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 Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

This newly-renovated Warrandyte home perfectly blends indoors and out!

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green.

Homes

A Sydney Warehouse Apartment With NYC Vibes

The stylish Surry Hills warehouse apartment of Ines English and Caleb Harrower, located in the 1915 Griffiths Building.

This Week

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

Stays

This Origami-Style Beach Shack Is The Perfect Coastal Getaway

This architecturally designed coastal retreat on Stradbroke Island looks out over the glittering Coral Sea. The most dreamy vacation destina...
Sasha Gattermayr
  1 hour ago

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.
Amelia Barnes
  9 hours ago

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

This newly-renovated Warrandyte home perfectly blends indoors and out!

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green.

Homes

A Sydney Warehouse Apartment With NYC Vibes

The stylish Surry Hills warehouse apartment of Ines English and Caleb Harrower, located in the 1915 Griffiths Building.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.