As is the case for many southerners who migrate north, it was the lure of the warmer weather that enticed Andy and Stephen to move from Victoria to Queensland with children Charlie, nine, and Izzy, seven. “I was sick of feeling the cold and I made a deal with Stephen that he could choose the location, but I’d have carte blanche on the interiors,” says Andy.
Drawn to the Sunshine Coast, where they regularly holidayed, Stephen discovered a place that ticked all of their boxes – a 10-acre property enveloped in bush.
Here, they could enjoy the serenity of living out of town, while being close enough to the beach to sink their toes into the sand during the weekends. Andy could also see incredible potential in the ’80s yellow-rendered farmhouse sitting on the block.
“I wanted our home to be as light and bright as possible, so there was only one way to go – paint it all white,” she reflects. With expertise in project management and interiors, Andy organised for the entire top floor – featuring timber-panelled cathedral ceilings and timber floors – to be painted before they moved in.
Within three months, the entire renovation was complete. “We changed every single surface – the tradies thought we were mad, but we had a vision and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” she says.
Inspired by Andy’s Greek heritage and a love for Mediterranean architecture, the original basic interior was re-imagined through the introduction of moulded curves and arches.
Rooms were layered with antique bleached Indian pieces and vintage finds, while fluoro strip lights were replaced with statement pendants, imbuing the home with an eclectic and global feel.
For a unique bathroom look, existing tiles and dated fixtures were ripped out and the walls rendered in a smooth waterproof finish. In lieu of standard vanities, vintage Indian consoles were fitted with marble basins and Turkish taps.
Andy retained the original footprint in the home’s kitchen, but transformed the space, with benchtops finished in hand-poured concrete, new timber cabinetry and a striking wall of open shelves.
Downstairs, a storage room and garage space were converted into an additional guest room that opens out to the pool area, where you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’re in Santorini itself.
“I love the look of flowing curves, so we had built-in rendered furniture created for the guest room, which flows outside to form the pool fencing and a seating area,” explains Andy.
With their own pocket of rainforest on the block, as well as a creek and orchard, the family has truly taken to their new life. “Stephen loves driving around on his tractor,” says Andy. “On weekends we’ll do family walks to ‘check the boundaries’ and pick lemons.
The wildlife here is next level.” The week they moved in they found a baby python curled up in a sofa, and a snake catcher has since been back several times.
The family also takes delight in regularly spotting kangaroos, tiny pygmy possums, king parrots, frogs and wild ducks. “Living here gives us the best of both worlds – the bush with the beach nearby,” says Andy. “Stephen chose well; we love it here.”
“Home is a wonderful refuge. Our time here is our own.” ~ Andy
“Research your desired area and prioritise the land over the home itself. It’s important the home is well positioned with a great aspect.”
“For this house, I’ve gone for a coastal farmhouse look, with a mix of natural textures, vintage finds and modern ethnic pieces.”