When friends visit Az and Jamie’s newly built abode in Melbourne’s western suburbs, there is no need for the couple to say “make yourselves at home”. Their Scandinavian-inspired interiors exude such serenity, people say they just want to put their feet up and relax.
“It makes us very happy to think we’ve created such a welcoming space,” says Az, with a smile. “We’ve always been drawn to this aesthetic and the lifestyle it represents: The raw earthy textures, clean lines, beautiful blonde timber and the sense of unity with nature and the feeling that creates.”
This is more than a mere nod to Nordic; the duo infused every beautifully styled room with a sense of harmony, or lagom, as the Swedes say: not too much, not too little, just right.
While Az and Jamie both have corporate management jobs, they have always nurtured their creative sides. “It’s important for us to have that balance in our lives,” explains Az, who embarked on a part-time interior design course when the build began. “Jamie is a photographer and I have always had a knack for design.”
In 2016 they started to document their journey on Instagram for their family and friends and, to their surprise, it gained attention – today they have about 32,000 followers and a creative design studio called Haus Of Cruze. “We put on our creative heads when we get home from work and we do makeovers and fit-outs for clients at weekends,” explains Jamie. Their recent wedding gave them another project to juggle.
When Az and Jamie were ready to purchase their first home, they soon discovered that building a property in an up-and-coming area was a much more affordable option. “It also gave us more scope with interiors and control over the orientation of the house to maximise the northern light,” says Jamie. Eventually they came across the perfect block of land on a small, friendly estate and, in June 2017, Boutique Homes began constructing one of the company’s pre-designed houses: a light-filled, three-bedroom, single- storey property.
“As we were moving further out it was important to have bedrooms for people to stay,” explains Az. “We’re not having any kids, so we like to surround ourselves with friends and family, and spending time with them and entertaining is how we love to relax.”
To enhance their Scandinavian vision, the pair upgraded most of their fixtures and finishes. “We increased the height of the doorframes to accentuate spaciousness and added skylights to eliminate any dark areas and chose premium finishes in the kitchen and master bathroom,” says Jamie.
“We entertain a lot and I love cooking, so it’s more sociable with one big space. We also have a butler’s pantry to hide all the ugly stuff and keep the kitchen clutter-free.”
When it came to styling their home, the couple used their talent for combining investment pieces with more affordable items – mixing the likes of Ikea with Ethnicraft and Kmart with Globe West. They even collaborated with Nordik Living to design a striking entertainment unit and sideboard.
“We feel lucky to be able to do what we love creatively, away from our day jobs,” reflects Az. “But I think what I’m most proud of is that when we walk into our home we can wholeheartedly say that we did it together.”