Melbourne Home

Bill and Christine McCorkell and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 18th June 2014

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The Melbourne home of Bill and Christine McCorkell and their family, with rear extension designed and built by Bill’s prefabricated modular architecture company, ArchiBlox. Australian native hardwood has been used on the modular curved exterior on the upper level. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull, Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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‘We love our daybeds, we always try and design them in all our houses at Archiblox’ says Bill. Table by Mark Tuckey, gifted to Bill and Christine by a number of our friends as a wedding present. ‘Everyone signed underneath the table’ says Bill. Pop and Scott pots with native plants.  The garden was designed with an Australiana theme by Daniel Tyrrell Landscapes. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Dining room details.  The honed block work in the dining room is a striking feature, and an excellent backdrop for this painting by Ali McNabney-Stevens.  ‘We couldn’t resist this artwork – the colours change over the course of the day’ says Christine. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Kitchen – black caesar stone bench top, with recessed heavy-duty timber chopping board. ‘We designed quite a lot of recessed joinery for the placement of all those items in constant use’ says Christine. Tucked behind the corner is a butler’s pantry to hide everything else. Last Minute Stools at breakfast bench designed by Patricia Urquiola, purchased from Angelucci Twentieth Century. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Kitchen – Peekaboo window, polished concrete walls and floors, kitchen joinery by ArchiBlox. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Christine and Bill McCorkell outside their East st Kilda home.  Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

Surprisingly, it’s not often we feature the self-designed home of an architect. I can’t really explain that, it seems crazy that it doesn’t happen more often around here!  There is always something extra special about seeing the clever ways in which architects and designers pull their own homes together, as illustrated by today’s creative family home in East st Kilda.

This is the home of Bill and Christine McCorkell and their children Harriet and Sam. Bill is co-owner and Architectural Director of ArchiBlox, an architecture and building company which specialises in modular construction, creating prefabricated homes and home extensions using a flexible, modular building system, and Christine also works in the company, in a PR role.

Generally speaking, prefabrication and modular building is a cost effective, time efficient and sustainable way to build.  Material wastage is usually minimised, and build times can be significantly reduced because components (in most cases, entire rooms – walls, windows, everything!) are built off site and in delivered in one piece. ‘We’re really about accessible architecture’ says Bill. ‘We believe that everyone should be able to afford an architecturally designed home that’s beautiful, good for the environment and great for the people who live in it. Bill and Christine’s own home, incorporating a generous rear extension and second floor addition, designed and built by Bill’s company, is the perfect showcase of these design principles in practice.

Bill and Christine have lived here since 2010.  Soon after purchasing the home at auction, they set about planning to renovate and extend. ‘The works have been pretty extensive, from the front gate to the rear right of way’ says Christine. The master bedroom, ensuite, laundry, study and main living room are all located within existing structure of the original house.  Bill and Christine updated these rooms significantly with custom joinery, new doors and flooring, but the general layout of the old house remains more or less unchanged. The dining room, kitchen and pantry (all on polished concrete floors) are part of the new structure, which opens out onto the garden, whilst two bedrooms and a bathroom for the kids have been added upstairs, accessed by a stairway over the kitchen pantry.  ‘Each space offers elements of surprise, but also pays careful consideration to the existing house proportions’ says Christine. Incredibly, the entire renovation was completed in just 21 weeks!

Bill and Christine love the outdoors, and were keen to retain the essence of the leafy block that they first fell in love with here, in particular the rambling ‘park like setting’ of the surrounding garden.  Though they’ve increased the footprint of their home (and added a pool!), the backyard still feels generous and functional, with sculptured hills to the rear which cleverly conceal the services for the pool.  Beyond this, a workshop and garage can be accessed via a rear laneway.

Designing with sustainability in mind is an everyday preoccupation for Bill.  For his own family home, he was keen to prove that efficient, sustainable building methods could be used without sacrificing aesthetics.  Polished concrete in the new rooms creates thermal mass for efficient heating and cooling, whilst a carefully considered layout maximises natural ventilation throughout the home.  Submerged water tanks, hydraulic heating and use of renewable materials throughout enhance the green credentials of the home.

Bill is a stickler for details, and is particularly fond of the custom designed joinery throughout the home. ‘I love great joinery, it’s real, it’s practical, it’s function is to simplify yet enhance the way we live, and it is, in itself, a work of art’ he says.  The plywood bookshelf in the study, custom made by his team at ArchiBlox, is a favourite feature. Another treasured piece is the family’s Mark Tuckey dining table, whilst Christine loves all the pieces she’s bought from Jardan – ‘she’s a little obsessed’ says Bill!

Most of all, the McCorkell family love the garden setting of their home, and the seamless integration between the inside and out. The layout captures every opportunity for external views and natural light, both through the garden, and from the upstairs bedrooms. The family are also very fond of their local neighbourhood.  ‘We love the area, the people are genuine, the demographic is eclectic, and our local strip of shops down Carlisle Street is unpretentious – a great local community’ says Christine.

Huge thanks to Bill and Christine for sharing their beautiful home with us today!

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The Family zone. Christine says ‘The kids make full use of this room while dancing to their Wii!’. Durrie rug by fenton&fenton’. Artwork by local St Kilda artist Eliza Burke. Alvar Aalto vase – ‘this gets moved if the dancing becomes too vigorous!’ says Christine! Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Leather nook chair by Jardan, with Imogen Heath cushion. Joinery piece by ArchiBlox – ‘to hide away all the DVDs and videos the kids keep collecting’ says Christine. Vases by Moss Melbourne and vintage fan purchased on eBay. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Master Bedroom. Sheer curtains by Kennedy Interiors. Alarm clock by Tivoli Audio, a wedding gift. Ahoy Cross by Jai Vasicek, from fenton&fenton. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Ensuite.  Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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ArchiBlox custom built plywood bookshelf. Winston chair by Jardan, with Lumiere Art + Co cushion. Cockatoo box by Bonnie and Neil, rug by Ikea. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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The study is used as a multi-purpose work and music room – tunes are played on Bill’s Bang and Olfsen Beogram record player. Artwork by Eliza Burke. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

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Front entrance to the house. We love the timber battens above.  Jak chair from Tait Furniture. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull. Production – Lucy Feagins  for The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 18th June 2014

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