Contemporary style turns an old Californian bungalow into a modern Australian family home.
Sarah Knight’s Californian bungalow is bright, airy and spacious, perfect for family time and entertaining friends.
“NINE YEARS AGO, my husband Paul and I took on a ‘renovator’s delight’. We fell in love with the heritage feel of the 100-year-old Californian bungalow, despite its rundown state, in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Hampton. It was in need of some TLC, but we could see our vision for the future. After living in the home for five years, our concept came to life in just 10 short months. We knocked down most of it and started again. The original floorplan was a little restricted so we opened it up to create a more entertaining-friendly home.
BRIGHT AND AIRY
As well as the extra space, the new layout and design come with other benefits. A huge span of windows allows in plenty of light; in the living-dining-kitchen area, highlight windows were put in above a five-glass -panel system, comprising three doors and two fixed windows. The two doors can be completely retracted to create a huge indoor-outdoor living zone, which is ideal for entertaining large groups. Our home was designed to make the most of time with family and friends. We enjoy entertaining, having barbecues and spending the whole day in the pool!
NORDIC BY NATURE
I constantly change the decor, buy new artwork and new plants, or change the furniture. At the moment I’m loving the Scandinavian vibe: lots of white and light bleached-out features. I have Danish-style furniture and accessories almost everywhere in the house.
I particularly love the style of Australian furniture company Jardan
and one of my favourite buys is the Jardan modular sofa. It’s where the kids jump around every day, playing superheroes. And it’s where Paul and I have a glass of wine in front of the fire on a chilly Sunday. It also happens to be the most comfortable sofa in the world! The dining chairs are from another of my favourite local shops, which has now closed. They’re a perfect complement to the dining table – one of the most interesting pieces in the home; it’s actually an old salvaged door from the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Paul repurposed it by adding legs, sanding, staining and lacquering it – we love having a piece of furniture from such a historical place.
Plantation shutters feature through the house, except for in the open-plan living-dining-kitchen area, where there are block out blinds. The walls have been painted with Dulux ‘Natural White’ throughout, with Lexicon in the bathrooms. The whites highlight timber features and artworks. I love buying new artwork, when you find that rare piece you didn’t know you needed until you see it!
THE FAMILY WAY
Our home is definitely tailor-made for togetherness, starting with my favourite room, the living-dining-kitchen space. Our kitchen is always the craziest, busiest part of the house – lucky it’s so big! Our kids love to help us make dinner and it’s great that
I can watch them in the backyard or the living room if I’m doing things in the kitchen. Everyone is always together, which is pretty cool.
The kids read and play in their shared bedroom. This room is filled with
“In summer, the kids spend entire days in the pool. It’s the best investment we’ve ever made.”
chaos, fun and lots of bed bouncing. I can often hear the boys giggling and whispering long after they should have been asleep. Family time is also spent in our master bedroom. The kids love piling into our bed to watch cartoons in the mornings. I love the afternoon sun that comes through the plantation shutters in this room, too.
Another of my favourite spaces is the kids’ bathroom, where we installed a skylight above the bath. It’s amazing to be able to look out while having a soak. The kids watch the stars when they have their evening baths.
POOL + PIZZA = PARTY!
Outside, we have created a versatile family space for relaxation and, more importantly, fun! We installed a pool, and the alfresco area has been transformed into an outdoor room with a built-in timber daybed and pizza oven. We’ve had many pizza nights and even cooked our Christmas roast in it. The ambience and heat it generates is brilliant.
There are still a few things left to do and we’re getting the renovation bug again, so perhaps we will add a second storey in the next couple of years.”
Sofa heroes The kids love jumping around on the charcoal sofa, playing superheroes.
A Favor Cycles & Motos vintage poster makes an impact in the neutral living area.
Dog’s life Oscar the Welsh terrier has a nap on the floor in the living room.
Let there be light Sunlight streams in through the wall of doors and windows, which lead to the outdoor area.
Wooden dining furniture is functional and feels contemporary against the white kitchen.
Close to the action Sarah loves being able to keep an eye on her boys thanks to the open-plan layout.
Floor it The flooring is American oak solid timber with a lime wash coating, from Floors Of Distinction.
COOL PENDANT Tarakan medium rattan light pendant, $199.95, from Discount Lighting.
Marble-ous idea American oak timber flooring works well with the Statuarietto marble kitchen.
The geometric bedlinen from Designers Choice will last for years without dating.
TAKE A SEAT Högsten outdoor chair in White, $129, from Ikea.
BLUE MOOD Gurli cushion cover in Blue, $5, from Ikea.
Great outdoors A Freedom table and bench seats make the perfect spot for brekkie on sunny mornings.
All white The bathroom walls are covered with handmade subway tiles in a brick pattern.
Room for a little one? The kids often jump into the master double shower unannounced, Sarah says.
Stylish stone Large bluestone pavers line the pool and alfresco areas.