Salt's Q&A With Catherine Slatter~ Designer, Decorator And Renovator Of A Gorgeous 100 Year Old Queenslander!
This week on the Salt Journal we caught up with Catherine Slatter~ Marketing Designer, Product Developer and passionate renovator and interior decorator in her spare time. Cath lives in a fantastic 100 year old Queenslander set on 2.5 acres in the suburb of Brookfield, only 12km from Brisbane CBD. She shares her beautiful home with her husband, 2 daughters, 3 dogs, 3 cats and 15 chickens! We asked Cathy to share with us a little more about her gorgeous home, her great eye for style and her exciting next big project!
Is this your first renovation project? Have you worked in different stages (big or small), or has this been a relatively ongoing process since you moved in?
This is my first big one, I had done a few little ones before, bathrooms, paint jobs on a few walls. We started 1 year after we moved in and then I broke it into smaller projects for budget, ideas etc. And its pretty much finished after 5 years….but then again an old Queenslander is always a work in progress.
Were you searching for a place to renovate, or was this more of a spontaneous decision? Tell us a bit about the story behind acquiring your property?
Totally spontaneous - we wanted the land more than the house. We were looking at renovating our previous house when we just realised that we would over capitalize for where it was, and the land was really limited for 2 girls who love being outdoors. So we started searching for a bigger bit of land, and so the bigger renovation project came with it! The land was in the perfect spot, but the house was not so perfect.
Do you have a favourite room or area of the house?
I really love our bedroom and funnily enough, it was the worst room when we moved in. We added a private entry hall and archway and opened up a horrible nook that was off of it and it became sumptuous and private. It's quiet and it faces north and has french doors that open onto our wrap around verandah to boot.
Do you have a transformation you are most proud of?
I think downstairs is still one of my favourite. I took a very old and dusty pool room and spare guest room and changed it into a modern, cosy living area with a brand new kitchen and connection with the pool and garden - and was able to work with low ceilings - which I thought was going to ruin the whole project.
Do you have any regrets?
Plenty! From paint colour, to carpet choice to putting in too many ceiling lights - when you really don't use them!
What was the most challenging part of the whole process? Is there anything you would do differently next time?
Living through 5 years of small renovation projects. You get really sick of greeting the carpenter at the door in your pajamas. Move out when the big projects were taking place. I don't think I have it in me to live through a big renovation again!
What advice would you pass on to keen renovators and refurbishers?
Hand draw ideas and keep a notebook old school style. Keep all your ideas, plans, samples, swatches together. Keep it near you so you can add to it anytime an idea pops into your head or you see something of inspiration. I find my notebook more useful than Pinterest, which I still do use. The note book has the ideas I REALLY love and want to put in place.
What/who was your design inspiration for your home?
Timeless, simple colour palette, real materials - ie wood, stone, marble. I wanted to try and use honest, real materials as much as the budget would allow. I also wanted to celebrate living in a Queenslander and not move away from the style of that.
How would you describe the interior style?
Eclectic - a mix of old and new, loved and well worn. Not too precious, but pretty enough to enjoy each room with all the animals and kids enjoying it all too. I wanted to be able to use some of the old furnishings I have had for years and bring some new ones in for freshness. I was trying my damndest too steer away from a ‘style’ as such. I wanted it to be a home that works in Queensland.
Tell us about your approach to styling? Is the interior more a reflection of your personal style, or the spirit of the home itself?
I think it's a bit of both. You have to bring the two together. I am just about to embark on a 70s refurb of a small coastal home and I will bring my eclectic taste, but I am definitely going to salute its 70s soul. I think it is sacrilege not to let the home be, what it was born as.
How have you curated the furniture and decorative elements of your home? Can you tell us about any of your favourite pieces, or any stories behind them?
Over the years! I have an old leather reading chair in my room which I bought many years ago, and that chair can be dragged anywhere and just be fabulous. I do think I stick to very natural colour palettes - nothing is too bright or too overwhelming. This way it brings a calmness to each room.
Do you have any favourite places to source furniture / lighting / decor / fabric etc?
Ooh no, not really - I love Antique stores, as much as I love the latest homewares store. I fossick everywhere.
Do you have a favourite Insterior Designer/stylist? Or instagram accounts to follow.
What are your tips for making and styling a beautiful and welcoming bed?
Keep it neat but not too neat that you can't make it look imperfectly perfect. A big thick duvet really makes a bed sumptuous. I love layering. Top sheet, then a linen comforter, then a duvet and then a linen throw.
Do you prefer sleeping on 100% linen compared to other sheets, if so- have you always?
Yes definitely, especially super soft warn and loved linen. No I haven't always had linen sheets. My favourite used to be 400TC cotton sheets - not easy to find.
Do you remember what first prompted your love of bed linen?
Gosh my Grandma! She handed down these pure cotton thick sheets and I remember my Mum didn't like them because she had to iron them and I thought they were the best thing ever to sleep on! I was obsessed with them and they must have been over 40 years old!
Do you have the same linen all year round, or do you change up your bedroom styling with the seasons for example?
I change it when I feel like a change, and I do think I naturally go darker colours in winter to cosy up the space.
Who makes the bed in your home? Always me
Top sheet or no top sheet? Always a top
Matching bed linen or contrasting colours? Contrasting or matching if I want everything to calm the heck down.
Decorative cushions? Euros? Both? Or None? Both
Do you have any exciting plans or upcoming projects you’re thinking about or working on? Yes a little 70s double brick cottage on the Sunshine Coast.
What’s next on your interior styling wishlist? All the furniture, fittings and bed linen for my little 70s project.
Thank you Catherine, for being so generous with your time and wisdom, we enjoyed getting to know you a little bit more and we can't wait to see what magic your create with your new Sunshine Coast project!
Follow Cath on instagram @this_old_house52
Images supplied by Catherine. Some images by @casa_morgan