When Melbourne couple Clare and James Canty went to NORTHBOURNE Architecture + Design with a desire to add a second storey to their home, their plans were quashed in favour of reworking the existing floorplan. “The owners first thought they required a second-storey extension to their existing home to create a master suite. However, during our rigorous design diagnosis stage it wasn’t necessary,” says director Sally Holbrook, who set about designing a less invasive, more cost-effective option that was speedier too. Winning!
“Halfway through the design phase, our team found out the couple were expecting their first child. While it was very exciting for them, it reinforced time was of the essence! We finessed our proposed option by reworking the existing floorplan, making minimal changes with maximum impact, as fast as possible!” says Sally.
What followed was a design process that drew heavily on the couple’s tastes. “One of the key drivers for the aesthetic approach was directly influenced by the owners’ love of patterning, texture and contrast, evident in their artwork collection and household items. These ideas were interwoven throughout the whole design, including joinery design, colour selections and material choices.” Sally replaced the entire timber floor and installed a functional fire place too.
With her team, she also set about creating lots of functional storage in every room – complete with bespoke details. “We designed unique door fronts for the bedroom wardrobes with inlaid timber details and recessed finger pull door handles. We also designed a continuous steel recessed shelf under each of the mirrored cabinets in the bathrooms – there’s a black one and a white one. We think they look great and they are very useful too.”
Sally’s favourite part of the renovation is the master suite – a luxurious space full of unexpected details including a timber shelving unit traditionally found in a lounge room or living area.
“We transformed a series of existing rooms into a large master suite for the client, consisting of a large bedroom, built-in display shelving, walk-in robe and a large ensuite. One side of the walk-in robe was specifically designed not to continue up to the ceiling, acting like a room divider than a wall. This is so we could achieve a seamless ceiling between the bedroom and robe. This technique helps to create a space that feels expansive and endless, and ultimately larger,” says Sally.
“On the bedroom side of the room divider, we introduced compartmentalised, Japanese-inspired wall display shelving in a timber finish to match the new floor finish,” says Sally who also designed a highly functional wardrobe for the couple too which includes pull-out drawers and pull-down hangers to make use of the high ceiling.
See more of Sally’s work here.
Photography by Eve Wilson