Kersten and Kim’s Brightened Family House

published Oct 28, 2015
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Name: Kersten & Kim McFarland and their children, Christian and Grace
Location: Maylands, Western Australia
Size: 170 square meters (1,830 square feet)
Years lived in: Two years; Owned

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When Kim and Kersten first stumbled upon their 1950s cottage, they could see its potential right away. The location was enviable, boasting both a nearby river and views of the city, and they knew with some careful planning, they could turn the small, dark house into the light, bright family home that it is today.

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The front porch colors set the tone for the rest of the house. (Image credit: Hayley Kessner)
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

The original home was small and poky, so Kersten and Kim decided to hire a builder to help bring their vision to life. They wanted the home to be bigger and brighter, but they also wanted to keep as much of the original character and charm as possible. They set about adding an open plan living room, dining room, and kitchen to the back of the house, as well as adding a second story for the master retreat and en suite.

Natural timber and glass are the two main elements in this home. The living areas are flanked on both sides by large stacking timber doors that open up all the way, taking full advantage of the West Australian climate. The white-painted walls and ceilings also help to bounce the light around and allow the colors in the sofa and artwork to pop.

Upstairs, the entire space is dedicated to Kersten and Kim. They have a light and airy bedroom that opens up on to a big, beautiful deck with views of the city. Kersten has kept a neutral base here as in the rest of the home, painting a light seafoam green on the wall of the walk-in closet. It brings a perfect, gentle bit of color to the space.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Industrial Country

Inspiration: Kim and I love old homes but also love the functionality offered by more contemporary areas like kitchens/bathrooms so when we found an old (1951) home with potential to extend up and out in one of our favorite streets, we grabbed it!

Favorite Element: Timber joinery—the stacker doors at the rear of the extension along with all the timber joinery in that part of the house and the master bedroom bring a real warmth to the spaces.

Biggest Challenge: Timber joinery!!! It took about 18 months to get each set of stacker doors working as they should. A long and stressful process.

What Friends Say: Friends often asked who did the interior decorating and I’m proud to say that I did it all. I had a lot of mood boards on the go for the entire process and collected a lot of information on how I wanted it to look. It’s nice to receive feedback along the lines of “your house has a nice feel to it.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Vertical blinds in master bedroom. The beautiful timber framed windows and doors in our room are such a statement but we can’t sleep in such a bright room. Verticals were the quickest and most cost-efficient way to provide some dark and privacy but we don’t intend on keeping them forever.

Proudest DIY: When we bought the house there was a half wall in the porch made of breeze blocks. This fell down one day when Kim and I were here moving things around and renovating some of the front area. I was determined to use as many of them as I could somewhere around the house (everybody wanted them!) so I managed to talk the bricklayer who built our front fence into incorporating them into the fence. Just a little nod to the original structure and Mid-century.

Biggest Indulgence: Apart from the timber joinery, master bedroom timber pendants.

Best Advice: If you are renovating or adding onto an old home, make sure the builder and tradespeople are very well experienced in those areas as this will make a big difference to the whole project. Ensuring our addition stayed true to the original home and “flowed” was very important to us so extra time and meetings were necessary from start to finish.

Dream Sources: Empire, Decor8, Kartique, Anthropologie


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • All walls: Dulux Natural White
  • Master bedroom feature wall: Taubmans Pistachio Half
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


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Thanks, Kersten & Kim!