liv­ing thththe dream

A cou­ple’s pa­tience has been re­warded with this invit­ing mod­ern fam­ily home


The kitchen is of­ten the busy heart of the home, and for sta­tionery de­signer Brooke and her builder hus­band Adrian, this is sim­ply fact. When the cou­ple were de­sign­ing their long-dreamed-of home in Syd­ney’s Car­ing­bah South, all the de­tails were care­fully con­sid­ered, es­pe­cially for the kitchen. From the open-plan lay­out to stor­age, fin­ishes, fix­tures and ac­cess to nat­u­ral light, their at­ten­tion to de­tail in the plan­ning stage was the key to get­ting the space right.

When Brooke and Adrian pur­chased the home in 2007, it was a quaint ’50s cot­tage. They knew that they would have to up­grade the house to ac­com­mo­date a fam­ily but “we loved the block as it was big and leafy,” says Brooke. The plan was to move into Brooke’s par­ents’ house for two years while rent­ing out the cot­tage in order to save funds for the ren­o­va­tion. Two years turned into four-and-a half years, dur­ing which time their fam­ily grew with the ar­rival of daugh­ter Wil­low in April 2013. “Our kids loved liv­ing with their grand­par­ents, and we en­joyed our time there, too,” says Brooke. “It al­lowed us to save money in a way we wouldn’t have oth­er­wise been able to, and we had live-in babysit­ters as well!”

While liv­ing with Brooke’s par­ents, the cou­ple were able to take their time plan­ning their ren­o­va­tion, work­ing with Stubbs De­sign Tribe Ar­chi­tects. “While prac­ti­cal­ity was our fo­cus, we also wanted a home that was airy, spa­cious and light-filled,” says Brooke.

Adrian took in­spi­ra­tion from a few house projects he had worked on through his con­struc­tion busi­ness and in­cor­po­rated these ideas into his own home de­sign. One such idea was the black steel stair­case with a white steel-rod screen, com­bined with oak tim­ber stair treads. “It’s Adrian’s favourite fea­ture of the house,” says Brooke. “The stair­case is the first thing that catches your eye when you come through the front door, and we love it.”

The kitchen was the in­te­gral area to de­sign and ex­e­cute suc­cess­fully, as all of the down­stairs liv­ing spa­ces are con­nected to it. The cou­ple opted for an ex­tra-long bench of four me­tres so they had plenty of room for cook­ing preparation and also an eat-in area to share fam­ily meals. Stor­age was also a pri­or­ity to help keep the home clut­ter-free. “We wanted to max­imise our stor­age space so we had the cab­i­netry built all the way to the ceil­ing,” says Brooke. “We added built-in oak tim­ber boxes as a fea­ture; they’re a great way to dis­play items that you don’t need to reach ev­ery day.”

The win­dow splash­back in the kitchen also serves a dual pur­pose. “We wanted to in­cor­po­rate a splash­back win­dow into the de­sign to give the feel of the out­side be­ing brought in,” says Brooke. “I also wanted to be able to see the kids play­ing out­side in the yard while I’m busy in the kitchen.”

Dur­ing the com­ple­tion stage of the ren­o­va­tion, Brooke started study­ing de­sign and styling at ISCD (In­ter­na­tional School Of Colour + De­sign). Her new-found knowl­edge helped guide her dec­o­ra­tive choices. “The course has helped me to evolve my style and be a bit braver with my choices!” says Brooke. “I now have more of an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for unique pieces, colours and tex­tures.”

Brooke dec­o­rated her fam­ily home in a fu­sion of mod­ernAus­tralian-meets-Scan­di­na­vian styles. She used a min­i­mal­ist Scandi feel and colour pal­ette, pair­ing the ap­proach with Aus­tralian-made fur­ni­ture, home­wares and art. “I’m some­one who loves scour­ing through books and mag­a­zines for in­spi­ra­tion,” she says. “I’ve in­tro­duced a few eclec­tic and sen­ti­men­tal pieces to the liv­ing spa­ces and I am con­stantly mov­ing things around and bring­ing in green­ery in the form of in­door plants and cut­tings from the gar­den.”

In the hall­way, the two pho­to­graphic bird art­works by Leila Jef­frey are a sen­ti­men­tal nod to Adrian’s up­bring­ing. “We fell in love with them as soon as we saw them, as they ex­uded so much per­son­al­ity,” says Brooke. “Adrian ac­tu­ally grew up on a zoo that his par­ents owned. The zoo was home to na­tive an­i­mals and birds, so the Corella birds felt nos­tal­gic. The birds also con­tinue the loose, ca­sual Aus­tralian life­style feel that we have tried to achieve in the home.” This per­sonal nod is the ic­ing on the cake to a wel­com­ing home tai­lor-made for this grow­ing fam­ily. Visit pic­colostu­dio­s­, grover­con­struc­ and stubb­s­de­sign­

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