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Caulfield North house

This wonderful home from the Arts and Crafts movement had great bones but the decor was yellow and tired and the bathroom, laundry and storage areas were in desperate need of attention to make the home function for a family of five. Our lovely clients wanted a home that drew attention to its beautiful heritage features without overwhelming. They wanted better flow between new and old and a fresh palette of finishes to provide the backdrop for their wonderful art collection. The open plan living/kitchen/dining area had been renovated in the 80s and while our clients loved the stone fireplace and matching island bench frame, they wanted it to sit happily within the context of this main living area without dominating. The approach was therefore to pair back all detailing that overwhelmed including decorative rectangular bulkheads and stone detailing framing the dining/living areas, and chunky timber architraves, cornices and the fireplace mantle. Structural bulkheads were painted out to achieve subtle zoning between kitchen and dining areas and severely angled rangehood cupboards were replaced with vertical panels that directed attention to textured vertical tiles (replacing a rainbow of coloured tiles). Shiny, cream bench tops were replaced with textured granite that blends beautifully with the stone fireplace and island frame. The same pairing back approach was taken in the entry and adjoining reading room, removing clunky 80s detailing to expose beautiful heritage features and new pendant lighting to enhance these features. Laundry and mud room areas were reconfigured to allow an elegant powder room, in turn allowing the downstairs bathroom to become a private and luxurious master ensuite.

Our clients' three daughters were quickly outgrowing the small bathroom upstairs so the existing bathroom became a powder room and the largest bedroom was downsized to allow a decent bathroom with separate bath, shower and peep-hole window into the roof. Robes were adjusted and desk areas were created.

Great care was taken in this renovation to reuse items that were working but needed freshening – orange floorboards in the original house were sanded back and resealed to lift and lighten the spaces, the kitchen cupboards that were functional and smart in profile were painted and finished with new knobs and a large timber dresser in the hallway adjoining the reading area was given a new lease of life with a satin teal paint finish.

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Photography by Martina Gemmola