Real estate listings are often heavily seasoned with superlatives, but when this Brisbane home came on the market it truly was a ‘rare find’. The 1930s Federation-style bungalow sits on an elevated quarter-acre block with extraordinary sweeping views of the city and hinterland Scenic Rim, which could be enjoyed from the swimming pool or while having a hit on the tennis court.
For interior designer Lisa Alward’s client, who bought the property in 2020, the home ticked all the major boxes. “He grew up just down the road and, as his parents still lived in the area, he’d been looking for the right property to move closer to them and this was it,” explains Lisa. “The location was perfect, he loved the home’s heritage features and the potential it offered for entertaining and adding his own touch.”
Who lives here?
A Brisbane-based property developer and fund manager.
Best design decision? Lisa: “Increasing the size of the terrace to enhance the indoor/outdoor flow and entertaining space around the pool.”
How do you approach interiors for heritage homes? “I like to pay homage to the home’s history, while incorporating the client’s specific needs, to create functional spaces that are beautiful and timeless.”
What’s your favourite feature? “From the minute you step through the gate, the house and beautiful gardens are revealed and it feels like you’ve entered a serene paradise.”
The bungalow had previously been renovated, yet with a desire to further enhance the home’s size and level of luxury, the owner engaged architect Salvador Farrajota of The Artificial. He was tasked with extending the footprint, adding a cantilevered gym, hot tub, lower-level alfresco area, massage room and sauna. “This home was rich with character appeal, which we needed to balance with the client’s desire to modernise,” says Lisa.
Wonderful Federation features include the terracotta-tiled gable roof, jewel-like leadlight glass, bedroom bay windows and a long central corridor, all of which were retained and enhanced with a fresh palette and decorative elements that paid homage to the home’s era. Lashings of Dulux Natural White and Dulux Lexicon Quarter were used inside and out, original floorboards were sanded and stained a warm brown, and personality was added with wallpaper, artwork and beautiful lighting.
The original timber floorboards came up a treat with a thorough sanding and a fresh coat of warm stain, and the existing leadlight front door was refreshed with Dulux Lexicon Quarter and new hardware. “Adding all brass new window and door hardware was a subtle yet effective way of elevating a luxury feel with a hint of lustre,” says Lisa.
In the hall, a custom ‘Chromatic’ hand-knotted wool runner in Ginger from Halcyon Lake leads the eye to where a Rachel Prince artwork, In the Clouds, takes pride of place. “To help protect the floor in high-traffic areas I specified rugs, which blend subtly with the scheme,” explains Lisa of the newly refreshed timber floors.
As the kitchen’s existing Corian benchtops in Deep Night Sky and white gloss vinyl-wrap joinery were in perfect condition, a major overhaul wasn’t at the top of the agenda. Instead, Lisa updated the space with new Grazia and Co ‘Diiva’ swivel stools, a Timothy Oulton ‘Iceberg’ dining table and ‘Mimi’ dining chairs from Coco Republic.
The homeowner’s love of the Mediterranean and desire to be surrounded by a sea of blue saw waves of cerulean sweep through the interiors. “A simple yet really effective alteration was switching the living room windows to French doors, which opened the space out to the pool and gave the interior an incredible sparkling blue backdrop that is echoed with turquoise accents in soft furnishings,” explains Lisa.
Inspired by the owner’s love of the Sicilian coastline and the home’s pool, which forms an azure backdrop to the living area, Lisa chanelled a palette of Mediterranean blues. The Armadillo ‘Agra’ rug in Kingfisher is paired with a plump Molmic ‘Hudson’ sofa and custom cushions in Kelly Wearstler ‘Graffito’ fabric in Teal/Pearl.
“The brief was to create an interior with a timeless, elegant aesthetic.”
Spaces were reconfigured on the upper main level, with a former games room converted into a spacious main bedroom, perfectly positioned to take in city vistas and benefit from a clever reshuffle that allowed for an ensuite, walk-in-robe and office.
“The biggest change with the bedroom was relocating the leadlight doors, which now open to the living area, allowing an unobstructed view to the pool.”– Lisa
Casamance ‘Gustav’ wallpaper in Sable defines the study within the main suite. Lisa teamed a Barolo desk with a Timothy Oulton ‘Mimi’ dining chair, both from Coco Republic.
The previous owner had recently renovated the first-floor bathroom, so it was easily finished with a Coco Republic ‘Knox’ side table and Aura Home towels in Clay.
A velvet bedhead in the guest room is teamed with L&M Home cushions and Coco Republic ‘Amsterdam’ bedsides.
Pool and garden
The large block also lent itself to a complete garden overhaul, with Andrew Munro of Define Landscape Architecture at the helm of the redesign. This involved reimagining dishevelled garden beds to create a cohesive leafy space, layered with a variety of foliage, colours and textures. “A significant undertaking was excavating the front yard to provide the perfect foundation for a large expanse of soft fine-leaf Zoysia that flowed between new paths,” he explains.
The verdant, manicured and low-mow lawn is a focal point that perfectly offsets the home’s white exterior. “As the area can be quite shady, ‘Sir Grange Zoysia’ was chosen as it handles low light well and has a lovely fine blade,” says landscape designer Andrew Munro. “To help establish a strong, healthy root network, we prepared the site with a deep layer of sand under a quality underturf blend.”We love… lush lawns.
A go-to entertaining area, the pool zone was upgraded with glass fencing and the surrounding travertine from Amber Tiles was extended to increase the outdoor living space. Poolside loungers from Lavita Furniture are scattered with cushions from Provincial Home Living.
Although the project has since evolved, with Lisa sourcing additional furnishings and consulting on subsequent additions, the bulk of the work was finished in time for the homeowner to enjoy Christmas 2021 at his stunning abode – surely the best gift of the season.
Interior design: Bella Vie Interiors, bellavieinteriors.com.SOURCE BOOK
Architect: The Artificial, theartificial.com.au.
Builder: Winacres Property Group, winacrespg.com.au.
Landscaping: Define Landscape Architecture, definela.com.au.