Such is the case for Bo and fiancée Tang’s inner-city Melbourne dwelling, which they share with their dogs – Betty, a Staffordshire terrier, and Jedy, an Australian terrier. Architect Bo bought the house in 2010 and was immediately sold on its buzzy location. “I grew up in Beijing, China, which is very busy,” he says.
“When I first came to Australia, I was living in the suburbs and really missed that hustle and bustle. I had a look at the location when this property came up and thought it was a really great place.” Another ticked box was the prized and tranquil courtyard out the back. “It’s pretty precious considering the location of the house,” he says.
With his industry know-how and his love for minimalist, calm and comfortable design, Bo, the co-owner of Pitch Architecture + Developments, was determined to bring the 1980s build into the 21st century, and being his own client found him delving deeper into how he and Tang actually live. “When you renovate for yourself, it’s sometimes more difficult than doing it for a client because you have to ask yourself the questions you haven’t asked yourself before,” he says of the property’s five-month design and renovation process. “You kind of want to see it as a job, but at the same time it’s not a job.”
Once part of a warehouse, the home retains many original features, including the concrete floor and structure of the staircase. After the renovation, these were given room to shine in the modern design, which has a neutral palette, custom made wood panelling and joinery, plus state-of-the-art fittings.
A ground floor with open-plan living is at the core of the property, and abundant natural light shines through thanks to an extensive overhaul of the original layout. “The kitchen used to be at the western side of the house, and blocked out the majority of the natural light into the ground floor,” says Bo.
“All the joinery in the house and the wall linings have the same finish to create a harmonious flow throughout.”Bo
“We essentially removed the whole kitchen and relocated it to the centre of the ground floor, which allows light in.”Bo
The open-plan layout allows natural light to flood the downstairs area. “The most exciting part was when we gutted the original kitchen and how much more light there was and how much bigger the ground floor feels,” says Bo, who created a house with a very cohesive feel thanks to his material choices. All built-ins, robes, joinery and the kitchen island were custom-made by Daco Kitchens, who used Polytec ‘Ravine’ in Natural Oak throughout. The kitchen’s statement tapware in Black is from Allure Bathrooms, while the state-of-the-art appliances are from Fisher & Paykel. The cooktop was paired with an in-built rangehood from Bora, delivering a sleek look.
The open-plan ground floor connects to the home’s much-loved courtyard. Bo’s mum made the grey curtains, which tie in with the overall scheme. ‘Ike’ chairs with goat leather from Thomas Gannan and a cowhide rug from Matt Blatt bring a raw feel to the space, while indoor plants add softness.
“We wanted more of a comfortable, natural feeling and a sense of the outdoors, which is why we have quite a bit of greenery in the home.”
The Scandi colour scheme continues onto the second floor, where Bo and Tang’s bedroom lives. Here, a ‘Harlow’ bed frame from Domayne, dressed in Country Road linen, takes centre stage. It’s flanked by side tables from Freedom (for similar try Freedom’s ‘Dane’ range) and smoked glass pendants from About Space. A rack from Twenty21 is functional and stylish.
The slick lines and earthy feel continue through into Bo and Tang’s bathroom. Modern finishes include a showerhead, tapware and basins from Allure Bathrooms, with a compact tub from Caroma the perfect solution for a tighter space.
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