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A charming old Queenslander becomes a modern Hamptons haven

With the soul of a Queenslander and the style of a modern Hamptons haven, this light-filled abode brings joy to a family of five.
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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.

“I love the kitchen,” says Lisa. “It brings a smile to my face when I walk in and see how spacious and beautiful it is.” A row of ‘Hee Welling’ bar stools by Replica Furniture are an open invitation for friends and family to perch around the kitchen island (in two-pac polyurethane in Dulux Domino), which features a natural stone benchtop by SNB Stone that echoes the splashback’s grey tones. “The stone is a statement and ties it all together,” says interior designer Lisa Alward. “Without it, it’s like running a race and not getting over the finish line.” Suspended above, three Gubi ‘Ronde’ pendant lights from Cult highlight the timeless palette.

“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”.

Not only essential to a Hamptons-inspired lifestyle, open-plan living celebrates Lisa and Paul’s love of outdoor entertaining. “Once the doors are open, it’s like you are enjoying the outdoors without being in the sun, which goes so well with the lifestyle,” says Lisa. Floating shelves in the kitchen hold a collection of pieces that bring artistic style to a blank canvas. “It breaks the space up a bit,” says Lisa. “If we didn’t have the shelves, it would be too bare.” Another painting by Hayley Wills, ‘Beneath The Trees’, brings a splash of vibrancy, while stacks of books, a lush plant and pale blue glasses with a similar aesthetic to Maison Balzac’s azure glass goblets add interest, alongside a splashback in ‘Stanford’ Bianco Gloss from Edge Tiles.

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.

Corian benchtops bring an effortless transition between the natural stone and Shaker cabinetry.

“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.”

This is a lesson in balancing minimalism with beauty. A simplistic ‘Tripod Trestle’ dining table in solid oak from Globe West is a laid-back focal point when surrounded by striking ‘Vienna’ bentwood chairs by Michael Thonet from Huset. The inky hue of the chairs mirrors a thin balustrade outlining the staircase, over which a Moooi ‘Non Random’ pendant light from Space shines at night. Rich oak timber is a consistent flooring choice throughout. “Dark timber was a must because their dog Brutus has black hair and it drops,” says interior designer Lisa Alward of the durable engineered oak. “For an active family, they can come in with dirty feet and you won’t see it.”

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.

A ‘Plaza’ sofa and matching ottoman from Molmic create a neutral base for pops of pink, care of cushions by Unique Fabrics and Style Revolutionary and a ‘Seymour’ blush armchair from King Living. Underfoot, a Bayliss ‘Marco’ rug in Silver spreads a sense of serenity.

“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.

Beside the window seat upholstered in ‘Auden’ fabric by Unique Fabrics, are two King Living ‘Seymour’ armchairs. A third sits in the main bedroom. “When we have visitors, we move it there and it matches the other chairs,” says Lisa.

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 window seat is the perfect place to curl up with a book. The ‘Vienna’ bentwood chairs in white by Michael Thonet are from Huset.

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.

On the outdoor deck, ‘Stonica’ dark grey porcelain tiles by Edge Tiles are a cool relief for bare feet in warmer weather, and a fan by Lighting Illusions looks after things overhead. A striped rug – the Dash & Albert ‘Birmingham’ rug from Winton House is similar – mirrors vertical white railings.

“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.

Brutus poses with a collection of verdant plants by The Soul Pantry.

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.”

Lisa and Paul’s bedroom was a welcome addition to the upstairs level, as the sleep zone is grounded with dark accents for sophisticated relaxation. The black bedhead complements Cult wall lamps and ‘Leo’ bedside tables by Grazia & Co, which have leather drawers for an unexpected soft touch. The tables display a vignette of delicate decor including a Monstera plant from The Soul Pantry, blush pink glassware and Hayley Wills’ eye-catching artwork ‘Waratah Wave’.

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.”

With its luxurious ‘La Perla’ travertine porcelain flooring by Edge Tiles, Lisa and Paul’s ensuite is a fantastic space to unwind. ‘Park Avenue’ basins by Gareth Ashton are paired with brushed nickel tapware, also from Abey, and offer ample space for sharing, while built-in mirrors and generous drawers deliver an expanse of storage. The VJ panelled vanity is a subtle nod

to the Queenslander’s character, while the ‘Manhattan’ wall tiles, also from Edge Tiles, and pink linen uphold Hamptons style.

“It’s an entertainer’s home, with the kitchen and deck looking out over the pool.” ~ Lisa

A Pop Plus concrete table and Matt Blatt chairs create another casual outdoor dining area downstairs for pool guests.

“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

Lisa overlooks the kids by the pool.

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