Michael and Carlene Duffy purchased this property in semi-rural Tallebudgera in 2009, and spent the first year chipping away at a very basic renovation, to make the place liveable. ‘What we bought was one-and-a-half acres of land, with a three level structure that wrapped around a pool,’ Carlene recalls. ‘It was very, very basic – no kitchen benches, no flooring etc,’ Carlene recalls. The ‘before’ pics are not for the faint hearted – have a look here!
Affectionately referred to as ‘Our Big Beautiful Money Pit’, Michael and Carlene’s home has been a labour of love for the past eight years.
‘Very little logic came into play when we purchased this property, it was all heart and lust… We knew then, as we know now, that as long as we’re patient and content to chip away at it ourselves over 10 years, it will be a hell of place to bring up kids and eventually worth it!’
Last year, the industrious pair finally tackled ‘stage two’ of their renovations, which was filmed as part of a TV show – Ready Set Reno, on 9Life. All up, this final phase took about 15 months.
A light-filled breezeway now connects the living area to the sleeping quarters at the other side of the house, enveloping the pool.
Carlene designed all the interiors herself, relishing the opportunity to design a long term home for her own family. Combining bold, robust texture and finishes, the interiors are fun and functional, featuring red brick, bold colour and refined details.
‘I’ve borrowed what I love from different styles to create a home that is true to us,’ Carlene explains. ‘The rough sawn timber cladding with moulding has a modern barn-like feel, and the white window frames provide a coastal influence’. Inside, Carlene wanted plenty of texture, so opted to clad internal walls in Easycraft V-Joint panels, in a nod to the traditional ‘Queenslander’ home.
The landscaping, too, has been carefully considered; the pair worked with landscape designer Dave Franklin on a Palm Springs-inspired outdoor area.
Though they have renovated countless properties over the past 10 years, this home was a particularly challenging project for Michael and Carlene because it was filmed for TV. ‘The show deadline meant there was little room for error. Once our reveal shoot was booked in, we had no choice but to get the house over the line in time!’ Carlene explains. ‘It was a mad dash race to the finish, but having that as motivation meant that we weren’t tempted to leave half complete. We had it landscaped and fully furnished, which made it so much more rewarding. Stressful but rewarding!’