Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Would You Do?

A bloggy reader, Kathryn, wrote to me the other day and asked me if I still did my WWYD ('What Would You Do' posts)? Goodness, that's going back a bit. You've been around a long time Kathryn. Thanks for sticking with me since then! 

Kathryn has just bought a new house, a colonial Queenslander, and although she loves it, she wants to make some minor changes to the front over time. She was hoping you'd be able to give her some advice. I said I was sure you would help her.... after all, you counselled me through my whole house build!

I'm sorry, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw Kathryn's photos. Isn't it a dream!!!! Deep breaths.

Kathryn writes: "The main issue is privacy and lack of gardens. I'd like to be able to sit on the front verandah and have coffee in my pjs, but currently anyone walking or driving by gets a full view. I've had a few ideas, like maybe a lattice door and a row of lily pily shrubs, then possibly lavender along the front of the house, but would welcome any other ideas. We want to keep it quite traditional and pretty. In a year or so we will also want to repaint in something other than yellow and green, so any garden plans will need to take that into account - and we would also welcome colour suggestions. Thank you! Looking forward to ideas".

So girls, what do you reckon?....a beautiful blank canvas, screaming out for us to sink our teeth into. What would you do?

PS. I am sooo going to work on an invite and get to sit on that front deck and have coffee too!


  1. I'm gonna get in first. 1. Paint it all white 2. Pretty lattice door on front verandah for privacy. 3. Terraced front yard with low lavender hedges. 4.Random stone path from front gate (sigh!) 5. Lily Pily front hedge along fence for privacy (they grow REALLY fast). That's me done. A-M xx PS Tara D are you reading this?... we need your garden advice.

  2. I agree all white! White is timeless.

    I'd also have a few potted plants by the balustrade on the veranda to create a little bit of a screen, topiary's would suit this house. Magnolias and camellias are beautiful too. The plants would give a little more depth and would catch the eye of the passers by before the lady of the house in her pj's does.

    Also if you want to do a path I think sandstone would be really specky.


  3. Hello A-M

    What a classic design - and what a fortunate find Kathryn has.

    Yes Paint it white
    I like the little square lattice if lattice is used.
    Obviously good landscaping as you said and with the hedges (Mmmm... love love lavender!)

    If Kathryn wanted she could always put in a few drop down - sheer - blinds. There are some beautiful ones around now and they can be rolled up and down with such a sheer look for privacy when you want - you can see out - people can't see in.

    I just want to have that yard - I am in envy of how much room there is.

    What a fabulous find - it is almost a blank slate to go for it. It doesn't appear you would have to repair or recover someone else's mistakes

    have a lovely day AM (& Kathryn)


  4. I would definately repaint. Add a path from the front gate to the house. Yes lilly pillies are great screens (neighbour be gone is a great lilly pillies). And for coffee time some cane furniute similare to what you had on your porch AM.

    Good luck


  5. my 2 bob's worth....
    1. Definitely white!
    2. Murraya does a good hedge( mock orange more trad, grows quickly)
    3.some viburnum (sp?) along side fence
    4. get nice pj's!
    5. Iffy about lattice ( o.t. door). My verandah has it( inherited), good privacy, feels like a jail.
    Finally, so much potential...love the window seat at the side?

  6. I'm so jealous. What a lovely home! I'm a fan of white too, but I would use a contrasting trim for the handrails and guttering. Perhaps in a grey? I like the suggestion of hanging baskets but only around the side of the verandah. And yes - lilly pillies grow so quickly. It will make a beautiful screened hedge if you want privacy. xx

  7. Oh that house reminds me of my Nanna's house which is in Bulimba Brisbane. They have subdivided the property which is sad but still a beautiful old home.

    I think all white paint, you need some garden I suggest murrayah and lilly pilly's for hedges. A nice comfy seating area on the verandah too.

  8. I think you need to add a feature to the front garden maybe in the corner, a fountain, or a rose garden or just something to draw the eye to so if you are out there you are not the main focus!

  9. 1) I would paint the walls a soft dusty green, blue or grey with bright white balustrades, trims etc. (There is a house near my place with a dusty-grey green, white trim and charcoal grey gutters which is just stunning).
    2) I love the idea of the slightly terraced garden. I'd put lots of shrubby-cottage style plants like lavender with scattered stone walls and path.

    Such a pretty house!

  10. Kathryn you have bought a beautiful home. Everyone has passed on great tips.
    Yes I agree, plant, plant, plant shrubs that are fast growing.
    I'd leave the verandah open with no lattice what so ever. Potted plants create an effective screen or roll up blinds are fabulous and look stylish too.
    I'm a white fan and could see this house painted all white with one trim colour, maybe grey.
    Take your time and mull over the choice of exterior colour because repainting Queenslanders is a huge task (been there have the T-shirt).
    Best wishes

  11. Firstly I'm not a queenslander,so my comments may shock some.Too much stair at the front ,could remove side close to drive way.Plenty of hard landscaping needed to level that front a little,otherwise all your hard work will be washed down the street.Maybe plant a low hedge along driveway house side,plenty of something hedge wise across the front ,some scattered birches down the side area ,really what ever takes your fancy but it does depend on the sun! The color yes white would be fabo but I love pale grey with white trims,the green and yellow MUST GO.Also I would fill in under the front veranda continuing with what is there a bit better balanced with the garage.I don't remember seeing what the front gate was like because it is such a big spance of pickets maybe break it up a little with an old wrought iron gate the kind Grandma had.Really that garden property is a gardeners dream bottom line is think it through ,read plenty of good gardening books and ask heaps of questions if your not sure ,A very costly exercise time, back breaking and money wise if you make a mistake.Best of luck it has the potential to look FABULOUS.

  12. What a beauty! I love the idea of white with some grey for depth and definition.

    Gardens will absolutely make this house. Some carefully chosen feature trees and garden beds framing the verandah. Yes to hedges and mass plantings! I'd also create a path to the front door with plantings either side.

  13. Thank you A-M! There are some great ideas here. I had never actually considered painting it white, although I'm also thinking a pale sagey-grey might be nice. I'm on the lookout for a cane setting for the front, we do have a little french style iron table and chairs, but it's ever so uncomfortable to sit on.
    And you're more than welcome to come over for coffee, I shall keep you updated on the progress.
    Kathryn xx

  14. I like the idea of a light french grey with white trim. I prefer Viburnum odoratissimum or Murraya to lilly pillies. Prettier and a beautiful scent. Love everyone ideas of a path, terraced gardens and a little gate along the fence. Not sure about the lattice door on the verandah - but I think that is a Queenslander thing that being in Perth I'm not used to. It's a beautiful home Kathryn. I look forward to following your progress. Do you have a blog?

  15. I love your house. As the proud owner of a derelict Queenslander that is about to be totally renovated I am considering the same questions that you are. In terms of paint, I like white but I think Queenslanders need some contrasting colours on the gutters, handrails etc. So if you chose white, maybe go for a black gutter, handrail etc. Otherwise, I'd chose a pale grey with white for the trim (like Josh and Jenna on the Block). Lattice doors will add to the privacy and you could add some lattice above the handrails on the street side. You can see out but others can't see in so the your veranda is not just decorative but functional too. I'll leave the garden to the experts. Good luck, Amber

  16. For a really pretty soft feminine type effect,as your house says it is a she to me, plant along the street line Pittsoporums. Not the Sweet Pitts, but something like 'Silver Sheen' variety. Plant the trunk at least a metre and a bit in off the fenceline. You will be glad in years to come that you won't have to keep cutting it back of the footpath! These grow fairly quickly and you can buy the larger ones for quicker growth. THEN in front of them facing the house you could put lavender. However it doesn't tend to do so well in humid parts of Queensland. Nandinas look spiff with their reddish foiliage and little white flowers. You could try gardenias too to keep the white look and they smell devine! You would need to definitely do some low terracing along the lawned area. Curve the front path so it meets the stairs you use the most in a sandstone with large pavers. The house is large and needs that balance. Personally I wouldn't go a true white on the walls as the brighter contrast picks up the fret work of the uprights beautifully, but definitely get rid of the yellow and green theme! I'd change the letter box to an standing one. Soften the very front under the trellis with soft grasses and mondo grass. Pop a nice tree like a flowering cherry in the middle of the far right and pave around with old soft coloured bricks, this could be a lovely place to sit and have friends for coffee. I have a million ideas and I am jealous I don't live there! Just for now wave to the people on the street as they go by and enjoy your morning cuppa!

  17. A-M are you going to revive your old WWYD occasional blogs. I always enjoyed them!
    Kathryn - lovely house - i'm sure it will look even better when you put some of those ideas into action.

  18. Oh i did a big blog post on Queenslanders last month, after finding the most fantastic examples in the Sandgate area north of Brisbane. Check it out here . . . http://posiepatchworkblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/things-im-loving-mighty-queenslander.html
    I LOVE this style of house, so don't mess with the up close beauty but plant around the edges for privacy, walk around the streets & see what people can spy too. Maybe not go all white, even a cream instead of a yellow on the actual house would tone it down a bit without being white on white on white. All up, a very lucky Kathryn for purchasing this beauty, love Posie

  19. I just had another thought - what about Olive trees along the front? Would that work? I love the softer grey-green colour of the foliage, and they aren't as 'bushy' as a lilly pilly would be.

    Am also contemplating some white daisys in big pots, somewhere.

    Maybe an arbour(?) over the front gate with jasmine...too twee?

  20. What a beautiful house! It looks pretty much perfect to me but if I have to do some cosmetic enhancement, I'll definitely paint the house white. Also murraya hedges around the fence would look lovely and I agree with putting lattice door on front verandah. I'll create some pretty garden-bed in front of the staircase and plant pretty hydrangeas or other pretty greenaries.

    Tiffany xxx

  21. I've always loved Hydrangeas or Agapanthus against a fence. It would look beautiful with garden beds around the house too, to soften it up.

    Sorry, have to disagree with everyone on the white paint. It's an absolute bugger to keep clean. If the paint is in good condition, you could keep all the white trim and just paint over the yellow and green. My fave colour is warm neutral at any strength. Definitely go something darker around the bottom - every time it rains or the wind blows the house will get covered in dust and dirt.

    TDM xx

  22. What a really pretty house! I'd forget the lattice door - I can't really see that it'd serve much purpose for privacy and, I think, would spoil the look of this treasure.

    I'm not familiar with Australian plants/trees but I'd have thought a couple of strategically placed small/ornamental trees would provide enough of a screen from the road to give sufficient privacy.(Are there small varieties of Jacaranda or grafts of Jacaranda available for instance)?

    Best advice: Whatever you put in, keep in mind that it will need maintenance so ask yourself how much gardening you actually want to do and also bear in mind that gardens can have colour schemes too. I'm a big fan of lavender and can definitely see it planted here - that extra dimension of scent in a garden is lovely, especially when it's wafting up as you sit on your porch.

    As for house colour schemes, has anyone ever seen shades of purple used on trim over there (i.e. white house, purple 'collar and cuffs'
    ? :) I ask because there is an old Victorian house here (Jersey, UK) with gorgeous ironwork balconies that are painted a deep purple colour against the crisp white walls. It's really lovely and accents one of the best features of the house.

    Enjoy your new home :)

  23. Hi A-M! First time posting...I have been stalking your blog for some time now...love it, many thanks, you lovley lady!

    Congratulations, Kathryn...such a beautiful home! I'm a big fan of light & white. My house has recently been painted...the main colour is Sandy Day (full strength, gloss) with brilliant white trims, battons, railings, lattice door. This main colour is very muted & comes alive with the brilliant white - it looks lovley & fresh!. I just love it! Forgot to mention we have brass fixtures etc. I have a murraya hedge at the front. Maybe lillpillies as another option - both survived the drought. Good luck!

  24. lovely house Kathryn, I'd bring this home more into the millennium, I love white, but i think it will be too much for a house this size, and all those details, make them pop with gloss white against grey or taupe. I'd try to refrain from too much lattice etc, but perhaps climbers (ie. roses) over the areas you want more privacy. I'd also get a feature door happening, make it personal to what you love!

  25. Yep, paint it white.....but could we see inside too...? Robx

  26. I think I know the house - our first home was around the corner, and I often admired the house when I walked past - it is a particularly lovely Queenslander in an area that has a lot of nice Queenslaners.

    Congratulations on buying such a house with gorgeous street presence, Kathryn. And in such a nice area.

    My first must do would be adding a garden to the front to capture the eye. Some good sized bushes or smaller trees at the front. Some shrubs or trees along the front won't block any of the nice notherly aspect from my recollection.

    A few suggestions for plants at the front have been made. Camelias might be another nice option? I also love some nice citrus trees - lovely glossy leaves, pretty white flowers and the added bonus of fruit.

    I would position a few of the trees/shrubs strategically - for example, trying to ensure the tree will give a little privacy to the area to the left of the photo, which so suits a nice outdoor setting - but not so the trees will completely block the house once they have grown.

    Strategic shrubs and smaller trees to the front could also be combined wiht some hanging blinds - the traditional sort seen in older queenslanders: where the slats look more like traditional style shutters.

    I am very fond of clean greys and whites in exteriors at the moment, but I must admit on this particular house, I don't mind the yellow and white combo. But it definitely doesn't work so well with the green trim.

  27. Sasanqua camelia's across the inside of the front fence. Leave the grassy area open between the fence hedge and the house and then plant out around base of house with pretty stuff and keep low. Would make a private front yard and you can keep your space open. I'm so not keen on murraya, it really is a weed like sheena's gold. Camelia's would take a little while to become taller and thick but would be well worth it for how pretty it would be. That's my 2 cents. Love your blog AM, I think this is my second comment ever but read always.

  28. You have certainly broadened my horizons A-M. Watching "Hot Property" tonight, I got a bit excited about some very nice verandah doors on the Queenslander they featured on the show. Sad, I know.

  29. The first think I did when we bought our house was to put lattice doors at the top of the stairs. I like a barrier between me & those hawkers. If money allowed, I'd also have a intercom entry! ;-) I think you shouldn't worry about sitting out the front, Kathryn because I reckon everyone walking past is envious :-)
    p.s. Taking note of all comments as we have the same double staircase & we need some serious landscaping done.

  30. What a lovely home, charming in every possible way! I didn't read the other suggestions, so I may be repeating, but I would put up some lattice and fill it with a lovely climbing rose. Something that blooms almost continuously and has beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers! And A-M, if you get that invite, you have to bring a friend...hint, hint! ;-)

    Kat :)

  31. a Queenslander? that's what they're called? these houses are just so unique to australia - never seen anything like them, well our victorians or painted ladies are like this sort of without the porches. y'alls are so much prettier than ours. i just love this style!!!


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx