It makes sense that the Melbourne home of Laura, an accountant, and her restaurateur husband Joe, has entertaining at its heart, given the family’s Italian heritage and Joe’s vast experience in the food business. Inviting spaces, including the sumptuous living area, connect elegantly with the soul of the house – the kitchen – while a mosaic-lined swimming pool draws guests and the couple’s children, Max, 17, and Talia, 13, outside.
But it’s the curvilinear cabana which offers indoor-outdoor perfection and creates a sense of drama. “Our brief to the architect was fairly open,” says Joe of the space, which was designed by LSA Architects. “We were so excited by what they came up with!”
With its beautiful Edwardian facade, steadfast red bricks and picture-perfect garden, Laura and Joe’s Melbourne home contains all the hallmarks of its heritage suburb in the city’s inner south-east.
High ceilings and beautiful details preserve the classic appeal of the original home at the front. While the striking outdoor additions grab the attention of visitors and the home’s occupants.
“The renovation has created a fantastic living space for a family with teenage kids," says Laurna. "As our kids get older we’d like to evolve key areas to create spaces for them to study or hang out, and allow us to do our own thing, too.”
"We really wanted a contemporary renovation that would bring modern design and a beautiful traditional home together"Joe, Homeowner
In the original part of the home, the charming exterior is matched by classically toned bedrooms, a sitting room and lounge, and the couple’s retreat, which includes a spa-like ensuite bathed in serene greys.
"We really wanted to keep the fireplace. It's a nice nod to the heritage of the house."Laura, homeowner
Natural light from a floor-to-ceiling frosted glass window washes over the curved ‘Emily’ freestanding tub by Dado, elegantly offset by a rectilinear display and storage shelf. These form the statement visuals of a no-holds-barred ensuite complete with cutting-edge fittings and tapware, including a ‘Sussex Scala’ floor-mounted spout, available at Reece. A floating sink unit with basin, also by Dado, echoes the rounded silhouette of the bath.
Vast window expanses can be shaded at the touch of a button, thanks to automated blinds in Midnight from Luxaflex, fitted with Somfy motorisation. Equally, the blinds can help create a relaxed nocturnal vibe for quiet winter evenings by the open fire. Adorned in a dash of colour courtesy of the Flower Power square cushion picked up at Surround Interiors, an L-shaped ‘Kimon’ couch in Boyac felt from Arthur G Furniture is the perfect spot for relaxing inside while musing on the serenity of the stunning outdoors. A ‘Stardust’ rug in Charcoal from RC&D adds softness to counterpoint the clean lines and glamour of an Elle Cube coffee table from Globe West.
A thoroughly modern open-plan living and eating addition is arranged in an L-shape around a gleaming white kitchen. Everything looks towards that gorgeous outdoor space; to connect the inside of the home with the outdoors, oak ceilings line both the cabana and adjoining dining room. With their easy living style, it’s obvious all the spaces echo and embrace the couple’s passion for entertaining.“We host friends and family regularly,” says Laura.
The home’s luxurious kitchen is a chef’s paradise. Unsurprisingly, given his experience in the food business, Joe had a large say in the functional, all-white design, and high up on the priority list was a cleverly concealed butler’s pantry.
“We were after a clean, elegant look,” says Joe of the family’s elegant kitchen, which features swathes of marble and practical 2-pac cabinetry. “The island bench is a central element of the whole space and a lot of work went into the detailing and finish, particularly ensuring that the grain of the marble matched perfectly.”
State-of-the-art Miele appliances, along with an abundance of storage, soft-close drawers and bevel-edged blackbutt flooring make this extensive home hub as functional as it is beautiful.
Sitting down for a meal is extremely flexible in the dining zone, which works equally as well for a quiet weekday family dinner as for when summer fiestas see the doors to the curved cabana open up. “The custom-made table is really special for us,” says Laura. “We had it built to fit the space. Its square shape is deliberate to encourage a sense of togetherness and conversation.” The table is extendable, so it can easily accommodate a crowd. A piece by local artist Clair Bremner adds a splash of colour.