This room is all about the energy, clashing bright colours against the monochromatic wallpaper
This room is all about the energy, clashing bright colours against the monochromatic wallpaper

Real interior: Down the rabbit hole


Turning a getaway into a home worked out charmingly for a family living in their very own fantasy land

Making the move to a holiday house isn’t a decision made lightly. But when you think about it, the choice has already been made — ocean views and salty fresh air trump a concrete jungle any day. For designer Heidi Meyer, her husband Kim and baby girl Chalcot, converting a rundown property into an Alice in Wonderland-esque space to call home was very much a whirlwind adventure.

Situated in Mooloolaba, Queensland, UNITFIVE was the name bestowed upon the property by owner Heidi, who believed the space was “devoid of character and the warmth of a home. A home is created through layering

We wanted to inject a bucketload of fun and family warmth into this apartment, which was about to become our Australian home on return from years in London.
texture and the occupants’ personalities who live there,” she says. “Not only was the apartment boring with a capital B for a waterfront location, but we had owned it for 10 years already and it needed modernising with a new floorplan. Although situated in a warm climate, it was a glass and aluminium box far too safe for an interior designer and her other half. It was a blank canvas just waiting to be drawn on.”

And draw the duo did, looking to bright colours and textures to turn the yawn-worthy interior into a lively space.

Using their positive outlook on life as the inspiration behind the design of the property, Heidi and her husband sought to create a “nest” that reflected the sheer happiness her family was experiencing with the birth of the couple’s first child as well as their new abode. “We wanted to establish the same layers of warmth and sophistication we designed elsewhere in the world,” says Heidi. “We wanted to make it youthful, fun, vibrant and incredibly classy.”

A unique aspect of the home is the brick feature wall, transported all the way from London and hand-curated by Heidi out of the mud. “I dug an entire muddy London backyard for two pallets of age-old bricks,” she says. “When the pallets arrived, they were in a crumbly mess. I managed to salvage what was needed and the crumbly ones looked the best!”

The Alice in Wonderland theme is present in the colour scheme throughout the apartment. “We wanted it to feel like you had fallen down the rabbit hole and arrived at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Hence, bright colours pop, the walls talk, light cables swing and life is overscaled and large,” enthuses Heidi.

A large portion of the renovation revolved around the kitchen, which featured an impractical layout. The water view wasn’t utilised due to the cooktop facing a wall, so a brand new kitchen was installed as a solution. Establishing a home office space was also crucial, where both parties could work together in an area that was fluid and cohesive. The body of work completed included three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, balconies, laundry and an open-plan kitchen and living area.

The couple began the renovation process while living in London, forcing Heidi to keep up with tradies via Skype as well as travelling back to Australia to check on the progress. “Because Queensland tradies go surfing every day at 2pm, something that should take a few weeks can take months,” says Heidi. “It takes a great deal of organisation, patience from neighbours and stamina to realise the end result.”

Brimming with quirky styling, including the green bottles hanging on the wall and knobs reminiscent of M&Ms, this amazing home is allowing Heidi and her family to live in their very own fantasy land, turning a whimsical dream into reality.

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Photography by Jaimi Kenny