This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Alex Kennedy

Homes

Welcome to the tiniest home we have ever featured, the self contained Carlton studio apartment of Alex Kennedy, who works in international development.

13th August, 2014

A sweet edit of trinkets and homewares sitting on a Tressel Table co. screwless shelf in Alex’s lounge room. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Alex Kennedy at home. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Kitchen with Japanese tiled splash back and Marloe Morgan ceramics. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Kitchen bench with recycled science lab sink and tap. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

The teeny tiny Melbourne home of Alex Kennedy.  Lounge room with day bed, featuring Beneath The Sun patchwork cushion and stripes plate, and Connor O’Brien print. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Danish dining table and chairs in central dining area. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Sleeping quarters. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

We don’t often lead with a bathroom shot BUT bathrooms are rarely this photogenic (and, are rarely found in a lounge room).  Clawfoot bath and exposed shower head. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

Two way bathroom bench with handmade leather cupboard tabs. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

OH MY.  This one, my friends, is SO GOOD.  I know you’re gonna LOVE IT.

Welcome to the tiniest home we have ever featured, the self contained Carlton studio apartment of Alex Kennedy, who works in international development.  Despite having serious left brain leanings (she studied Behavioural Science, with majors in Neuropsychology and Anthropology), Alex is also very creative, and has always been surrounded by a posse of talented creative friends and colleagues.  One such friend is the clever local interior architect Sarah Trotter of Hearth Studio, who designed Alex’s beautiful little home within what was previously a double garage!  (I must admit I didn’t measure it… but I’d estimate that we’re looking at a footprint of approximately 6×6 metres!).

The site, in fact, is the garage of Alex’s childhood home. ‘After realising I couldn’t afford to buy a house, I decided to renovate the old garage’ Alex says, matter of factly. ‘My family home was built by Merchant Builders in the ’80s, and the original garage had many of Merchant Builders signature features which I kept – including the oregon beams and sandbagged brick walls’.

Alex’s challenge was to turn this cold, run down garage into a comfortable little home, on a super tight budget. It meant demolishing the whole garden-side wall, replacing the roof, and installing plumbing and running electricity to the site. Alex’s architect Sarah Trotter of Hearth Studio (who we will learn more about very soon!) was not fussed by the limitations of this tiny footprint or indeed, the budget, instead seizing the opportunity to create a unique home for her friend.  ‘Sarah was incredible at capturing my aesthetic influences and considering light’ says Alex. The pair worked together for a over a year scouring Ebay, visiting recycling centres and demolition yards in outer suburbs and country towns to collect and hunt down all the fittings, almost all of which are second hand.

The build itself was completed by local builder and cabinetmaker Scott McCormack.  ‘He loves doing interesting things with wood and that’s why I wanted to work with him’ says Alex, who worked alongside Scott as a labourer during the build! ‘He would set me up to do jobs over the weekend. I learnt a lot working alongside Scott’. Alex’s friends also lent their muscle where required, helping out with demolition, painting and staining, and often just hanging out with Alex to keep her company on some of the long tiring days. ‘I was really lucky to have so many people happy to help out’ Alex says.

Alex home has been a labour of love, inspired by many factors.  After spending some time in a commune in New Zealand, where she was introduced to the hand made houses movement of the 1970’s, Alex knew she wanted to build something that utilised space and recycled materials in creative ways. She was also heavily influenced by Japanese and Swedish design. ‘After traveling to Japan, I knew I could create a home here’ she says, intuitively understanding that a connection to the garden, and careful consideration of light and texture would be paramount in the design of her home.

Japanese influences are also very clear in the way Alex has decorated her home.  This is evident in the use of various timbers, from recycled floorboards to raw plywood on the ceiling, and the presence of lush indoor plants which give the space a distinct sense of calm.  Every detail has been considered, from the space saving lab-style kitchen sink, right down to the sweet leather handles on the kitchen cabinetry.  Alex loves her collection of artwork and prints on the wall, and is especially fond of a naive picture of a boat picked up second hand.  ‘It’s kind of wild and calm all at the same time’ she explains… ‘I got it from an adorable old man in Richmond, he is one of those guys that have all sorts of trinkets and bits and pieces displayed in the window of his sometime shop and most of the time home. I asked him if he drew it, and he got all funny. A couple a weeks later I walked past and there were lots of different versions of the same picture. He must have been on to something!’.

Aside from her very grown up day job, Alex nourishes her creative side with a number of inspired side projects.  She currently sub edits a bi-annual art and fashion magazine called Doingbird, and she is also currently working on a series of short stories, which she hopes to have published later this year.

HUGE THANKS To Alex (and to Sarah Trotter) for sharing this very special Melbourne home with us today.  What an absolute gem!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.

Homes

An Extra-Ordinarily Fashionable Apartment!

Deborah Symond O’Neil and husband Ned take us on a tour of their sparkling Elizabeth Bay home.

Homes

An Incredible Adventure In Renovating An Iconic Piece Of Architectural History

Mary and Marc Parlange take on the challenge of bringing Walter Burley Griffin's Salter House back to life.

This Week

01:01:05

Podcast

TDF Talks With Chef-Turned-Sustainable-Farmer Paul West

A surprisingly hilarious chat with the River Cottage Australia host, covering his atypical career path, and his philosophies on living a mor...

Architecture

A Spectacular Unfolding House Overlooking Sydney Harbour

A minimalist marvel with serious harbour views, by Matthew Woodward Architecture in Vaucluse, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

News

The Bold And Brilliant Exhibition ‘Fashioning Black Identity’

African and African diaspora fashion, photography and portraiture at Cairns Art Gallery.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Alice Zaslavsky's Gefilte Fish Fritters

There’s no Passover dish that sparks more of a reaction than gefilte fish, so today we share the perfect 'gateway' recipe!
Alice Zaslavsky

News

Ebony Truscott's Modern Day Masterpieces

A stunning exhibition of still-life paintings on now in Collingwood.
Sally Tabart

Art

'Mirka For Melbourne' Fundraiser Exhibition Opens At Heide

Mirka for Melbourne' opens this week, showcasing important acquisitions from the studio of Mirka Mora, funded by your donations!

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

Carving Out A New Career With Courtney Petley

The New Zealand based designer and maker shares her handcrafted kitchen utensils, created with reclaimed timber.
Miriam McGarry

TDF Collect

Announcing Our Next Exhibition, Elizabeth Barnett's 'Blue'

A new body of work from Macedon artist Elizabeth Barnett, opening Saturday April 27th at our Collingwood gallery.

Dream Job

From Intern to Senior Landscape Designer – Growing A Career At Eckersley Garden Architecture

26-year-old Joshua Cocks charts his journey from University intern to working across award-winning projects, with one of Australia's top fir...
Elle Murrell

Art

Charting A Contemporary Artist’s Remarkable Oeuvre

Spanning almost four decades, Rosslynd Piggott’s ‘I sense you but I cannot see you’ is on now at NGV.
Elle Murrell

News

WIN $500 To Spend At The New Australian HAY Online Store!

You could win $500 to spend at this just-launched e-shop for the Danish design icons, thanks to Cult!

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.

News

Free To Feed’s Annual Fundraising Bake Sale Is On This Friday!

Do something GREAT this Good Friday and help raise funds for a worthy cause!
Sally Tabart

Architecture

Hello 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards Shortlist

Celebrating design longevity with the State’s top residential architecture projects.
Elle Murrell

Similar Stories

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.

Homes

An Extra-Ordinarily Fashionable Apartment!

Deborah Symond O’Neil and husband Ned take us on a tour of their sparkling Elizabeth Bay home.

Homes

An Incredible Adventure In Renovating An Iconic Piece Of Architectural History

Mary and Marc Parlange take on the challenge of bringing Walter Burley Griffin's Salter House back to life.