A Unique 1950s Brisbane Home, Transformed To Bring The Outdoors In

Back in 2012, this New Farm, Brisbane home was vacant, riddled with cracks, and had a completely overgrown garden… yet artist Pip Spiro and her husband Nick Spiro knew it was special. 

The couple were instantly drawn to the heritage-listed property, built in 1951 on the site of a former toy factory, in a style more reflective of earlier interwar architecture than its age suggests. 

‘It had the most beautiful bones with its curved walls, art deco feel, and leafy outlook,’ says Pip. ‘We loved the location and it was a special and unique old home — there aren’t many like it in Brisbane.’ 

The newly engaged couple purchased the home where they planned to raise their future family. 

After welcoming their first child, Nick and Pip engaged Cavill Architects in 2017 to renovate and extend the home. The addition needed to uphold the integrity of the heritage house, while offering a distinct identity appropriate for the growing family and relaxed lifestyle. 

‘We want it to feel elegant, timeless, unique and welcoming,’ says Pip. ‘Part of making the old and new parts of the house come together was to bring a modern touch to the old house, and warmth and sophistication to the new part.’

The resulting addition is clean and geometric featuring white walls and off-form concrete. While bold and contemporary, its form recedes into the leafy environment behind the seamlessly connected original home. 

The creation of two lush courtyards breaks up the extension’s solid form to draw nature into the home. 

Pip and Nick have been slow to style the house since moving in post-renovation in mid-2020, with every item through the door facing tough scrutiny! ‘If we don’t absolutely love it, it doesn’t make the cut,’ explains Pip. ‘We’ve been patient and not bought into trends we’ve already seen come and go.’ 

Sheridan bedding, cushions and towels match the vibrancy of Pip’s botanical artworks, which she paints from her home studio. The soft-toned blooms depicted on the pea green Sheridan Maplewood Quilt Cover Set and Meridian towels also complement the lush greenery of the gardens outside, inviting colour and nature into the home. 

Scattered peach, yellow and apricot toned cushions in the new lounge room facilitate a more playful feel, tying in with the whimsical Sheridan Ruthie Kids Quilt Cover, printed with hand painted daisies in the children’s bedroom.

Nick’s sister is acclaimed designer Anna Spiro, who also helped with the remaining soft furnishings, including upholstered banquette seating and bedheads.

This divine family home offers a space to suit the entire Spiro family regardless of their mood, intention, or the weather. A highlight is the large kitchen window opening to what the children call the ‘fairy garden,’ inviting a gorgeous cross breeze throughout the Queensland home.  

Pip says the home feels ‘genuinely like us.’

‘We’ve made it for our family. It’s not for everyone, but we love it, and there isn’t another one like it.’

Shop Sheridan’s latest products at Sheridan Boutiques, sheridan.com.au, David Jones and Myer.

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