A century-old Queenslander has been given a new lease on life in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

When former real estate agent Belinda Jones first viewed this large run-down Queenslander in the Brisbane suburb of Virginia, she fell in love. “It was dark and enclosed with yellow walls and dark timber ceilings,” she says. “But I could see what it could be. It had a lovely feel to it. It felt like a real family home.”

However, as a family home wasn’t what she was looking for at the time, she presumed it was just a passing fancy. “I had just started dating David and he was looking to buy,” she recalls. “He was actually looking to buy a small inner city apartment, but I brought him here to have a look, anyway, and he loved it, too!”

Fast forward a few years and it is indeed a lovely family home as Belinda and David now live here with their three-year-old son, Charlie. “The first thing we did was to paint all the walls and ceilings white,” Belinda says. To lighten up the home as much as possible they choose Dulux White on White, which is almost a pure white.

As they soon discovered, painting VJ (vertical jointed) walls takes a little more time and product than painting regular plasterboard. “We hadn’t really looked closely at the condition of the VJs before we started painting but they were actually quite cracked,” Belinda adds. “My sister, who also owns a Queenslander, said to buy some wood filler. David went down to Bunnings and bought a couple of tubes — we ended up needing about two cartons!” Structurally, the only changes they made was to remove the decorative moulded arches, which were originally installed between the kitchen and the dining room, and the dining and living rooms. Along with the white paint, this really opened the house right up. They decided to have the outside of the house painted in time for their joint 40th birthday party to surprise David’s mum, Lynne, who was flying in from Wales especially for the occasion. “When the quotes came in, though, they were all for around $20,000, so David decided to do it himself,” Belinda says. “He did an amazing job as he works long hours, anyway, and then he’d come home every night and paint under spotlight for another four or five hours and all day Saturday and Sunday.”

This story was originally published in Australian Country issue 15.1. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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Words Tahn Scoon
Photography John Downs