This Pastel Pink Former Schoolhouse Is One Of Brisbane’s Dreamiest Getaways

Moments from Brisbane’s luxurious James Street precinct lies one of the city’s newest (and coolest!) heritage guesthouses – Miss Midgley’s.

The 160-year-old building has served as a stately private home, convent, and hospital before a local teacher called Annie Midgley turned her family home into a private school.

More than a century after she opened Miss Midgley’s Educational Establishment, architects and mother-daughter duo Lisa and Isabella White have thoughtfully converted the property into a boutique hotel, with dreamy pink-toned interiors!

Christina Karras

Inside one of the five apartments available to book at Miss Midgley’s! Photo – David Chatfield

‘The building’s journey began in 1860 as a private home under the name of Cairncross House; an extremely rare example of colonial architecture built out of Brisbane’s heritage tuff,’ owner and architect Izzie White explains. Photo – David Chatfield

Being one of the city’s oldest buildings, the property also served as an orphanage, the home to a former premier of Queensland, a private hospital called St Claire in the 1890s before being sold to the Midgley family in 1903. Photo – David Chatfield

Today the apartments blend old and new, with their own kitchen and outdoor spaces. Photo – David Chatfield

Conserving and showcasing the beautiful stone walls was one of their main goals in the renovation, choosing colours that referenced and celebrated the tones in the ‘famous Brisbane stone’. Photo – David Chatfield

Izzie says each apartment’s floor plan is completely different. ‘We’ve used sign writers to leave little notes all over the building explaining small oddities and new interventions. It’s the adult equivalent of a treasure hunt!’ Photo – David Chatfield

An inviting pool and deck rounds out the dreamy getaway! Photo – David Chatfield

The entire guesthouse is also available to be booked out and can sleep up to 16 people! Photo – David Chatfield

The summery, pastel pink theme is also a homage to when the building was a pink set of flats back in the 1950s. Photo – David Chatfield

Christina Karras
23rd of August 2022

Miss Midgley’s is one of Brisbane’s dreamiest new boutique hotels, sporting a pastel pink theme and beautifully renovated interiors. But behind the heritage-listed building’s recent restoration is almost 160 years’ worth of history.

It’s hard to believe that architects and mother-daughter duo Lisa and Izzie White bought the property last year in a state of disrepair. It had lived many lives since being built as a residence in the 1860s, before a local teacher called Annie Midgley turned her family home into a private school to aid overcrowding at New Farm state school across the road.

‘She called it Miss Midgley’s Educational Establishment,’ Izzie explains. ‘We knew immediately that Miss Midgley would be our inspiration on the building’s next journey.’

Keeping her name and school as their inspiration, they’ve created a charming accomodation of five self-contained apartments. Each has its own outdoor space and a full kitchen, featuring terrazzo benches and terracotta features. Guests can now stay in rooms dubbed ‘Principals Office’ or ‘Locker Room’ as playful references to the property’s past, while making the most of a new tropical pool and sun deck area!

It took just 12 months for the clever mother-daughter team to refurbish, redesign and open Miss Midgley’s doors as a boutique hotel. ‘This includes getting the development approved by council and the design period,’ Izzie says, crediting the impressive turnaround to her mum’s architectural career and involvement in small scale developments.

The pair also ‘made a lot of decisions on site’ as construction unfolded, finding new ways to pay homage to the building’s layered history. They embraced its heritage facade and took cues from the stone walls for their contemporary palette of pink, rust, and brown. Izzie and Lisa even enlisted architectural historian Marianne Taylor to write up a book on the history of the house and the land, with a copy now thoughtfully included in each room.

‘Our early heritage investigations revealed many layers of pink paint,’ Izzie adds. ‘The building has been painted pink for over 120 years and was known as the Pink Flats from the 1950s [when it was converted into apartments]. As the new custodians of the building, we didn’t want to lose that history.’ Instead, they opted for a modern version of the shade, using a ½ strength coat of Dulux Quiet Pink for the exterior!

‘The building has a special feel about it,’ she says. ‘It has stood on that hill since the start of Brisbane’s development as a city and holds a special place in the community. You can feel that when you stay there – the past and present overlap.’

Book your stay at Miss Midgley’s here.

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