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 piccolostudiostore.com.au, groverconstructions.com.au and stubbsdesigntribe.com.au.