Australian Homes

Helen and Chris Bayley and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 12th June 2013

The Brisbane home of Helen and Chris Bayley and Family.  Black & Spiro cushions and window seat, Black and Spiro pendant light.  Bentwood chairs sourced from Ebay and painted.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Brisbane home of Helen and Chris Bayley and Family.  Pink couch from Black & Spiro, Richard Bell painting above couch.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files

Halltable.  Miranda Skoczek painting on wall.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Love Helen’s salon hung paintings and prints down the main hallway.  Bathroom rug from Hamimi.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking from kitchen / living room, through hallway to front door.  Miranda Skoczek painting on wall.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

You may recall our little post recently about those fabulous wall mounted  heart-shaped vases from Brisbane lawyer-turned-designer Helen Bayley of Lovestar.  WELL it really was only a matter of time before we weaselled our way into Helen’s stunning Brisbane home!   And I must say, our efforts were very well rewarded… not surprisingly, Helen’s beautifully renovated Queenslander is full of fun and colour!

Helen lives here with husband Chris (who also helps her run Lovestar – they make all the vases themselves from home) and their three young daughters, Charlotte (4), Annabelle (2) and Imogen (1).  The family have been here for six years, after taking possession of the property in Brisbane’s leafy suburb of Norman Park in 2007.

After purchasing their home, Helen and Chris lived here for two years before planning significant renovations, which took place in two parts.  ‘The house, as we purchased it, was essentially a worker’s cottage which had had a couple of dodgy renovations over the years’ explains Helen. ‘By the time we started renovating we had a pretty clear picture of what we wanted to do’.  In 2009 they tackled the first stage, which involved widening the hallway, and building in the side verandah (which Helen says she loved, but which looked straight into the house next door and wasn’t worth keeping). ‘Two of our bedrooms were off the verandah so we were able to extend these rooms and ended up with two really big bedrooms’ explains Helen. ‘The hallway went from being a narrow dark space, to a beautiful big light-filled entryway’.

In 2010 the pair undertook a more substantial renovation.  Unfortunately, a lot of the home’s character had already been lost to earlier renovations, so Helen and Chris made the decision to knock down the back of the house and re-build this section of the home from scratch. ‘We built a beautiful big kitchen with a huge window that captures the gorgeous surrounding suburban and leafy views’ says Helen. ‘We also replaced the rickety rear deck with an undercover deck which serves as an outdoor dining room that connects the kitchen to the living area, and allows us to entertain with ease’.  In the front part of the house, the incredible existing 11 foot high ceilings (!!) were retained and extended through to the new back section, which Helen says made the biggest difference to the whole space.

What I REALLY love about this home (aside from those epic high ceilings and incredible natural light!) is the amazing timber panelling throughout – or as Queenslanders call it, ‘VJ’ – which stands for ‘V-joint’ and refers to the tongue and groove profile in these popular lining boards.  This is such a common feature in Queensland homes but we see much less of it here in Melbourne… it is SO photogenic and adds instant depth and character to a space, I implore more Melburnians to GET ON BOARD.  No pun intended!

As far as favourite features go, Helen is very fond of the window seat in the dining room, furnished with cushions from one of her favourite local shops, Black & Spiro. ‘That is actually one of my favourite features of the renovation’ she says!   She also loves the round kitchen table and bentwood chairs, purchased for a bargain from eBay and hand painted in different colours.

Above all, Helen says its the light, the space and most importantly the colour which she loves most about her home.  ‘We are a young family and it’s so much fun to be in such a happy and vibrant environment – it really rubs off on you!’ she says!  I couldn’t agree more – I love the way her choices of artwork, prints and decorative flourishes just pop against those crisp white panelled walls. Helen is so much fun and a very colourful character herself, her bold choices here perfectly reflect her vibrant, bubbly personality and energetic young family.

If you love Helens’ home, do pop over and re-visit her website!  She has actually  just released a brand new range of limited edition prints, available now from her online shop!

Black & Spiro cushions and window seat, Black and Spiro pendant light.  Bentwood chairs sourced from Ebay and painted.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The biggest kitchen I have EVER set foot in!  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Beautiful outdoor dining area adjacent to kitchen.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen details. Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Love Helen’s salon hung paintings and prints down the main hallway.  The wall mounted heart-shaped vase is of course Helen’s own design for her little label, Lovestar.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Black & Spiro cushions. Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom rug from Hamimi.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Girl’s bedroom.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Hall table.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Pink couch from Black & Spiro, Richard Bell painting above couch.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files

Pink couch from Black & Spiro, Richard Bell painting above couch.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files

Front door.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files


by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 12th June 2013


  • Sonya 3 years ago

    I LOVE this home.
    The vibrancy,the warmth,the character.
    Its so alive.

  • Jane 3 years ago

    I love this home…it sings with happiness. Very inspiring.

  • Brismod 3 years ago

    Love VJs! Nice pretty home. xx

  • Jess 3 years ago

    What a beautiful home! I think I could move right in :)

  • Katie 3 years ago

    This house is awesome. I love the floors, the colours, the light and calm vibe that runs throughout. I really hope my house turns out with such a peaceful yet vibrant feeling. Thanks for sharing it with us, katie
    Ps not envious at all x

  • Chris Dent 3 years ago

    Gorgeous, gorgeous. Would love it all at my house.

  • Terri Winter 3 years ago

    So wonderful to see people so brave with colour!! And with that overall white palette it is easy for her to switch mix up whenever she likes. Very nice work. Love the wall decorations – a very creative eye.

  • Beck 3 years ago

    Such a happy home!
    P.S Loved seeing you on The Block last night :)

  • jo 3 years ago

    this is my favourite house ever. i have seen pics on black & spiro’s web page and drooled and now i can see more!! thank you. thank you!!
    love it ALL.

  • Kimmy 3 years ago

    Gotta love a Queenslander, and this one is amazeballs. Great styling…colour pop heaven! Xx

  • The Countryphiles 3 years ago

    What a perfectly uplifting splash of colour and light for such a grey rainy day as we are having today; how the seasons come and go. Just lovely. x

  • Alisha Williams 3 years ago

    Stepping inside the house literally takes your breath away. Helen is one heck of a designer and an even more incredible person. So happy to see this on TDF!

  • Pamela Oberman 3 years ago

    Sharp credit to Helen and family, a serious nod to the beauty of The Queenslander and double tick to the brave use of colour, especially pink.

  • White Forest Home 3 years ago

    What a lovely home. Some great ideas to steal from! : )

  • Luciana 3 years ago

    This is absolutely my dream home. How wonderfully creative and inspiring it must be to live in such a light filled, colourful home. Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Melissa de Campo 3 years ago

    A great example of how to use a white backdrop to highlight all your coloured collectible s.
    Veranda envy .

  • sunshine & daydreams 3 years ago

    Indeed, a happy and vibrant family home. Looking around at mine it suddenly feels dark and sad. I obviously need to invest in some pink homewares. Thanks for the inspiration, again.

  • Sarah 3 years ago

    Beautiful. Which wall paint have the used?

  • Julia 3 years ago

    OMG this is my dream home! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it so much. Just enough pretty without being too over the top girly! Jealous.

  • Melissa 3 years ago

    Gorgeous home Helen!! Ah Queenslanders such unique homes. Many years ago I lived in Norman Park but no where as pretty and colourful as this.

  • Harriet 3 years ago

    Very cute. And so white & clean! Love the Richard Bell painting.

  • The Minimalist 3 years ago

    So vibrant and beautiful! And an absolutely gorgeous kitchen too.

    x Leah

  • jas 3 years ago

    Such a gorgeous bright and cheery home, love all the little artworks and the white canvas that has so many pops of colour. I’m a big fan of tongue n groove panelling, it’s right up there with pressed metal in my opinion!

  • Dyani 3 years ago

    So lovely!

  • Melissa 3 years ago

    Amazing colour – what a fun home!

  • Em 3 years ago

    This post has convinced me about painting our walls white. Have been debating with hubby for months. Such gorgeous pops of colour really look so good on white. Thanks Lucy!

  • Emilia Moushoulof 3 years ago

    Love this lovely bright space. Love how you can see right through from one end of the hall to the other. Pretty and bright unlike the miserable weather in Sydney today!!

  • Leila 3 years ago

    Oh that cheered me up… x

  • Eco Chic 3 years ago

    So nice to see a Queenslander with lots of white paint and pops of jewel tones!

  • Melanie Sherwell 3 years ago

    Nice one! Love the lamps!! :)

  • Fred 3 years ago

    Nice…also very excited to see you on the Block

  • Katie 3 years ago

    Feeling happy just to see the light and colour of this Qld home (specially on a dreary Melbourne day)!

  • Bryndís Jónsdóttir 3 years ago

    Beautiful home and all the colors make it a happy place. Great balance. I really enjoy your posts and often refer to them on my interior design page on Facebook :
    So a big thank You all the way from Iceland.

  • Robyn 3 years ago

    VJ’s like PJ’s… Love

  • Indi 3 years ago

    Wow this house is amazing

  • carly 3 years ago

    Cute! I can spy Umbrella Prints Grand Hearts fabric in Highlighter Pink on Helen and Chris’ gorgeous pink couch. Loving all the crisp white offset by such amazing colour.

  • Melissa 3 years ago

    I LOVE this home. Please let me move in. It screams of gumdrops & rainbows and everything happy. I’m so inspired!

  • Jill Brandenburg 3 years ago

    A D O R A B L E!!!!! Love it!

  • Fiona 3 years ago


  • Liz 3 years ago

    I feel inspired by this house too – I love the wee patchwork stools in the children’s room. Well done.

  • Usually I’m not a big fan of houses with lots of bright colors because it’s sensory overload but I LOVE this house. The use of white walls and cabinetry and the large windows with lots of natural light make it work. Truly an amazing house!

  • SmilynStef 3 years ago

    This house makes me smile … and want to move in.

  • Gabby 3 years ago

    Found your link on the Ingenious Inkling blog. LOVE this house! The wood floors and white, white, white is a more than perfect backdrop for the array of bright colors and prints found in the furniture and decor. It’s like a giant canvas on which to create. LOVE it! :)

  • Angelina Timour 3 years ago

    What does the outside look like, did they do the completely white theme on the exterior too? I love that it’s all white and they’ve used the accessories to pop colour! Also do you know what “white” that is?

  • creativeheartscomau 3 years ago

    Yes I love Queenslander homes! The VJs, the verandahs, the weather! Perfect!

  • Jaynine 3 years ago

    Just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration within this post. We had a flood which unleashed 15 years worth of black mould behind our walls. Long story short, we are starting over again, with no furniture and a white wall blank canvas! Exciting but, we’re renters with low decor abilities; & having to replace everything lost has given us a tiny budget.
    HOWEVER, thanks to the shares within this post, I am enthusiastic about the inspiration thats POPPED into my mid! Thank You so much! Kindly, J9;)

  • Souri 3 years ago

    Wow … this combination just works. White walls as a blank canvas with colour everywhere. Looks amazing. But we all know it’s an ideal world we get presented here … no one cooking – no kids leaving toys everywhere … amazing fresh flowers. Hehe … but one can dream …

  • Aurea Marina 3 years ago

    Casa muito bonita identifico-me muito com esta casa pois tem cores lindíssimas e tudo bem distribuído suponho que tem também algumas reciclagens e um objeto que gostei muito na cozinha o “galo de Barcelos ” de Portugal não me enganei pois não ? eu como portuguesa gostei imenso. Felicidades para viver sonhos lindos nessa casa, parabéns…..

  • Matt Cornell 2 years ago

    I definitely love the high ceilings that we get in Queensland too. Those floor boards look amazing too. Great article and beautiful home renovation! Congratulations to Helen and Chris.

  • Tray 1 year ago

    You have done a wonderful job Helen and Chris. You have shared really amazing ideas for home renovation. I was looking for such fabulous ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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