Before and after: An incredible internal courtyard transformation


Christal Fysentzou and her husband Chris are no strangers when it comes to home renovation.

WATCH: A small courtyard makeover

As the founders of Brisbane-based building and design firm Zou Build, they have Chris’s professional carpentry skills and Christal’s expertise in interior and colour design to complete an incredible modern home makeover.

So, after seven years of creating beautiful houses for other families, Christal and Chris finally decided to build a dream home for their own family of four.

The renovation began at the heart of the home – a rare internal courtyard – that had been a major motivation for the family’s purchasing decision.

Inspired by this unusual feature and its potential for fusing indoor and outdoor living, Christal aimed to bring the airiness and brightness of nature into the house.

Originally described as “utterly unusable”, restrictive, difficult to access and lacking lifestyle amenities, the courtyard was unattractive, with a bright red pathway surrounded by bleached rocks, thick brick columns, and overgrown trees.    

Here, we take a look at how Christal transformed this space.

1. Statement tree

Courtyard makeover

Christal installed a statement olive tree with a custom bar top concrete planter in the centre of the courtyard. Accompanying stools made it ideal for early morning coffee and evening cocktails.

2. Spiral staircase

Black spiral staircase in courtyard

A minimalistic iron spiral staircase leading to the second-floor terrace was added to the space, creating a graphic statement.

3. Doors

Courtyard renovation doors

Two sets of Stegbar aluminium double doors were added, opening from the main living area and kitchen onto the courtyard. Introducing more light into the home, they also created a seamless transition between indoors and out.

4. Tiles

Courtyard makeover

Red bricks and white rocks were removed and replaced with charcoal terrazzo-look tiles from Edge Tiles and Stone for a contemporary look.

5. Render

Courtyard makeover

The unattractive red bricks were rendered in a dove grey by Unitex Coatings.

Love Christal and Chris’s new courtyard? Take a look at their bathroom renovation here.

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