Two years ago, Louella Boîtel-Gill inspected a 100-year-old timber cottage in Bangalow (20 minutes from Byron Bay), and instantly fell in love.
The interior and furniture designer was living in Sydney at the time, so the property was initially only used as a sporadic work base and Airbnb, but all that changed in 2020!
Not long after COVID hit, Louella learned a Steiner school in Byron had a place for her two children, Chilli, 14, and Indigo, 13, inspiring a very spontaneous move.
‘We had three days to accept or give the places away, which meant also getting Mark Tuckey, my ex-husband [and the children’s father] on board as well,’ Louella recalls. As it turns out, the timing was perfect. ‘He’d just sold the family home in Clareville, had finished a pop up in Avalon, and was completely free to do the move,’ Louella says. ‘We all felt so lucky to have been able to move so fast and be up here throughout lockdown.’
Despite being in NSW, this quaint weatherboard home is a typical ‘Queenslander’ in style – a single story timber dwelling with verandah, raised up above ground level. The home was already in good condition prior to moving in, but some additional updates were undertaken for improved liveability. ‘We pulled out the wall that divided the kitchen from the main living space, and took out the two support pillars putting a beam in to span across the room,’ Louella says.
An old workbench now functions as the main kitchen bench top, along with an additional custom Mark Tuckey table inclusive of a sink with raw copper piping. ‘I love everything to be under the bench in kitchens, so no overhead cupboards, and I specified the Fisher & Paykel drawer fridges and I LOVE them!’ says Louella. The interior spaces have Louella’s signature rustic, relaxed feel, with a neutral base palette, and accent colours of Dulux Classic Calm and Silent Sage.
A verandah running down the side of the house has been filled in with windows to create two sunny en suites. Genius! ‘The baths are both old pieces from Europe; one standard length and the other is teeny short,’ Louella says. And the finishing touch – a backyard vintage caravan (already on site when Louella bought the place) provides extra space, and has been painted green to blend in with the lush surroundings.
Some people might find a whirlwind move and subsequent renovation stressful, but not Louella! A big reason for this relaxed approach to renovating was Kimberly Amos, co-owner of The Atlantic Byron Bay, who passed on her valuable tradesperson contacts to Louella, and regularly showed up herself with a paintbrush in hand! ‘We would sit out on the front steps with wood fired pizza from across the road and a glass of wine. That’s my idea of a healthy renovating schedule!’ says Louella.
Louella aptly describes the completed home as a ‘happy space that seems to make people feel instantly comfortable.’ She has an unbelievable knack for making her homes feel so loved and well-lived in!
‘It’s ‘fuller’ now that we live here full time, but it works, and we actually can’t imagine living anywhere else at the moment’ she concludes. We believe it!
Canvas pendant light 120 Banks Lantern by Sibella Court from The Society Inc. Leather chair is Louella’s favourite Spanish Chair. The chunky side table by friend Twiggy, Greg Hatton in Victoria. The industrial cage light is Fossil Vintage. The front door was made up for Louella EastPoint Joinery in Byron. The coffee table is an old one of Louella’s made up years ago by the lovely Benedict Sibley, cabinet maker and now an incredible artist. The Miffy lamp is a find from online (you can get a similar one here). Wall cabinet is from Lunatiques. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
‘When I bought Gypsy Creek [the property’s nickname!] the front steps were the first thing we had to look at,’ says Louella. ‘They were worn and old and pretty rickety. It made sense to open the front up with nice wide steps and they’ve become a great spot to sit and chat to neighbours.’ Lewis the rescue dog is ‘Irish Wolfhound x Kelpie x fish’ because he’s more at home in water than on land! Front door by EastPoint Joinery in Byron, painted in Dulux ‘Classic Calm’. Rust peace sign by me from Mark Tuckey. Timber benches from Rust in Avalon (now closed). Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Pair of ‘Song’ armchairs in coconut cotton/linen from Maker & Son, Founder Alex Willcock is one of Louella’s oldest and closest friends. Artwork by David Band, another friend from Louella’s Melbourne days. The vintage cast iron cow was sourced in Daylesford in Victoria. The white glass bottle is an Otto Bauer for Holmegaard in Denmark where her sister lives. The shelves are solid recycled oregon. The round leather floor cushion is one that Louella made based on the top of a Saarinen stool that she was gifted many years ago. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Louella designed the kitchen bench tops, dining table and workshop at Mark Tuckey in Melbourne who fabricated it for her. ‘I still work with them on furniture for clients and it’s a great resource for making drawings come to life,’ she says. Drawer fridges Fisher & Paykel. Stools from Inartisan. The artwork on the wall over the shelf and rainbow LOVE tea-towel by Rachel Castle. Mud Australia ceramics. Industrial lights from Fossil Vintage in Byron, a favourite sourcing spot of Louelle’s. Bench top lamp from Artemide. Vintage yellow pendant. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The pantry is full of ceramics by Louella’s own wares she created when fitting out the house as an Airbnb. They are crafted by Kim from CrazyClay Ceramics in Scotland Island on Pittwater and available at Mark Tuckey, Byron. Ladder from Beachwood in Avalon. Bulimba string bag from Atlantic Byron Bay gift store, run by another talented friend named Kim! Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Heavy timber island bench from Fossil Vintage. Hanging rattan chair by Nanna Ditzel available from Domo in an indoor or an outdoor finish. The leather armchair is a vintage Borge Mogensen Spanish chair (lovely weathered old ones can be found through Vampt Vintage or new ones ordered at Great Dane). The artwork on the left is by Joshua Yeldham. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Hanging rattan chair by Nanna Ditzel available from Domo in an indoor or an outdoor finish. Check cushion by Society of Wanderers. Tripod table designed by Louella and made by Mark Tuckey and available through the Melbourne store. The pendant light is a Dampier Lantern by Sibella Court at The Society Inc. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The side table is a solid timber-turned drum from Mark Tuckey. Artwork by David Band, ‘Spirograph’. The Danish canvas Safari chair is vintage Kaare Klint, similar through Vampt Vintage. The chairs out on the verandah are from Clems Cargo in Brunswick Heads. Old Belgian tables from Fossil Vintage. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The lights are Czechoslovakian industrial pendants from Fossil Vintage. On the wall from the top, the red tin is an old film reel case, OH YOU ARE LOVE Rachel Castle embroidery, an old cricket scoring number, and the red heart is another Rachel Castle screen print. Quilt by Society of Wanderers. Stool by Inartisan. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Inside a skinny pharmacy cabinet from Lunatiques in Sydney. ‘It holds a collection of tiny precious things gathered from all over the place, mainly wood and white,’ says Louella. ‘The TV is hidden away in the base of the cabinet behind closed doors!’ Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The light is a Banks Lantern by Sibella Court from The Society Inc. The teal floral quilt is Society of Wanderers and is matched to the teal paintwork on the old French doors, painted in Dulux Classic Calm. The yellow chair peeping round the corner is Louella’s beloved yellow Eames LCW lounge chair, available through Living Edge. The turned stool is one of Louella’s ‘Reel’ stools for Mark Tuckey. Rhubarb check winter coat from Mamapapa store in Avalon, owned by her friend Virignie. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Banks Lantern 70 light and arrow from The Society Inc. Vintage Akubra from Mitchell Road Antiques in Sydney. The stool is from Inartisan. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The serene blue bathroom. Mirror and industrial pendant light from Fossil Vintage. The vanity is an old shearer’s table. The hand basin is an old Indian stone bowl. Tapware made by Louella’s plumber James Schymitzek. The tin bath is from Rust (now closed). The stool is Inartisan. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
The curtains are table cloths clipped up on a copper rail and fixed to the wall with plumbing attachments. Bath from Rust in Avalon (now closed). Khaki bathmat is from Saarde. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Stool from Rust in Avalon (now closed). The candle holder is from Heaths Old Wares in Burringabar. The ceramic bowl is a vintage find from Copenhagen. Vase and the tobacco linen robe from The Corner Store in Bangalow. The square timber shelf was a gift from Kimberly Amos when we were renovating, made by her father. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
‘The ‘Gypsy Caravan’ was onsite when we bought Gypsy Creek but was painted pink,’ says Louella. ‘We repainted it green to blend in with the trees behind.’ Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Inside the caravan! The linen is from a mix of vintage places and The Society of Wanderers. The ladder is a vintage find from Clem’s Cargo in Brunswick Heads. Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.
Photo – Jessie Prince for The Design Files.