Zoe and Michael Frost spied the po­ten­tial of a run-down 1950s weath­er­board on a gor­geous Mel­bourne street and trans­formed it for their fam­ily.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Af­ter buy­ing the house no-one wanted, Zoe and Michael turned the worn-out weath­er­board into a warm fam­ily home.


this house in 2011 I think we were the only ones who liked it! My par­ents thought it was too far gone and I reckon ev­ery­one who’d been through it agreed – on auc­tion day there was noth­ing but a ven­dor bid and si­lence. Af­ter much con­sid­er­a­tion and dis­cus­sion we took the chance and four weeks later signed the con­tracts. On the plus side, the street was just beau­ti­ful, leafy with lovely homes, and the drive to the city quick and easy.

The house was not so per­fect: ripped car­pet in al­most ev­ery room, holes in the doors and an­gled floors through­out were just a few of the more ob­vi­ous is­sues. The as­bestos car­port had to go, as did the orig­i­nal av­o­cado-green un­der-sized bath.


Hav­ing stud­ied ar­chi­tec­ture I de­cided to un­der­take the ren­o­va­tion plans, with my brief be­ing ‘to make our home lighter, brighter and more mod­ern’.

The orig­i­nal floor plan of the house was a work­able one, which was an­other rea­son we de­cided to buy the prop­erty, but we needed to find ways to let in a lot more light and open up the spa­ces for fam­ily liv­ing.

The most sig­nif­i­cant change we made was open­ing the kitchen up to the liv­ing area and in­stalling a sky­light over the kitchen that adds plenty of nat­u­ral light to the cen­tre of the house. We also re­placed two small win­dows along the east side of the liv­ing room with huge glass slid­ing doors. These cre­ate such a feel­ing of space and lead out to the rear deck area, which we built in Mod­wood so there’s no need for stain­ing or main­te­nance.


We gave the one very dated bathroom a mod­ern makeover and turned it into our en­suite. Then we con­verted the laun­dry into a fam­ily bathroom. We also de­cided to cut off a one-me­tre strip along the wall of the din­ing room to make way for a Euro­pean laun­dry, along with a much-needed wardrobe for the third bed­room and a linen press.

There’s lit­er­ally no wasted space in the house, which ac­tu­ally has a very small foot­print for a four-bed­room home. There’s very lit­tle in the way of hall­ways – it’s all us­able space.


Our ren­o­va­tions took 10 weeks, dur­ing which we kept most of our be­long­ings in Bax­ter’s bed­room as it only re­quired car­pet and a lick of paint. In­side, we went with quar­ter strength An­tique White USA. It‘s a nice clean white which I felt was re­quired, as we have in­her­ited heavy-look­ing dark wood fur­ni­ture but didn’t want these to ‘weigh down’ the feel of the house.

Though our fur­ni­ture is very neu­tral in black, brown or white, I love to bring bright colours into the house via linen, books, art­works, fruit, the kids’ cre­ations, blan­kets and cush­ions.

Lately I’ve found my­self adding a good splash of pink here and there and any­thing that’s a lit­tle more ‘girlie’ to bal­ance the amount of testos­terone in my all-male fam­ily! With two lit­tle boys run­ning around it is very rare for any of the soft fur­nish­ings to re­main where I put them for too long – they are usu­ally be­ing used as swords or to build in­door cub­bies. So noth­ing I buy is too frag­ile or pre­cious – it just has to be able to han­dle fam­ily life.


The spa­ces we’ve cre­ated in this house work so well for our fam­ily. The open­plan area is ev­ery­one’s favourite, and I par­tic­u­larly love our din­ing area which is of­ten a Lego depart­ment or any other pur­suit the boys have in mind. Hav­ing the sep­a­rate lit­tle liv­ing room hon­ours the his­tory of the house and is a nice space for a quiet read or cof­fee. The new front awning and veran­dah we added give the house ‘cot­tage’ street ap­peal. We still have more work to do in the gar­den and that’s next on the agenda now the boys are a lit­tle older.

It’s no doubt the trans­for­ma­tion of this house was a lot of work but I can safely say it now re­ally does suit the gor­geous street that at­tracted us to it in the first place. It has be­come the fam­ily home that I had imag­ined.”

Splashes of pink help tie the de­sign to­gether. Cosy fam­ily life A large rug from Free­dom de­fines the liv­ing area and soft­ens the tim­ber floor.

It’s all white

The white leather couch from Plush is Zoe’s favourite item. “It pains me to see the cat use it as a scratch post!”

Fresh new fa­cade

The ex­te­rior was painted and a front canopy and match­ing veran­dah added.

Art up­date Zoe made this bright art­work – see page 54 for her how-to.

Smart stor­age In­ex­pen­sive tubs keep the boys’ toys tidy but handy, atop an on-trend cowhide Zoe re­ceived as a gift. An Ikea mir­ror adds to the vintage ap­peal of this room.

Light and dark All-white walls off­set the fam­ily’s many an­tiques.

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