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What started as a desire to ‘fix up’ a few elements of their Brisbane home has turned into a complete indoor-outdoor renovation for Australian model and television personality, Laura Dundovic, and her rugby star partner, Quade Cooper.
After purchasing the four-bedroom, three-bathroom riverfront home three years ago, the couple have completely transformed the property that now features a contemporary colour palette of black, grey, white and mahogany, beautiful timber joinery, smart surfaces, such as Silestone, and a newly landscaped pool area.
The former Miss Australia says she was nervous about choosing black as a dominant shade throughout the home, but was reassured by the abundance of natural light that fills the rooms. For Quade, the greatest concern was finding the right surfaces, especially for the kitchen’s new island bench, which he says is the standout feature of the home.
We spoke to Laura and Quade about their renovation and the finishing touch that brought the whole design together.
Your home is only 10 years old. What prompted the renovation?
Laura: At the start we were just going to fix up some little things but then we decided that we wanted to add value to the property. We both love watching home renovation shows and we thought it would be exciting to transform some of the areas of the house, so we just went from there.
It ended up being quite extensive, with a new kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and we also recarpeted and had the floorboards redone. So, we pretty much renovated the whole house.
Any challenges along the way?
Laura: We’re both perfectionists and we were very hands-on throughout the process. This meant we wanted to choose everything ourselves rather than leaving some of it to the builder. It held us up a little bit because we wanted to find the right materials.
We also lived through the renovation! We didn’t think we’d be living at home for much of it, but we got used to it. It sometimes felt like we were camping! It took about 15 weeks to complete, but sometimes it felt longer.
What are some of the biggest changes and how has the overall aesthetic changed?
Laura: It’s mainly the colour palette. The kitchen was one of the biggest changes to the home and it’s now doubled in size. The cupboards were originally an off-white colour with a high gloss, but we prefer a matte finish. We’ve gone with black cupboards and tiles for the kitchen, so it’s a big change from what it was.
Black was our first choice for colour. We were a bit scared because it’s quite bold, but we’re really lucky that we get lots natural light into the kitchen. My dad is an architect and he said that with the size of the kitchen and the amount of light it gets, choosing black wouldn’t make it look smaller.
You chose Silestone in ‘Lagoon’ with a suede finish for the benchtops in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Why did you choose it and why does it work so well in your home?
Laura: We were originally going to go with a natural stone for our benchtops because we didn’t know we could get that same finish with an engineered stone. Then when we looked into the practicality, it just made so much sense.
The suede finish of Lagoon looks so natural. We also found that a lot of other engineered stones look quite unnatural. They either have almost no grain running through them or they have huge veins to try and look like marble.
Quade: I don’t like high gloss finishes and I originally wanted to go with Carrara. I did some research and, in terms of practicality and re-sale value, natural stone wasn’t going to work for us. I’ve got a big family and we’re always having people over. We don’t want to tell people that they can’t put their glass on the bench because it might stain!
We heard about products that look like natural stone but are more practical and when we came across Silestone, we were sold. I love the suede finish – it has such a soft feel to it for such as solid product.
What do you love most about your home now?
Quade: I’d have to say it’s the Silestone benchtops! We had everything else ready to go but we just couldn’t find the material that we wanted for the benches and it ended up being the biggest decision that we had to make in the whole renovation. Then, as soon as it was installed, it just finished off everything perfectly. We have a lot of greys and blacks in the house and the Lagoon colour really works well with them. I think the thing I love the most is the island bench in the kitchen.
Laura: The benchtops definitely brought the design together. We have hexagonal tiles in the bathroom that have a marble finish and they look so good next to the Silestone bench.