Bombers chief’s terrace lights the way
A bright, modern renovation has transformed the terrace home of Essendon chief Xavier Campbell
VICTORIAN terrace houses can be very dark and poky. But step inside the renovated home of Essendon Football Club chief executive Xavier Campbell and wife Clare Hawkins and you’ll find a terrace that breaks the mould. A modern rear extension gives the house something sorely lacking in most terraces: oodles of light and storage space — not to mention a bold focal point in the form of a curved, lime-washed timber ceiling.
“During the design process, I asked the architects to introduce some roundness to take the edge off the angles of the room,” Ms Hawkins said. “They suggested the ply ceiling and it’s beautiful.”
The couple engaged architect Ewert Leaf to design the renovation. The first part of the job entailed restoring the run-down original part of the house — fixing cracks and levelling uneven floors — and introducing a brighter, more modern colour scheme and contemporary light fittings. Stylish new bathrooms were also installed.
Then came the extension. This takes the shape of a rear kitchen, dining and living area. Here, you’ll find a glass roof over part of the space that floods the room with daylight. It’s also here you’ll find that stunning ply ceiling.
Architect Will Leaf said the ceiling created “a nice soft counterpoint” to exposed brick, which also featured, but he acknowledged it was the most difficult aspect of the design to resolve.
“Getting the radius right posed a real challenge for the builders,” he said.
Another feature of the extension is a large wall devoted to storage — particularly handy, given the couple has two children: Freddie, 3, and baby Francesca.
“We have so much storage now, it’s amazing,” Ms Hawkins said. “It really helps hide away all the stuff that comes with having two young children in the family.”
Mr Campbell and Ms Hawkins tempered some of their renovation decisions, knowing they would eventually outgrow and sell the home — after all, there’s not much space for Mr Campbell to kick around a footy in the rear courtyard with kids.
But there’s still a huge amount of character and personality in the home.
Ms Hawkins, who hails from Berrigan in NSW, has incorporated some elements from her hometown in the decor. A bedhead and the dining table are constructed from doors she picked up at a Berrigan junkyard.
She also chose a few bold design elements, such as the vivid stair runner leading up to the second storey.
“The hallway and stairs are too narrow to have art on the wall, so I went with a feature stair runner instead — I wanted something quite out there,” she said.
Despite the challenges of renovating while working and raising a young family, the couple is extremely pleased with the renovation.
“It’s so unique — I haven’t seen anything like it,” Mr Campbell said. “I’m really happy with how it makes the most of the space we have.” ewertleaf.com.au