The home of Melbourne architect Clare Cousins and family. View from living room to rear garage and studio. The tree is an Eastern Red Bud (Cercis Canadensis). Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
View from living room to rear garden. Custom rug from Loom, glazed brick fireplace. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
View from TV room / play room to living room, vintage penguin chair from CodeNameTom. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
OK so I must admit today’s seriously stunning Melbourne family home is not exactly a scoop! This beautiful home, belonging to Melbourne architect Clare Cousins and her family, has been well documented since its completion two years ago. In fact, eagle eye readers might even have noticed its inclusion in Stuart Harrison’s brand new book, New Suburban, which we recently shared here! Butttt… we just can’t resist a beautiful Australian home when we see one, so we hope you’ll agree this very special house is worth another little moment in the spotlight today!
Clare lives here with her husband Ben Pederson, a builder, and their two daughters Ginger (5 yrs) and Ivy (2 yrs). The pair bought their Edwardian brick home in Melbourne’s Prahran six years ago, and after a very basic clean-up which included polishing original floorboards and painting the interior, the family lived here for three years, planning the next phase. When the time came to undertake a complete renovation, they moved out for 10 months, whilst Ben’s company, Maben, managed the build. The family returned two year ago, when Ivy was just two weeks old!
Though extensive, the renovation retained much of the existing Edwardian part of Clare and Ben’s home. ‘The front three rooms of the original house were in good condition, requiring only cosmetic changes’ Clare explains. These rooms now serve as generous bedrooms, whilst the rear of the home has been entirely reworked. An 80’s extension was removed to make way for cleverly designed dining and living spaces, and a new bathroom. Keen to create a sense of privacy in the garden from neighbouring flats, Clare designed a courtyard garden with the assistance of her uncle, renowned garden designer Rick Eckersley, and sandwiched this outdoor area between the house and a new two level studio / garage at the very back of the block.
What really struck me most when we visited this home, other than the incredible materials palette and attention to every last detail (!!) is the strong sense of ‘connectedness’ between the various spaces, and natural flow from one zone to the next. ‘I love the sense of connection between living spaces’ says Clare of the open plan living and dining area. Cleverly, she tucked the TV/playroom behind the kitchen, hidden from the main living area but still very much connected to the kitchen and dining area. ‘Viewing lines allow you to connect the spaces between the living and play room, while still being physically separated’ explains Clare. Similarly, a hidden study adjacent to the living area works really well, allowing Clare to work from home whilst remaining connected to the family room. ‘It’s great to have a dedicated space that remains within the living space, while easily concealing work in progress by sliding shut the door’ she says.
The ultimate creative collaboration, this striking and supremely functional family home serves as an impressive showcase of both Clare and Ben’s complementary skills. I can’t help but think how brilliant it must be to work closely with your partner to design and build the perfect home for your own family. A huge amount of work I am sure, but nevertheless, a DREAM project!
HUGE thanks to Clare and Ben for sharing their home with us today!