The Northcote home of Alex and Georgie Cleary of Alpha60. Portrait at end of downstairs hallway is a print of a Chuck Close painting called ‘Bob’. ‘It was our favourite painting at the NGA when we were kids. We couldn’t believe it was a painting and not a photograph’ says Georgie. Photo on left by Alex Penfold. Paintings on the right by Rob McLeish. Vintage lights sourced from the postal sorting rooms in the Dandenongs. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
Giant shoe sculpture made by Georgie’s partner Giuseppe Demaio. Glass artworks by Judy Elliot. And BOOKS! Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
Books and skulls – ‘we love both!’ says Georgie. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
Kitchen. Old coke bottles found under the house during the re-stumping! Concrete bench poured on site. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
Alex and Georgie Cleary at home. Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Well today’s house is already a little bit famous. In the past year you might have spotted this distinctive space in print, or possibly even on TV! (I learnt this only when we shared a few sneaky pics from this shoot on instagram a few weeks back!). But it’s not just the home that will be familiar to many – Alex and Georgie Cleary, the brother-sister duo behind local fashion label Alpha60 are the clever kids who live here, and these two are, by all accounts, ‘Melbourne famous’.
Alex and Georgie live here with Georgie’s partner Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Demaio (bonus points if you recall Giuseppe is one of the dashing bearded fellas at Assemble Papers, who we featured recently!). This impressive building in Northcote has been home to Alex, Georgie and Giuseppe for just two years, though they spent fourteen months prior to that completing a major renovation.
When Georgie and Alex first acquired the property, which was previously an old community hall, it was very run down. The pair worked with architect friends Jenny Berean and Joachim Holland to re-configure the space. The group were keen to keep key original elements that could be salvaged – timber and metal beams, and of course the amazing red brick walls throughout. The building needed re-stumping which was a massive job (997 wheelbarrows of dirt removed, many by Alex!). Bi-fold doors were also added downstairs to create a light filled sitting area, and the main staircase was moved from the front to the back of the property.
Aside from the impressive scale and clever re-furb of this building, much of the home’s appeal can be put down to the eclectic tastes of its occupants. Georgie and Alex’s museum-like collection of artefacts and ephemera is displayed throughout the home – it’s almost as though the space were designed around them. The oversized shoe sculptures upstairs are probably the most distinctive example – these were created by Georgie’s partner Giuseppe for a promotional event a few years ago. They certainly make a statement!
Another favourite treasure for Georgie is the whale bone Giuseppe’s father found at the tip 20 years ago (!!!). Yes, a whale bone. Just hanging out on the staircase like some kind of dinosaur fossil. That’s how the Clearys roll.
Alex and Georgie are incredibly close siblings. They’ve always lived and worked together. As kids growing up in Canberra, they were forever creating micro businesses together, selling flowers from their parents’ farm, and making bags, t-shirts and baked treats to supplement their pocket money! Of course Alpha60 is the grown up, and very successful extension of this, and in turn, the unique home that Alex and Georgie have created together is another brilliant example of a shared childhood ambition realised.
‘It is amazing to create a space pretty much from scratch’ says Georgie. ‘That has been a dream of Al’s and mine, ever since we moved an old weatherboard house on the back of a truck and dumped it in the paddock at Mum and Dad’s farm. We renovated it so we could live with more independence when we were teenagers’.
This of course leads me to my next question. I couldn’t help but ask Georgie what it’s like living with her brother! Her response – ‘Living with Al is the best! We live together, work together and never fight ………. odd but true!’
MASSIVE thanks to Georgie, Alex and Giuseppe for sharing their amazing home and story with us today!
Georgie is a regular reader of TDF (thankyou GC!) and was very keen to offer a special giveaway to accompany today’s story! Alpha60 have just launched their fabulous colour-popping spring / summer range, also introducing their first line of footwear. They would like to offer one lucky TDF reader a $500 voucher to spend at Alpha60 instore or online this season!
A few favourites from Alpha60‘s current spring/summer collection! More (including menswear!) on their website.
To be in the running, simply leave a comment on today’s post before 10.00pm Melbourne time . A winner will be selected at random and contacted by email tomorrow. THANKYOU so much Georgie and Alex!