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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: An Outdated Australian Weatherboard House Comes to Life


by Sofia Tuovinen

Before & After: An Outdated Australian Weatherboard House Comes to Life
 | Design*Sponge
Much like anyone who is shamelessly hooked on home improvement shows, there are few things that make my heart skip a beat like a good before and after reveal. Seeing those knock-down properties transformed into homes that real estate dreams are made of is so wonderfully addictive. and Luke Tierney know what I’m talking about. For this Australian couple, building, renovating and restoring homes has been a passion project for over 20 years.

The couple, who started their building company, , in their early twenties, know what it takes to take on a fixer-upper. When their current home, a classic weatherboard house in Mildura, Australia, came on the market, they knew it would be both the perfect gut project and — located in the heart of town and in walking distance of schools and shops — the ideal home for their children, Connor, Maddison, Elise, and Drew.

When Mikahl and Luke bought the house, it was ripe for renovation. They had plenty of new ideas that they wanted to incorporate into the design — to help reposition some of the existing spaces and extend the master bedroom, they brought in a drafting technician, while a paver helped Mikahl in the garden, transforming it from a sea of shrubbery into an inviting outdoor space for friends and family. Inside, Mikahl wanted to work with something other than the light color palette that her family had grown used to in their previous home. Longing to make a more immediate impact, Mikahl chose to finish the new floorboards with a black timber stain and installed dramatic charcoal carpet in the master bedroom and formal lounge. To add to the moody and cozy atmosphere, these two spaces were painted in deep and dusty shades.

While many areas in the house needed to be completely redone, the family made sure to honor the 1930s architecture by retaining the big original front windows, which let in tons of natural light to the front rooms. With the major works all completed, it’s now time for Mikahl to slowly set her final touch on the decor. The once almost knock-down-ready property is breathing new life and standing proud, thanks to its determined and devoted owners. —

Photography by 

Image above: After a major renovation, the new kitchen is a refined space fit for family.

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On a sunny day in Mildura, it’s hard to believe the transformation of the Tierney Family’s house. Their classic Australian weatherboard home was updated with a new iron roof, a coat of grey paint and white trims. The existing front features, including windows, veranda and paving, were retained for an authentic feel. With nothing but shrubbery in the garden, Mikahl also took on the task of designing new landscaping for the entire lot.

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The front lounge is a favorite space in the winter thanks to the wood-burning fireplace and overall cozy atmosphere. “I love that we were able to keep the existing fireplace and make it a more functional space for all of us by adding the TV unit into the wall,” Mikahl explains.

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Modern vases and beautiful blooms decorate the coffee table in the lounge.

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The old frosted glass doors were replaced with clear ones — “this way the formal lounge can be closed off, but still remain ‘open’ with full view […] to the entry of the home and all of its happenings.”

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With paint peeling and plaster board cracking, the entire house was screaming for a renovation. The updated hallway is now a true thoroughfare for the whole family, including Leo the dog.

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The hallway leads to the bright and airy kitchen and dining area. The double doors that Luke installed open to the backyard and bring in an abundance of natural light.

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The kitchen, dining and living areas at the back of the house were an eyesore when Luke and Mikahl first got to work. “I couldn’t wait to replace this dated Baltic pine kitchen,” Mikahl shares. The black Japan floor puts a show on in this area, and perfectly contrasts the lighter kitchen cabinets.

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Gutting everything in the back of the house allowed Mikahl to design the kitchen she had always dreamt of. “I absolutely love to spend time in the kitchen and this space is every home cook’s dream!” It’s no wonder that this open-plan space has become the hub of the home, where the whole family gathers — the huge Caesarstone island is also the go-to spot for finishing homework and various projects.

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Mikahl chose a light grey grout to make the white subway tiles pop. Mikahl is a devoted cook, and finds never-ending inspiration from her vast collection of cookbooks.

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Mikahl and her daughter Elise in the open living room. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing our four growing children and their continuous stream of friends fill the house,” Mikahl says.

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In the master bedroom, Luke and Mikahl replaced the glass of the original windows, installed new crown molding and refinished the walls. When designing the master bedroom, Mikahl wanted to use deeper colors for a moody and inviting feel.

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The dark colors in the master bedroom set a calm and relaxing mood. Mikahl couldn’t be happier with the end result — “a few more decorative pieces to add, but I love the feel of this room.”

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Fresh flowers decorate the nightstand. “I have a real passion for gardens and flowers of all kinds. I am constantly picking fresh flowers from the garden, buying the odd posy from the florist or […] a new indoor plant. They just add so much color and life into the home.”

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“My favourite thing about my home is the family that fills it and the memories that are being made in it.” — Mikahl

SOURCE LIST

External Paint Colour: with white trim

Lounge
Paint –
Carpet –
Chandelier –
Lounge suite –
Coffee table –
Concrete top side table and vases –
Bird print –

Master bedroom
Paint –
Carpet –
Headboard and small side stool –
Bedding –  and
Flowers –
Macrame –
Hanging Pendant Lights – 

Hallway
Floor – baltic pine floorboards stained with
Black velvet ottoman and industrial hall table – 
Round floor rug – 
Print ‘La Foret’ –
Stag print – 

Kitchen & Dining Area
Paint – 
Kitchen cabinetry –
Island bench top –
Rear bench top – 
Cabinetry –
Lighting –
Kitchen appliances –
Rug under kitchen table and stools –
Dining table and chairs –

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Comments

  • Well done! I quite like the idea of living the big front windows the way they are. It makes the whole house look so natural plus the advantage of leting in the natural light to the front room. Most cost a tone to bring it to this look though, so kudos!

  • What a transformation! So light and airy!
    I’m about to start renovations on my 1970s townhouse in Johannesburg,SA and I am stealing so many of your ideas ;-)

  • Hi Mikahi,

    You have done a lovely job of restoring this great old home. I’m interested in the floors. Did you Black Japan any old floor boards, or are they all new. Mine are structural sounds but just that dated orange colour, with lots of knots and I have often wondered about the Black Japan. Would it cover the knots and how well the stain would wear. I tend to think it would be better than painting them white as a stain would penetrate the timber.

    Kyra – Bowral

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