and the kids also love to hop in the kayaks and paddle to the other side of the canal and talk to the cows in the paddock,” she adds with a laugh. Now that every box is ticked, they agree there’s no reason to leave.
Ever since writer and stylist Kylie Jackes got a Holly Hobby quilt cover at age 6 she’s been obsessed with interiors. For the past 10 years she’s enjoyed writing about beautiful spaces and the people who call them home. When she’s not styling other people’s places, she loves acquiring plants to fill every corner of her beach house.