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A Stylish Transformation For This Federation Home (With No Structural Changes!)

Interiors

The Toowong House is a lesson in working with what you’ve got!

Not even a door handle was replaced when styling this Brisbane Federation home, but that didn’t stop stylists Cedar + Suede from enhancing the beautiful period features, introducing contemporary furnishings, and paying homage to the heritage of this sweet old Queenslander.

21st October, 2019

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Amelia Barnes
Monday 21st October 2019

‘This home is special in its unpretentiousness. It reminds me of a simpler time.’ – Carlene Duffy

It’s not often we come across a project where not a single structural or semi-permanent change has been made! Without so much has replacing a tap or painting a wall, Cedar + Suede have effectively revitalised this Brisbane federation home for a new era.

The owners of this late 19th century property in Toowong, Brisbane, wanted to retain the high ceilings, decorative windows and Queenslander doors, while introducing a contemporary feel suitable for their young family. ‘Homes of this period have character in spades, which takes the hard work out of the styling process,’ says Cedar + Suede director Carlene Duffy. ‘I love that the end result is a nod to the origins of the home, but with its own spin.’

While the existing character of the home offered plenty in the way of decorating inspiration, this also proposed some challenges. Instead of the open-plan living spaces we’re accustomed to today, the layout of this home contains defined rooms, that can be tricky to furnish without disrupting how residents naturally move throughout the space.

‘The abundance of doors and windows actually limited me in terms of furniture placement, so I had to think smart,’ Carlene says. ‘I wanted to maximise seating in the living room without making it feel cluttered, and the sofa had to fit to the millimetre. The round dining table was key to promoting fluidity in the space, and the fact that we found one in the perfect size without having to have it custom made, was a real win.’

Carlene was also inspired by the home’s location, which was similar to an area she daydreamed about as a child. ‘There was something so familiar about this Queenslander in its treelined suburban setting that felt like home to me,’ she says. ‘The quaint sized house on the large block with big backyard triggered happy nostalgia.’

Prints by local photographer (and TDF contributor!) Kara Rosenlund feature in the bedrooms, setting the colour scheme and tone for each space. ‘I love Kara’s Australian themes and the fact that she’s a Brisbane local is a bonus,’ Carlene says. The addition of cane furniture further pays homage to the north Queensland climate and its laidback aesthetic’.

This now complete home is perfectly described by Carlene on her Instagram, where she writes: ‘This home is special in its unpretentiousness. It reminds me of a simpler time. It feels like the home has opted out of the bigger and better race and is entirely comfortable in its own skin – stoic and unperturbed by the fast world and changes happening all around it. It makes me want to take a big deep breath.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net