Integral to this project’s success was maintaining the home’s original charm while transforming it into a modern family residence.
It’s hard to believe this home was originally an old, one-storey worker’s cottage with two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen and very small bathroom. It wasn’t until designer Helen Glover of HG Inside and builder Glenn Bradford got to work on its derelict state that this inner-city cottage was transformed into a stylish hub for a modern family.
The initial plan was to maintain as much of the original building as possible, but Helen soon discovered this was not going to be achievable. After close consideration there was only one wall that was possible to retain. “We had to take great care to ensure that the replacement structure remained as true to the traditional worker’s cottage as possible,” she recalls. As part of the redesign, an extension was added to the back of the property for a new kitchen and deck area.
The brief was to develop a home that would comfortably cater to a family with two children while exuding a relaxing feel.The space needed to be functional, with warmth and character, and luxurious without being too precious. It is now a two-storey, three-bedroom dwelling with study, two bathrooms, lounge, small dining and kitchen.
On the ground level you’ll find the parents’ retreat. It’s here Helen ensured the busy owners could find a peaceful space that reinvigorated them for their demanding schedules. The master bedroom features a walk-in wardrobe fitted neatly under the stairs with an ensuite designed to meld with the bedroom area. It is placed along one of the walls with two basins and two showers. “It enables the use of dual and decadent fittings. By not boxing it with walls, we have gained an additional metre-and-a-half of space in the bedroom,” says Helen. Bi-fold doors lead to a private courtyard space which floods the area with natural light and creating a tranquil zone that’s a real treat for the owners to escape to.
One of the main challenges of the project was generating the illusion of a spacious main zone. The original roof structure was sound, so the ceiling was removed in the main body of the lounge showcasing the old beams and leaving a wonderful cathedral ceiling. The entire back of the home was completed with bi-fold doors and windows to create a light and airy feel. The Nina Campbell ‘Paradiso’ wallpaper completes the eclectic space.
The kitchen was originally a limiting U shape, however the plan was to place the major appliances along the two main walls, leaving a space for an old-style “stabledoor” adjacent to a large alfresco island bench. “In order to have a place for the kids and guests to congregate, we took the bench straight under the bi-fold window. Having the bi-fold doors on one side and the stabledoor on the other created a central island bench which just happened to be half in the house and half outside the house,” adds Helen. It’s the final touches that bring this heart of the home to life, including the use of open-plan shelving, an old butler’s sink and a limited-edition classic Falcon stove.
The home is full of intriguing character and texture and it’s hard for Helen to pinpoint her favourite feature, however she does hold a soft spot for the upstairs bathroom. “Using a stunning Italian vanity and amazing glass tiles, the room has a wet zone centred around an old cast-iron bath we hand-painted to get its unique colour,” she says.
What makes this home come together and work as a true family hub and luxurious space is the way in which each area has its own character, yet still manages to mesh as one. It was a tight space to work with but Helen Glover has managed to make it functional and stylish, with a unique warmth and welcoming feel to it.
18 Doggett Street, Fortitude Valley Qld 4006
Tel 07 3252 7500
Fax 07 3252 7599
Photography Clive Buxton