New Ways To Gain Space & Value

The pod, the loft & the light well

Australian House & Garden - - Contents - STORY Jackie Brygel | STYLING Becky Lit­tler | PHOTOGRAPHY An­nette O’Brien

There is nowhere Scott Druce, the di­rec­tor of sta­tionery and home­wares re­tailer Tele­gram Co, and his part­ner Dan Creasey would rather be than re­lax­ing at their home in Mel­bourne’s in­ner north. It’s hardly sur­pris­ing given their home is so spec­tac­u­lar: a 19th-cen­tury cor­ner shop dra­mat­i­cally dove­tailed with the sleek­est of mod­u­lar ex­ten­sions.

When the cou­ple bought the home two years ago, it was a far cry from the smart prop­erty it had been in its hey­day. “It was com­pletely run­down,” says Scott. “The char­ac­ter had been stripped out over the years and a 1950s lean-to at the rear was struc­turally un­sound. We re­ally wanted to re­in­state the her­itage as­pects and to en­hance them. Then we be­gan think­ing about a new ad­di­tion.”

Scott and Dan’s first step was re­search­ing the his­tory of the home. “It was fas­ci­nat­ing,” says Scott. “It was built in 1883 as a bak­ery, then later used as a gen­eral store. There had once been sta­bles out the

back where peo­ple left their horses while they shopped.”

They be­gan by restor­ing the red-brick struc­ture, which to­day con­tains a li­brary, bath­room, gue­stroom and shared home of­fice.

Next, Scott and Dan tack­led the ex­ten­sion. Their vi­sion was for a sim­ple yet strik­ing Color­bond-clad ad­di­tion and tasked build­ing com­pany Mod­scape with its con­struc­tion. In seem­ingly no time at all, their dreams be­came a re­al­ity. “The whole process was in­cred­i­bly quick – just 12 weeks be­tween the time we signed the con­tract and when we moved in,” says Scott. “The struc­ture was built off-site and craned in place in two hours. Neigh­bours left for work in the morn­ing to a halfempty block and re­turned to what was al­most a com­pletely fin­ished home. It was jaw drop­ping.”

The ex­ten­sion is what re­ally sets this home apart. There’s a light and airy glass-walled open-plan kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing zone on the ground floor, from which a sculp­tural spi­ral stair­case leads to the cou­ple’s bed­room suite. In the back­yard, a shim­mer­ing new pool, sauna and lush gar­den beckon.

‘WE WANTED TO BE SUR­ROUNDED BY PIECES WE USE ALL THE TIME, SOW EV­ERY DE­LIB­ER­ATELY KEPT ONLY THE ITEMS WE RE­ALLY TREA­SURE .’ SCOTT

The ad­di­tion is de­signed to make the most of the 500m2 cor­ner site, con­nect­ing with the streetscape from sev­eral van­tage points. And up­stairs in their tran­quil re­treat, Scott and Dan look out over the tree­tops in the neigh­bour­ing streets.

Self-con­fessed min­i­mal­ists, less is un­de­ni­ably more as far as this duo is con­cerned. “We wanted to be sur­rounded by pieces that we use all the time, so we very de­lib­er­ately kept only the items we re­ally trea­sure,” says Scott. The fur­nish­ings – many of which are cher­ished vin­tage pieces, oth­ers picked up in Asia while Scott was on buy­ing trips – are set against a neu­tral back­drop of pre­dom­i­nantly white walls and join­ery, tac­tile tim­ber and stone floors, and large ex­panses of glass. The re­sult is highly func­tional and in­cred­i­bly calm.

This home may be a world away from its for­mer life as a bustling shop, but its new in­car­na­tion feels equally thrilling. “Walk­ing in the door is al­ways a great feel­ing,” says Scott. Mod­scape, Brook­lyn, Vic­to­ria; (03) 9314 7769 or www.mod­scape.com.au.

CLOCK­WISE FROM MAIN IM­AGE Built in 1883, the red-brick build­ing has had a colour­ful life. Now re­stored and with a sleek Color­bond-clad ex­ten­sion, it’s set to be en­joyed for gen­er­a­tions to come. The home of­fice (top and right) is painted in Porter’s Paints Ca­per. “I stayed in a ho­tel in London with the most beau­ti­ful green walls. I took a photo and Porter’s matched it,” says Scott. Vin­tage desk and draw­ers bought in Korea. Ka­rimoku60 arm­chairs sourced in Ja­pan. Ceil­ing lights, Tele­gram Open House. Rug, Ar­madillo&Co. This rem­nant of old tiles was pre­served as a nod to the home’s her­itage. For Where to Buy, see page 187.

ABOVE Green­ery planted along the bound­ary wall cre­ates the feel of a pri­vate walled gar­den. Scott and Dan made the din­ing ta­ble them­selves. “It was a fun project,” says Scott. “We had the steel frame made up then con­structed the top out of re­claimed tim­ber we found at a lo­cal tim­ber yard.” House Doc­tor din­ing chairs, Tele­gram Open House. Plant stand and pot, Ivy Muse.

OP­PO­SITE The spi­ral stair­case by Enzie Space Sav­ing Stair­cases is as much a style choice as it is a prac­ti­cal one: its small foot­print means it can be tucked into a cor­ner of the room. Arm­chairs bought in Ja­pan. Nkuku plant bas­ket, Tele­gram Open House. For Where to Buy, see page 187.

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