A Queenslander Reno

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    Let’s just say that undertaking a full scale renovation of a six bedroom house in a ten week time frame does not come without its challenges. Add to this an extra degree of difficulty due to not knowing any local trades or having any building industry contacts after having just moved interstate and you’ll appreciate the learning curve that I have climbed over the past three months. Armed with nothing more than a hammer and three teenage sons to help me do the heavy lifting (along with a work weary husband who may be home after travelling all week) I set myself a goal and chose to ignore the scoffs of the naysayers that said my budget was too low and time frame too short. What would they know?

    DESIGN Sian MacPherson | PHOTOGRAPHY Cathy Schusler

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    As it turns out the naysayers did know a thing or two about budgeting for a Queenslander reno – but they knew nothing about my own determination to have the project finish on time. Disappointingly, my budget was too low, and as a consequence one of the first lessons I learned about renovating a Qld’er is that going over budget by 30% isn’t really considered going over budget at all – its referred to as ‘contingency’. As for time frame – well I was one week over. Eleven weeks it took to totally strip the two storey, six bedroom home apart and then put it all back together again.

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    During the process I discovered that I really love demolition and ripping things apart. I love cleaning things up and then throwing things out and I really loved stepping away from the computer and getting my hands dirty and my fingernails ripped to shreds. I knew that I loved the process of choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings but working within a tight budget upped the ante on the challenge of creating a beautiful home that I would actually want to live in.

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    Thanks to the help of Hive by Laminex, the new design showroom in Alexandria, Sydney, I was able to make decisions confidently and quickly when it came to the kitchens and bathrooms based on my personal preference for a ‘Laminex Zen style’ aesthetic. My love for a white interior and black wardrobe is often mocked by friends and family alike and when it came to choosing a particular style for this particular renovation I persisted with my predilection for a calm, restful palette that exudes a sense of calm and sanctuary – far from the chaos that is generally my life – on the outside of an otherwise Zen interior.

    Accessing Hive for colour, decor selections and design inspiration cues helped me to narrow down my colour palette to consist of the palest of greys with the  Essastone  White Concrete benchtop chosen for the kitchen and butlers pantry and Laminex FormWrap in Polar White cabinetry  throughout. For the bathrooms I chose Essastone in Caolino Matt for the vanity tops to continue the pure white look and feel with the black tapware and the grey stone tiles adding a darker monochromatic punch that I was after. In the laundry a slightly darker grey bench top was chosen with Essastone in Ash Concrete combined with Laminex FormWrap in Polar White cabinetry to create a fresh, light filled space that would be a joy to work in while undertaking the most mundane of jobs – dealing with the family’s dirty laundry.

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    “The Essastone White Concrete that was used on the benchtops and splashback in the kitchen, is a really soft, pale grey that is not easily picked up in these photographs. There is a definite overarching subtlety to this monochromatic colour scheme.”

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    “Choosing a colour palette of black, white and pale concrete grey, the once yellow weatherboard home was painted in Dulux half strength Lexicon inside and out with timber floors stained in Black Japan with a matte finish . Downstairs the white epoxy floor finish took three attempts to achieve but so worth the effort now its complete. ”

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17 comments on “A Queenslander Reno

  1. This extraordinary makeover has allowed all Sian’s imagination and creativity to come to the fore. What a stellar result! The calm and restraint of the colour scheme is a perfect foil to the size of the big Queenslander. It takes a big heart to completely strip everything out and remodel absolute everything – and to do it all in eleven weeks. A superb achievement Sian MacPherson.

  2. You are honestly are one of the most talented designers I know Sian. The transformation of this incredible ugly home is now the most tranquil, peaceful, family home I have ever seen. You truly are one clever girl who is not afraid to get her hands ” literally ” dirty. So proud of you! Let’s hope a Qld family appreciates how clever you truly are.

  3. Love a Queenslander house, what a difference from the old to the new.!
    A wonderful exercise for a home reno and you did it beautifully.
    Am sure you and your family will enjoy the sea change…..and just in time for
    festive celebrations…

    Marilyn (Bali and Sydney)

  4. Great work! What a wonderful transformation – there are too many homes with that hideous yellow/brown flooring stuff in it. You’ve done a great thing for humanity in removing it!

  5. Love the house Sian you are a magician. I am in the next suburb and cannot stop driving buy and admiring such beautiful architecture and style. Wish it was mine.

  6. Wow
    Having lived in Brisbane in the late 80s & done a small Queenslander myself – loved what you have achieved ,
    Loved the blanket in the main bedroom ? – could you let me know where it’s from ?
    Will look forward to seeing your next project !

  7. These are all obviously womens comments. Nice white non descript decor, bet your husband is estatic with all the sterile white, does he still work away by any chance.

  8. What a fabulous renovation!! Absolutely love it!! Your charcoal tiles in your bathrooms… are you able to tell me where they are from? In the process of planning bathroom renovations & absolutely love these!

  9. Really beautifully done! Out of curiosity… What was the original budget before the ‘contingency’

  10. Oh my goodness!! I’m gobsmacked!!! This transformation. Is simply incredible, love the colour palette. I would love and be most grateful to get the details of the tradies you utilised to assist me with my renovations. Well done again what an achievement!!

  11. Could you please let me know the exterior white paint you used for this reno. We live on the beach and are currently looking at Surfmist Guttering, Eaves with lexicon quarter low sheen for the render ( please note we have a terracotta roof).

  12. Hi Jason,

    The exterior white paint is Dulux half-strength Lexicon that was used both inside and outside.


    the est team

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