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Design to inspire
Design to inspire

Two years ago, English-born interior designer Joanna Everitt, husband Justin and their two sons, Jordan and Daniel, fell in love with a classic 1950s home abode perched on a hill in Alfred Cove.

They were so taken aback by the property that they sold their former Mt Pleasant home — designed by Mr Everitt, a British-qualified architect — and bought the property.

"We just fell in love with it and decided the view will be there forever and it's something my husband and I will work on in time," Mrs Everitt said.

"I have had the new house, I've done the whole 'new thing' but I would choose the older home every time because it's got more character," Mrs Everitt said.

While the home is still a work in progress, with the couple planning to eventually renovate and add another storey, the interior has undergone a spectacular temporary facelift.

"We haven't done any major renovations inside, it was just painting and dressing it up and adding different touches," Mrs Everitt said.

She nominated the front sitting room as one of her favourite spots in the home, and it's not hard to see why — the space is filled with light, is spacious enough to comfortably fit two big couches and has is encased by big open windows with outlooks to the city skyline and river views.

"I think the reason I love this room especially is that I used to have it as a dining room and now I've changed it to my sitting room," she said. "It gives you a conservatory feel, so in winter it gives you that warmth," she said.

To freshen up the formerly stale, outdated space, the old brown brick walls were rendered and painted white. The exposed wooden beams in the high-pitched ceiling were also painted white.

"I thought with colour you could do a lot, with paint you could do a lot and we had a lot of furniture that would fit the house," she said.

"Starting off with a very plain palette, you can then add colour to that with your furniture and accessories," Mrs Everitt said.

Splashes of colour include a brightly-coloured chandelier, various vibrant artworks on the walls, a cushioned bright-blue corner seat and several bright and cheerful cushions propped on the neutral-toned couches and blue-cushioned day bed.

To inject her personality and signature style, Mrs Everitt has put out on display a mix of vintage antiques, mementos and weathered trinkets collected during travels abroad.

"Everything that I've got in this home is really us as a family," she said. "We travel a lot so we pick a lot of items that we see and we love."

Retro furniture sourced from local antique shops also features throughout the home, hand-picked by Mrs Everitt to pay homage to the period of the original home.

"I think what I try to achieve is a very unique look, something that hasn't been done — something that is more our personality," she said. "I think a house should reflect the people that live in it rather than just having a display home."

Stemming off the sitting room is an expansive alfresco terrace area, which was extended outwards to take advantage of the views below and has been tiled with light ceramic outdoor tiles to give it a clean, modern look.

Mrs Everitt, who is now the in-house interior designer for her husband’s consultancy firm, Scope, said the outdoor makeover was the start of their renovation plans.

"We still have a really good idea what we'd like to do, but for the time being we've decided it's great the way it is," she said.

"In time, we will completely renovate but it won't be much different to the feel now because I love the old home with modern touches."

Joanna Everitt's style tips:

Don't go for bold colours on permanent fixtures or finishes that can't be easily changed. "Don't commit to colour on anything that will be hard to change," Mrs Everitt said. "Obviously paint is quite easy to change but things like splashbacks, tiles, you should really keep it quite simple. With that, you can work and add whatever colours you like."

Do try to create an interior that reflects your personality and style. "You don't need a lot of money and you don't have to have what everyone else has got to have something quite striking and different," she said. "If it doesn't feel like a home to you then I think you've lost the whole purpose."

Don't be afraid to display pieces you love, even if it isn't befitting of an interior theme. "Another important thing about design is, if you love it, get it, it doesn't matter if it won't fit your house 100 per cent," Mrs Everitt said. "I think people shouldn't be afraid to go out and do their own stuff to make their own signature home, rather than follow everyone else."