Even though they live in one of the most beautiful and relaxing regions of the Gold Coast, in a stunning home they’ve redesigned, Carlene and Michael Duffy rarely sit still.
Former finalists on Channel 9’s ‘The Block’, this inspirational creative duo are constantly busy juggling all manner of projects and responsibilities, including a flourishing design and construction business known as Cedar and Suede; their own TV show Ready Set Reno; a vintage caravan restoration business and a young, growing family.
Carlene and Michael first met whilst working in Japan - she as a stage performer and he as a stuntman at Universal Studios Japan. They quickly realised they had a shared passion for renovation and soon rose to fame thanks to their reality TV success here in Australia. Since then they have worked hard to convert their media profile into a thriving, sustainable business model.
This busy life brings with it numerous demands and challenges, yet they embrace the workload with energy and passion.
“We’re always on the go, but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Carlene. “We have clients and commitments all around the country, and of course there’s the kids and their busy schedules, but that’s what we love.”
Carlene says that their 2018 MU‑X LS‑T is well equipped to handle all of the demands they place on it.
“Whether it’s picking up a new design piece, driving up the highway to visit our latest project, taking the kids and their friends to sport and school or towing one of the caravans we’re working on, the MU-X has all bases covered. It’s stylish and comfortable, and I make full use of the generous space inside,” says Carlene.
In their business, Carlene handles the design, and Michael handles the construction. It’s a classic case of style meets substance, and it’s an arrangement that’s cleverly reflected in their company name.
Carlene has a keen creative eye and she has a huge fan base of loyal followers on social media keen to embrace her latest ideas. Take a look at her feeds and you’ll find all kinds of inspiration, ideas and tips that challenge the norm and push her audiences to think independently and to break the mould.
Says Carlene, “We like to create spaces that last, that have a real soul to them, and we always say to people, try doing something that means something unique to you.”
Their stunning house in the Tallebudgera Valley in Queensland is a shining example of what they are capable of achieving. Michael says that they literally created the home from the ground up, as the previous house had recently burnt down when they bought the property.
“There wasn’t much here when we started, so we had to be creative in our approach and our thinking,” he said.
Their line of restored vintage caravans is equally impressive, with interiors rebuilt from scratch starting with an old van shell they found wasting away in a farmhouse shed. With a real 60s vibe, their vans are a delightful throwback to simpler times, and they turn heads wherever they go.
“The MU-X is ideal for towing the caravans, whether it’s for work or when we’re on a family holiday.”
“You can really feel the power from the engine when you’re towing, and that’s really important to me,” says Michael.
“Carlene and I both grew up camping a lot, so that outdoor lifestyle is in our blood, and it’s important to us that our kids get to experience the same thing,” he said.
Only difference is, this time round, they’ll be doing it in style.