In 2018, Roìsìn and Zac bought a house full of asbestos. Now, it's a coastal dream home.

In early 2018, Roìsìn and Zac, both 23, bought their first home together. It was full of asbestos, there was rusted wrought iron everywhere, and as Roìsìn explains, it was "a bit of a disaster". 

Fast forward two-and-a-half years and the married couple have turned the Brisbane post-war house into an idyllic coastal home. Light pours through every room, there are olive trees and cacti dotted around the backyard... oh, and they renovated the entire place on weekends, as they both work full-time jobs. Yep.

Watch: How to make a room look bigger. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

When searching for a home, Roìsìn and Zac knew they couldn't afford anything that was finished and would likely end up renovating. Thankfully, when it came to this one, the asbestos turned crowds away and they snagged a great deal.

"Asbestos generally scares a lot of people off because you have to pull everything out and build the house from scratch. So in terms of why we bought it: it had really good bones," Roìsìn told Mamamia.

"It had beautiful hardwood floors, really high ceilings and the main thing for us: [a good] layout.

"So when it comes to renovating, like moving walls, that's where the price blows out. Whereas our house had a really nice setup of natural light coming through into the dining space, all of the living space is on one end of the house and then all the bedrooms are off the hallways; and [they're] really decent sized bedrooms, because often in older houses, the rooms are a lot bigger," she said.

The outside of the house before. Image: Instagram/@geebungalow 


The outside of the house after renovating. Image: Instagram/@geebungalow 

Before the renovation, Roìsìn and Zac didn't have any inspiration for what they wanted the house to look like.

"Our taste and our style really developed over time," Roìsìn explained. "I think if we'd put the money in straight away to renovate the entire thing, I'd be looking back now going, 'I have so many regrets'."

Now they know exactly what style they like.

"A mixture of Scandinavian and Mediterranean," Roìsìn said. "We have a very minimalist style so we don't like a lot of stuff or clutter. But we use a lot of textures and different tones in the same colour family.


"Our main thing is, we aren't going to be in this house forever. So we want to make sure it's as timeless as possible while also being something that we love. We always have resale on our minds when we're renovating our house but we also want it to not just look like every other house on the market. So we are trying to create something quite unique."

Their living room now. Image: Instagram/@geebungalow 

After planning and sourcing (which Roìsìn said took almost 80 per cent of their time), the couple would save up a chunk of money and go room by room.

"[We had] no trade experience whatsoever," Roìsìn said.

"We realised there's so much information out there on the internet; people are always sharing. And I guess that's kind of what our Instagram account [which they set up to document the process of the renovation] has now become. Even Bunnings has really great tutorials - that's how I taught myself how to render."

"Our bathrooms were the first big thing we tackled, and that was a blessing. Because I would say even now, two-and-a-half years later, bathrooms are the hardest room to do, and we did it first," Roìsìn said. 

"And it's honestly just trial and error and asking people. So you call a plumber, say 'hey, we're doing a bathroom', and they'll say, 'well, have you done this?' And you take notes of that."


The bathroom before. Image: Supplied. 

The bathroom after. Image: Supplied. 

There were plenty of challenges along the way, but Roìsìn says the cost of the work was the big one.


"We had a rule very early on that we got a minimum of three quotes for everything, because you realise quotes vary so much," she said. "As well as trades just not showing up. You book someone in and they just never show up."

But it didn't stop them.

"Zac and I are a complete team," Roìsìn said. "He's really invested in all of the design elements of the house. It's not like I make the design decisions and he builds everything. It's very much [that] we design and we're both on the tools. And I think that is really helpful for us."

The kitchen now. Image: Supplied. 

The laundry now. Image: Supplied. 


While the couple faced various obstacles while renovating the house, they quickly learned they were much more capable than they knew.

"I remember I was proud of myself when I rendered my entire backyard. We built our entire backyard out of block," Roìsìn said. "And, you know, I never would have thought that I could do that."

The backyard before. Image: Supplied. 

The backyard after. Image: Supplied. 


"Not only is that [my favourite place] because I'm obsessed with how beautiful it is out there, but because it was completely wasted before," Roìsìn said. "Like, I think I had probably gone out there maybe once a week to do washing before. There was an old dirty water tank back there, this rotten ramp, dead grass everywhere...

"Being able to transform a space that was completely wasted into our most used space, I think that's probably why I love that place the most."

To see more photos and follow their renovation, follow Roìsìn and Zac's Instagram here.

Feature image: Instagram/@geebungalow

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