So it isn’t often I have the opportunity to photograph a SERIOUSLY polished home – a home that has been professionally designed or renovated with painstaking attention to detail from start to finish, by one of Melbourne’s most celebrated interior design firms. These houses normally end up in print rather than online, but today, we have a beauty for you! Welcome to the Malvern home of medical professionals Justin and Jeanne Roebert, and their son Gabriel (aged 10).
Justin and Jeanne purchased and moved into their house in January 2007. ‘We virtually bought the place via the internet from New Zealand’ says Justin, recalling how he and Jeanne caved in the night before the auction and flew over – making an offer on the property after a 15 min inspection! ‘Good location, North facing rear, good bones and potential for improvement – sometimes the quick decisions are the good ones!’ says Justin.
After three years living here, and undertaking a few minor renovations, award winning Melbourne design firm Hecker Guthrie were approached to renovate Justin and Jeanne’s home more comprehensively in early 2010. ‘We approached Hecker and Guthrie with what we thought may be too small a project to interest them’. Luckily for the Roeberts, they accepted the challenge!
‘The brief from client was quite open’ recalls designer Hamish Guthrie of Hecker Guthrie. ‘It was obvious to us that Justin and Jeanne had an underlying passion for design, art and photography, and wanted to engage people that were tuned into their design sensibilities – all the way, tying the design into the recently renovated aspects of the home (done by others) and the Edwardian architecture.’
One significant request was to open up the house to more light, and to make better use of the existing space. The footprint of the house was left primarily as Justin and Jeanne found it – even the rear garage/granny flat was already here, an addition from the previous owners, built about 20 years ago. Hecker Guthrie redesigned the kitchen and living areas for both the main home and detached guest house, designing custom cabinetry throughout, and re-fitting the guest bathroom with spectacular results! They also consulted on the selection of furniture for these newly renovated spaces – the general brief was for a timeless, classic style that wouldn’t easily date.
‘Justine and Jeanne had the beginnings of a collection of Scandinavian furniture and art which we took cues from’ says designer Hamish Guthrie of Hecker Guthrie, who employed a neutral, sophisticated palette of ash blond timbers, tan leather, beige linen with royal blue elements throughout the home. I am firmly convinced this is actually the BEST possible materials / colour palette imaginable. So timeless and elegant.
After a 7 month build, Justin, Jeanne and Gabriel moved in to their newly renovated home in April this year. Not surprisingly – they are LOVING it! ‘There is more interior light, a better use of space – and of course it looks and feels so much better!’ says Justin of his ‘new’ home. One particularly favourite feature is the courtyard – sandwiched between the family room in the main house and guest house, and furnished with a considered edit of robust, functional outdoor furniture to encourage daily use, this space has now become and true outdoor room for this busy young family.
‘We did our best to entrust the entire project in our designers’ hands, and ended up with a result that is almost too good to live in!’ says Justin of the renovation process. And that glowing report, dear readers, is the reason a good interior designer is worth their weight in gold! I have NEVER met anyone who has recently renovated their home, and has such overwhelmingly positive things to say… truly! Unheard of. Big props to Hecker Guthrie for another job seriously well done!
Massive thanks to Simone Haag at Hecker Guthrie for facilitating and styling this story, and to Justin and Jeanne for their incredible patience during our shoot! Also I was massively chuffed to shoot this story with one of Australia’s very best interiors and architectural photographers – thankyou SO MUCH Derek! Superstar.