The upcycled home in Bardon


Who lives here? Alessia and David with their daughter Maya (6), son Max (2) and cat Luna.
Location: Bardon, Queensland

I recently met a lovely couple called Alessia and David, who showed me around their home in the leafy suburb of Bardon in Brisbane. The home has been renovated over the past 3 years with a vision to use repurposed, recycled and second-hand materials throughout.

Alessia (from Italy) and David (from Portugal) met while doing humanitarian work with the United Nations in East Timor. Both have spent considerable time working overseas in East Timor, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Phillipines among others.

When they decided to move to Brisbane and start a family, Alessia came across a small 1950s house for sale overlooking Ithaca Creek and was excited by its potential. After some convincing, David was also on board. Although he had followed the engineering career path, he’d always had an interest in architecture, so both David and Alessia were keen to bring their ideas to the project.

This project was an opportunity for both of them to get creative while being true to their values. Their experiences growing up in Europe and working for the United Nations had contributed to shaping a strong core belief to reduce waste and use resources wisely.

Alessia and David chose not to engage an architect for their renovation and instead came up with most of the renovation ideas and did a lot of the work themselves. They did, however, involve Sam Flaherty from Giraffe Draft to ‘help balance out the wild ideas’. They also involved, their friend carpenter-builder Andrew (Andy) Ryan, who directed labourers and built several components including the staircase and kitchen island bench top.

Some of their renovations included building a second story to create a stunning master bedroom (the ‘treehouse’), building a beautiful hardwood staircase, using recycled wood for wall panelling and bench tops, buying kitchen stools from an old church, using a shower head as a hand towel rail, and even turning old kitchen cabinet doors into bedside tables.

It was fantastic to meet such a well-travelled, inspiring couple who are bringing their ideas and experiences from around the world back to Brisbane to create a home that reflects who they are.

With a vegetable garden and a passionfruit vine roofed carport in the works, I’m sure this home will continue to evolve as the couple experiment.

You’ll have the opportunity to see inside this creative renovated home, meet Alessia and David, and hear their insights during a Sheo Design home tour experience in 2019. Register your interest to be the first to hear when tickets are available.

We’re also on the look out for other innovative Australian homes and architects to showcase in 2019, so if you live in or know of a home that might be suitable, we’d love to hear from you.

Kate Derbyshire