For Lisa and Paul, home is a place for making precious memories with their children Ella, Charlie and Alice. So when they stumbled across this charming old Queenslander in inner-city Brisbane eight years ago, Paul knew they had discovered the home their kids could grow up in. Lisa wasn’t quite so spellbound. “Paul has always loved Queenslanders, but I’m more into a modern house,” she says.
“When we first saw it, it was yellow and green – real Federation colours – and I thought it would be too much work. Yet Paul always talks about the soul of this house.”Added to this intangible something was the “potential to put our own mark on it but still have that old Queenslander aspect”.
The couple planned an extensive renovation – doubling the existing kitchen to include a large island bench and walk-in butler’s pantry, adding a ground-floor entrance and updating the downstairs to be the kids’ domain, while creating a luxurious adults’ suite upstairs, for five bedrooms all told.
“The biggest challenge was getting our head around the fact this house was so beautiful and old, and we felt like we were destroying it!” says Lisa of the six-month project. “When we designed the house with our architect, we wanted to keep it totally in character.”
Embracing the home’s beautiful architectural details, they retained the wide verandahs, breezeways, VJ panelling and intricate fretwork, then sought the advice of Brisbane designer Lisa Alward to update the interiors and colour palette.
“Lisa and Paul didn’t want the classic blue-and-white style,” says Lisa. “They wanted something contemporary that worked with the era and style of the house.
I remember the first time I met Lisa. I said, ‘This is the sort of home that could go into Home Beautiful!’ It was a complete transformation, a big journey.”
The home is designed to make the most of Brisbane’s subtropical climate, with a large alfresco deck for afternoons entertaining friends, a resort-style pool for summer weekends and a backyard brimming with activity.
“Charlie is just starting to get into cricket, so Paul mowed a little cricket pitch into the grass,” says Lisa. “The kids are always in the backyard, running around and being silly.
The plan was that the kids can grow into the house. They’re only little for a short time, so we want to make as many memories with them as possible.”
Today, the growing family is all settled in and happily embracing their forever home. “I didn’t think this would be our house,” admits Lisa. “But now I never want to leave.”
“It’s an entertainer’s home, with the kitchen and deck looking out over the pool.” ~ Lisa
“We feel so relaxed. You can go and lie on the couch and everyone is comfortable just lazing around. It’s not too formal.” ~ Lisa
Kayla Wratten is a senior commercial editor across various digital brands, covering all things travel, food, fashion and homes. When she's not writing, she either has her head stuck in a good book or is plotting her next holiday.