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sea change

From habitat magazine - issue 38, feature home

A near-century-old worker’s cottage in Queensland couldn’t have landed in better hands.

When Jared and Sarah bought their 1930s home in Burleigh Heads, its mood was anything but coastal chic. The living room featured pink walls and matted, purple carpet; its kitchen was crumbling, the deck partially rotted. It might have been enough to scare off the average buyer, but for builder Jared and interior designer Sarah, behind the home’s shortcomings was its potential. All it needed was a bit of love – and an injection of bold colours such as Resene Double Foundry and Resene Bunting.

A classic coastal home exterior in Resene Double Foundry

“We wanted to create a home with colours that were classic and wouldn’t date,” Sarah says of her Queensland home painted in Resene Double Foundry and Resene Black White.

“We bought the place over a decade ago and knew it needed work, but we felt drawn to the cottage’s history and story. As a builder and designer team, we could see how it would evolve as our forever family home,” says Sarah. Experienced renovators (the pair run their own company, Davey Constructions), Jared and Sarah first got stuck in with basic cosmetic work. “I was pregnant with twins at the time, so we just tidied up the place a bit.”

The worker’s cottage has been a busy household since, with twins Kade and Harry (11), Beau (9), and a beach-loving British Bulldog called Bruce now in the mix. But the pandemic, which forced the world to slow down a bit, offered the perfect opportunity for stage two of the renovations.

An original brick fireplace in the living room

The original brick fireplace sits at the heart of the living room, surrounded by sophisticated neutrals, with walls in Resene Wan White.

“Renovating has never been easy to fit in between running our business and family time; we’d always put it off,” Sarah says. “But during the lockdowns, we weren’t sure what would happen in the building industry, so we took the opportunity to work on our place,” Sarah says.

“We didn’t want to knock the original cottage down. It had a warmth to it, and we wanted to do things sustainably. While its layout wasn’t great for kids, its bones were great.”

They designed around original features in the cottage, such as a brick fireplace and archway. “We made most of our design decisions about six months out before the build, which made a huge difference to stress levels. Working as a husband-and-wife team was the highlight of the renovation. We were organised, and the build was on time, which is extremely rare in the industry.”

The difficulty came in moving into a two-bedroom unit with three boys under 10 for six months while they renovated. “It was certainly close quarters,” says Sarah.

The boys appreciated having their own bedroom when they eventually moved back into the renovated home. Thanks to a redesign of the original floor plan, bedrooms for the kids were carved out with plenty of added storage space, plus a mud room. The cottage also grew by 170 square metres; an open-plan dining and kitchen space was built, connecting to an al fresco area.

The home’s exterior makes a statement with weatherboards in Resene Double Foundry, a blue-toned charcoal. “We get lots of comments about the colour of our home. We painted our garage in Resene Double Foundry a while back to separate it from the house and loved it. We debated being super safe and painting the rest of the home in white, but then we thought, ‘Why not go nautical and bold?”

Friends often comment on their rich colour palette, which continues inside. Deep Resene Foundry is chic on the kitchen cabinetry, popping against Resene Wan White on the walls in the living space. “The deep charcoal tone makes other colours sing. In our living room, we have peplum architraves, and Resene Wan White adds crispness.”

The family opted for different colours in the boys’ rooms in the older part of the home. “We’ve gone gangbusters on the colour in the kids’ rooms and went for Resene Flax in two of the boys’ rooms, with Resene Bunting in the other.”

A modern open plan kitchen

The open plan kitchen and dining area is a new addition to the house with bold Resene Double Foundry cabinetry and walls painted in Resene Wan White. The ceiling is Resene Half Wan White. “It’s one of our favourite spaces to spend time in,” Sarah says. “It feels quite grand and opulent.”

Choosing colours for children’s rooms can be tricky, Sarah says. “We asked them all for their favourite colours. One of my sons was keen on orange, so I got very excited looking at rich terracotta tones – I knew it would work beautifully with Resene Flax. Then he did a complete flip on me – as kids do – and said he wanted blue.”

Sarah notes that choosing colours that complement each other and flow in a home is essential. “Their rooms are opposite each other in the hallway, so I wanted to find a green and blue that worked harmoniously together. Resene Flax and Resene Bunting were a great pairing, and they’re colours that will mature with the boys as their rooms evolve.”

A bold and soothing childs bedroom

In the children’s bedrooms, Sarah and Jared opted for bold but soothing colours. This one has Resene Flax walls with trims in Resene Black White. The walls in another child’s room are painted in muted blue Resene Bunting.

A calming master bedroom

The master bedroom makes brilliant use of natural fibres and finishes, with fresh walls in Resene Wan White to create a carefree beachy feel.

In the boys’ bathroom, Sarah’s playful use of colour continues. Resene Fossil is deep yet soothing on the VJ (vertical joints) feature wall. “We put tiles in there that are a lovely creamy colour, and we wanted the feature wall to work with those. That cream tone can be challenging, but we found Resene Fossil and were super excited.”

The master bedroom is laidback yet luxurious, with neutral furnishings and Resene Wan White on another vertical feature wall behind the bed. “The beautiful thing is that textures on walls can considerably change how a colour looks. The VJ cladding brought Resene Wan White to life and changed its feel. It pops against a timber shelf we ran above the bed.”

A brick archway in the living room

This original brick archway anchors one corner of the living area against the Resene Wan White walls and cabinetry in Resene Double Foundry.

A hallway painted with classic interior colours

“We wanted to create a home with colours that were classic and wouldn’t date,” Sarah says. “We didn’t necessarily look to what’s in style or on-trend now because we wanted that longevity.” This transitional hallway is a perfect expression of that classicism with walls in Resene Wan White.

top tip  If you have an older character home and want a traditional colour scheme, check out the Resene Heritage colour palette at your local Resene ColorShop, or for a timeless colour scheme, check out the Resene Classics Collection.

The house won the Master Builders Queensland Award for Best Home Renovation/Remodelling Project from $650,000 up to $1 million on the Gold Coast and it’s not just the judges who enjoy the home’s design. Sarah says visiting friends and neighbours describe it as a “warm hug”.

“It’s rich in colours, warm in its textures and isn’t too pretentious. It’s a home people feel welcome in, and we can have a great family life here.” Sarah says she didn’t want to design the house in a Hamptons style, with the roaring surf of Burleigh Heads just down the street.

“It just isn’t that. It’s a near-100-year-old family home with a rich history. It took a decent amount of planning to ensure we kept the integrity of the original home while maintaining a more modern aesthetic that won’t date.” Sarah says her Resene colours radiate warmth and echo the cottage’s character. “Colour is there to be enjoyed in life. Why not get experimental?”

A stunning outdoor room

The stunning outdoor room on the back of the home, with weatherboards in Resene Double Foundry and trim in Resene Black White, creates a stunning, functional link between the house, backyard and pool.


Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.

Kitchen cabinetry painted in Resene Double Foundry
Resene Double Foundry is carried through to the cabinetry in the laundry, lending it a sophisticated edge.

Surface saviours

Resene SpaceCote Kitchen & Bathroom is a low sheen interior paint ideal for walls in wet and steamy areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. The waterborne enamel contains antibacterial silver and MoulDefender for added hygiene in these spaces.

Come to the dark side

Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen is an exterior paint that’s ideal for a wide range of projects including timber weatherboards, fences and concrete surfaces. If you’re choosing a dark colour, opt for a Resene CoolColour. The heat reflective technology will help keep surfaces cooler and provide additional UV protection.

Decking out the exterior

Elevate your outdoor area by staining your deck with Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain. Simply wash your deck with Resene Timber and Deck Wash before staining in your favourite hue. Try using a Deckmaster brush for easier application. Refresh wooden furniture with Resene Furniture and Decking Oil.

Alternative solution – adaptable outdoor living

entertaining for everybody

Designer Christine Hodges suggests this alternative scheme:

Christine Hodges
Christine Hodges

I wanted to do something different and make this a fun, adaptable and flexible space where the furniture can be moved around depending who is entertaining and how. Maybe it’s a formal dinner, a buffet, a dance floor, a games night, a movie night, maybe just relaxing reading a book or watching the children in the pool. I wanted the area to have the flexibility to be dressed up or down. I also kept everything at a low profile so as to not interrupt the view to the pool and garden. I added Resene wallpaper on the ceiling because everyone forgets the ceiling is a perfect place to add a paint colour or a wallpaper as it doesn’t fade, it creates interest and can be dramatic. The floor is a sandy colour paired with blue walls to invoke the beach, blue skies and water. Because the wallpaper is bright and bold, I’ve kept the blue walls to a more subdued shade that still connects to the feature ceiling.

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Christine Hodges - alternative solution for an outdoor room

Resene Wallpaper Collection 687811 on the ceiling is a talking point in this outdoor area. Walls painted in Resene Undercurrent pick out blue tones in the wallpaper. Portico and trim areas are painted in Resene Alabaster. The decking is stained in Resene Woodsman Driftwood. The kitchen is fully kitted out with a home-built pizza oven, barbecue and built-in gas cooker. The dining room set with outdoor chairs and coffee table from Outside Space helps create a perfect multi-use entertaining space. The oval mirror from Freedom reflects the light and the garden to make the space feel bigger. The planter is from Camden Co, the faux plant is from Freedom, the serving dishes are from Cittá and the string lights are from Mr Ralph. The space is finished with a privacy screen in clumping bamboo from Charlie’s Bamboo.  Illustration: Malcolm White

Kitchen before alternative design

Top tip  Always stain or paint your deck and allow it to cure before firing up your barbecue. Finishes like Resene Woodsman wood stain or Resene Walk-on paint will help protect your deck from spilt food.

Adair oval mirror
Adair oval mirror, Freedom
Weber Family Q
Weber Family Q, Weber
Resene Wallpaper Collection 687811
Resene Wallpaper Collection 687811, Resene ColorShops
Festoon String Lights
Festoon String Lights, Mr Ralph
Bask outdoor chair
Bask outdoor chair, Outside Space

Alternative solution – sculptural shelter from the elements

comfort and relaxation at day’s end

Architect Lisa Day suggests this alternative scheme:

Lisa Day
Lisa Day

I designed this colour palette with the end of the day in mind; as the sun is setting, no matter the season. Outdoor rooms are great for spending time in during the evening, cooking around the open fire and spending time with good friends. Ensuring that you are well protected from the elements (whether it be wind or insects) is important, while textural finishes invite and inspire you to slow down and relax. I’ve chosen colours that have natural origins but with the intensity turned up. They are ready to respond beautifully to the setting sun and firelight after a day at the beach, in the garden or at work. The finishes are architectural, raw and authentic. Timber, Corten steel, concrete and earthy hues are combined with beautiful handmade ceramics that invite touch. Accents of deep blues and greens are reminiscent of the colour of deep water as the sun goes down. The furniture is sculptural, resilient yet luxurious. Rounded edges and patterns connect you back to the natural world and the fabrics are soft and inviting. Lighting is discrete and encourages a relaxing mood to the tactile and warm space.

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Lisa Day - alternative solution for an outdoor room

Sleek wood battens stained in Resene Woodsman Cedar perfectly frame this outdoor space, enclosing it while keeping its connection to the garden. The floorboards have been painted in Resene Mist Grey for a fresh note that works well with the side wall panelling in Resene Bel Air and contrasts with the bold brickwork, the deep maroon of the outdoor couches from Matisse and the side cabinetry in Resene Brown Pod. The whole look is anchored by the dark teal Resene Celtic weatherboards, echoed in the Resene Seaweed-hued foliage, with pots and décor pieces in Resene Loch Ness. Brick red accent touches in Resene Arriba and fresh trim areas in Resene Barely There match the pale tones of the chairs and dining table from Matisse, to bring the whole look together. The wall-inset Escea outdoor kitchen will ensure nobody goes hungry. Mood lighting comes from the side lamp and the round outdoor light table from ECC. The final touch is a Centor insect screen from Unique Hardware Solutions across the door to keep uninvited pests out. Outdoor rug and merino throw from Ico Traders, stump side table from Treeology, cabinet handles and tray on table from Powersurge, folding ledge display shelves from Made of Tomorrow, wood stacker from Matilda and the Metalman, patterned cushions from Tessuti, plain cushion from Weave Home, pottery from Rachel Carter Ceramics, top shelf ceramics from Collis Studios, planters from ECC.  Illustration: Malcolm White

Kitchen before alternative design

Top tip  Finish painted flooring in Resene Concrete Wax for extra protection.

Collis ceramics
Collis ceramics, Collis Studios
Flos Bellhop table lamp
Flos Bellhop table lamp, ECC
Tobi Ishi dining table
Tobi Ishi dining table, Matisse
Butterfly outdoor sofa
Butterfly outdoor sofa, Matisse
Rachel Carley Design cushion
Rachel Carley Design cushion, Tessuti

Resene Arriba

Design: Davey Constructions
Words: Nicole Barratt
Images: Brock Beazley


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