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Dominating in a historically male-dominated industry is no mean feat – doing it with style is even more impressive. Michelle Cao is the luxury developer behind Queensland’s Mii & Co Properties, and she’s flying the flag for strong, independent women in property.

Michelle brings more than a touch of female class to her projects; her recent restoration of a colonial-era Queenslander in Auchenflower is testament to that fact. The heritage-listed home dates back to 1912, and was built by Brisbane pioneer and ‘Father of Photography’ Thomas Mathewson. For Michelle, the challenge was to blend old and new, respecting the home’s decorated history while giving it a modern feel.

Who better than Michelle to share the style secrets to keep in mind this spring?

Declutter

“Number one by a country mile is declutter!” says Michelle. “There’s nothing worse than a cluttered house, whether it’s brand new or well loved. When I’m designing my projects, I’m always thinking less is more and if you start with the layout and fixtures, I find it’s a lot easier to keep it from becoming a dumping ground for all my other bits and pieces.”

Go green

“I’m absolutely loving sage green at the moment and it’s coming back in a big way this season,” says Michelle. “I think it really gives that 70’s Palm Springs vibe and will be popular for a while.” It’s thanks in part to the very sophisticated design of the Calile Hotel in Brisbane – the curves, the terrazzo, the sage green colouring. Basically, not black, white or grey.

70s revival

Thanks also to the Calile Hotel, Michelle says that everything 70’s style is hot right now. “Take a look at this dining room I styled last year – the oval shaped table with elephant legs, the pendant lights, the light hues! It’s very European and I think it’ll be very mainstream in a year or two. Perhaps a bit ahead of its time in 2022 but wait and see.”

Porcelain over stone

“I definitely see porcelain tiles and slabs replacing constituted stone in the next 12 to 24 months,” says Michelle. “They’re environmentally friendly and require zero maintenance compared to stone. That’s not to say stone will go out of fashion completely; it just won’t be used in kitchens and bathrooms so much.”

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.