Modern vintage This home makes the most of its natural appeal
THIS STRIKINGLY REPURPOSED MODERNIST HOME IN MELBOURNE IS A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS NATURAL
Something special is taking shape in the garden of Megan and Sam’s home in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Under the shade of a towering Japanese maple tree, a new project is underway – and it has nothing to do with the recently completed renovation of the family’s mid-century home. Sam and the couple’s eight-year-old daughter, Hannah, are busy building a house for the fairies, complete with pixie-sized furniture. “Hannah just loves being in the garden and she really enjoys working on this with her dad,” says Megan. “When her house is finished, the fairies will be very welcome here!” In fact, the duo’s home extends a warm greeting to all those who visit. Built in the mid-60s and set on a hilltop with lush greenery all around, the thoughtfully extended home is a lesson in the power of natural light and texture. It also pays homage to its modernist origins, with a striking wood-panelled ceiling, sunken living room, stone feature walls and bold colour throughout. Most of all, this is a luminous house that invites in the sunshine, and its owners, along with Hannah and her 10-year-old brother, Thomas (both pictured opposite), are happy to call it home. “We’re very much an outdoorsy family, so we wanted a place that was geared towards the garden and foliage,” says Megan. “We also like raw and natural elements such as timber and stone, which bring in warmth.”
“BEFORE THE RENOVATION THE HOUSE liveable WAS BUT WE WANTED MORE open it up SPACE, TO UPDATE IT AND MORE TO THE OUTSIDE” ~ MEGAN
They saw the abode’s potential in its previous life. “We loved it when we first looked at it many years ago,” says Megan, “but the home itself had only had an extension done in the ’70s and a kitchen makeover at some stage, although it had been very well maintained.” Enlisting the help of Steffen Welsch Architects, Megan and Sam compiled their wishlist, which included a family-friendly floor plan, stylish kitchen, new bathrooms and a paved alfresco area. “We wanted to bring the house into the 21st century and reconcile a late modernist design with contemporary expectations to provide a more functional space, and to be respectful to the old,” says architect Steffen. A central living zone now links the children’s wing at one end of the house to a tranquil parents’ retreat at the other. “The kids can be as noisy as they like in their space, and we have our peace and quiet when we want it,” says Megan. Sustainability also matters, with the home featuring new double-glazing and a solar hot water system. “The house used to be very hot in summer, but the new windows have made a huge difference, as have external blinds,” she says. “It now keeps cool in summer and stays warm in winter.” There’s much for the family to love, not least the fact that their home has been designed just for them. “We haven’t renovated it to sell,” says Megan. “We’ve done it to make it our house and look forward to enjoying it for a very long time.”
Grounded by large-format honed basalt tiles from Lapege, the gorgeous new kitchen is as stylish as it is user-friendly (opposite & this page). It features an eye-catching contrast of timber veneer and 2-pac joinery and is a treat for Megan and Sam (pictured top right) to spend time in. The highlight is the island bench (opposite & top), topped in what Megan calls “very tough and durable” recycled hardwood with plenty of storage (top left). “The island’s heater is part of our hydronic heating system,” says Megan. “It heats part of the kitchen but mostly whoever is sitting at the bench – great for winter breakfasts.” A ‘Talo’ suspension light by Artemide delivers a contemporary sleekness to the casual eating space, while ‘B2’ bar stools from Arranmore Furniture are always in use. Megan also loves the joinery unit between the kitchen and living room (top left & right), saying, “It is such a lovely way to divide the two rooms”.
relaxed ““IT’S A VERY TYPE OF HOME AND ONE WE JUST LOVE returning TO EVERY DAY” ~ MEGAN
What was once an additional living room has now been transformed into a spacious parents’ retreat (top left). Contrasting against a white wall, ‘Tolomeo Parete’ adjustable bedside lamps from Artemide enjoy star billing. The couple found the vintage teak bedside tables at Grandfather’s Axe in Melbourne’s Northcote, and the Bemboka bedlinen and throw are from Southwood. The carpet is Prestige Carpets’ ‘Natural Twist’ in Appaloosa from Don Currie Carpets, while the curtains in ‘Zarina’ fabric in Coal came from Interiors by Riveresque.
Laminex cupboards in Juicy form a zesty focal point in the laundry (left). “I thought I’d go a bit more ‘out there’, hence the lime green cabinetry,” says Megan. “It’s so lovely having a nice, fresh colour.” The room’s Laminex benchtop in Polar White is as durable as it is clean and crisp-looking.
Another fearless decor decision succeeds in the family bathroom (top right), where yellow 2-pac joinery in Dulux Harvest Gold is a joyful touch. “It’s such a sunny colour,” says Megan.
She and Sam sheathed the floor and walls in Leonardo Ceramica ‘Stone Project’ limestone-look porcelain tiles in Brera from Lapege, while a recycled hardwood vanity top lends an earthy vibe.
STUDY NOOK Almost every centimetre of this carefully considered home has been put to good use. In the central hallway, an alcove has been cleverly converted into a functional study nook (above left), with a built-in desk and drawers. “It’s also a great spot to dump everything from schoolbags to bills,” says Megan. Bringing colour and beauty to the work area is a landscape painting by English artist Angela Newberry titled ‘Sunset At Mary River’.