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An epic renovation to create an inspired waterfront home on the Gold Coast

Rather than move, this Gold Coast family embark on a transformation of their tired 20-year-old home to create a modern dream house.

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.

FOREVER FEELS An elegant sensibility pervades every corner of Josephine and Bryant’s revitalised Gold Coast home.

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!”

KITCHEN Setting the tone, the kitchen is inspired by modern farmhouse interiors and features Shaker-style cabinetry in Dulux Snowy Mountains Quarter by D&L Custom Cabinets, emboldened with Dulux Black Caviar joinery accents and ‘Darlana’ lanterns from Bloomingdales. Michelangelo quartz from WK Quantum Quartz spans the benchtops and flows up the walls, a Fisher & Paykel freestanding gas oven adds a traditional touch and the Nero ‘Mecca’ sink mixer (try Tradelink) hints at the gold-dusted throughout. In the foreground are ‘Franco’ leather kitchen stools from Coco Republic. The vase is from Pottery Barn.

KITCHEN A trio of artworks by Rachel Stevens from Palette by Jono Fleming – (clockwise from top left) Still Life With Pumpkin, Tuscan Farmhouse and Rolling Hills – decorates a wall in Dulux Snowy Mountains Quarter. Franco’ kitchen stools from Coco Republic look classic and are easy-clean.

“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.

A selection of vessels from St Barts add interest in a kitchen corner.

BUTLER’S PANTRY An unused sitting area was gutted and converted into this large butler’s pantry. “It’s a much better way to utilise the area and we just love it,” says Josephine. “We keep most of the appliances here and do the bulk of the food prep here as well.” The light blue splashback tiles are from Inspired Home Selections and the timber-look open shelves are in Laminex Natural Walnut. ‘Arlington Grove’ engineered planks from Heartridge Floors ground the scheme, while the drawer handles are from Handle House and the stool from Village Stores.

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.

MAIN LIVING AREA Several living areas on the lower level cater to different moods and occasions. This main space overlooks the alfresco area and was modernised. ‘Statton’ sofas from Domayne are paired with an ‘Amsterdam’ coffee table from Coco Republic, while, as a nod to the waterside location, a Coastal Palette artwork from Designer Boys picks up the tones in the soft furnishings. Josephine’s favourite feature is the oversized Kelly Wearstler ‘Linden’ table lamps from Bloomingdales. “They were one of the first pieces we bought for the interiors,” she says.

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.

A pair of ‘Coastal Palette’ artworks from Designer Boys in the main living room.

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.

COCKTAIL LOUNGE Lighting was chosen for its sculptural appeal, with a ‘Darlana’ lantern suspended in the centre and a ‘Notting Hill’ table lamp, also both from Coco Republic, illuminating a corner.

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.

LIBRARY Josephine discovered the tan chest of drawers at a vintage store and uses it to house the family’s collection of board games. On the wall, a Yanbury Bird VI artwork from Designer Boys commands attention.

Sofia, Bryant, Josephine and Michael pictured in the home’s library, which is painted in Dulux Black Caviar.

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.

MAIN BEDROOM This was extended and a balcony added to form the roof of the expanded ground-level alfresco area. A custom panelled bedhead, available through The Design Chaperone, provides the backdrop to layers of Sheridan linen, Eadie Lifestyle cushions and a Bemboka waffle cotton throw. A ‘Siena’ chest of drawers used as a side table offers plenty of space for an ‘Ostin’ table lamp, also from Coco Republic, and an array of books and trinkets. The untitled artwork is from Biku Furniture & Homewares.

Neutral-toned Eadie Lifestyle cushions and a Bemboka throw are a soothing mix in the main bedroom.

ENSUITE Previously awash in dated peach- and cream-toned tiles, Josephine and Bryant’s ensuite was revived with ‘Executive Stone’ honed Calacatta marble tiles from Stone World, with black matt RAL floor tiles laid in a herringbone pattern for contrast. A double vanity in Michelangelo quartz from WK Quantum Quartz features ACL Co ‘Cora’ basins with Nero ‘Mecca’ tapware (try Tradelink) and gold drawer hardware from Handle House. Reflected in the mirror is a Nero ‘Bianca’ towel rail.

Nero ‘Mecca’ shower tapware in Brushed Gold (try Tradelink) continues the home’s metallic presence.

MICHAEL’S BEDROOM “Michael is proud of his bedroom and treats it as his sanctuary – he makes sure his bed is made every morning with all the cushions in place,” says Josephine of the ‘Manhattan Loft’ bedhead in Classic Indigo from Coco Republic with a Pottery Barn coverlet. Casamance ‘Filbert’ wallpaper (try Zepel Fabrics) is layered with a Slim Aarons Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc print (try Funstuff by Lynda for similar). A bone inlay chest from Mahalia Interiors and Timothy Oulton ‘Globetrekker’ chest (used as a side table, try Coco Republic) add a global sensibility.

SOFIA’S BEDROOM “Wallpaper is a simple way to add texture, colour and pattern,” says Lynda, who chose the Cole & Son ‘Punchinello’ design (try Wallpaper Direct) for Sofia’s room. The wall is further adorned with a bone inlay mirror from Mahalia Interiors (who also stock the bedside table). Sofia has the same bedhead as Michael, in Washed Linen Mist, with Sheridan linen and Coco Republic cushions and a ‘Bleecker Bench’ ottoman, also from Coco Republic.

SOFIA’S BATHROOM Floor-to-ceiling ‘Travertino Ivory’ tiles from Inspired Home Selections and a vanity in Dulux Smokebush make Sofia’s space unique. ‘Pill’ mirrors from Future Glass reflect a Delicate Butterfly IV artwork from Designer Boys on the opposite wall.

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.

ALFRESCO This updated area is a favourite go-to spot for Josephine and Bryant to relax and watch the kids in the pool. “The new servery window from the kitchen has made entertaining outside easy,” adds Josephine. The lounge chairs and Brown Jordan dining chairs are from Dune Outdoor Luxuries, the outdoor dining table is from Ambience and the coffee table from Coco Republic.

The pool area was updated with ‘Travertino’ tiles from Inspired Home Selections and Grass Sports faux turf.


Interior design: Lynda MacDonald, The Design Chaperone, 0414 366 688, thedesignchaperone.com.au.

Builder: Symcorp Building Services, (07) 5594 1768, symcorp.com.au.

Joinery: D&L Custom Cabinets, (02) 6672 3731, dlcabinets.com.au.

Drafting: Brock Heap Design, 0421 418 215.

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