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Jamie Sormann and Alice Maloney

Homes

Today we visit the North Melbourne home of architect Jamie Sorman of Foomann Architects, his partner Alice Maloney, a teacher, and their young son Henry.

With a healthy respect for its 1970s roots, Jamie has reworked and updated this modest two bedroom townhouse, with impressive results.

25th May, 2016

Custom steel shelves designed by Foomann Architects and fabricated by Gill Engineering. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The North Melbourne home of Jamie Sormann, Alice Maloney and their son Henry. Above – front Courtyard. Bones the dog, new bluestone porch, bench seat designed by Jamie’s company, Foomann Architects, made from reclaimed cedar, Orange Peel chair and ottoman bought at Leonard Joel. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Jamie Sormann, Alice Maloney, their son Henry and dog Bones at the entry of their North Melbourne Home. Boston Ivy backdrop and concrete pots by Pop Plant. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living Room with an opening down to the Kitchen/Dining Room. Original Oregon beams were refurbished with new steel shelves concealing the lights. Artwork by Susan Purdy, table is by Kyran Starcevich with Snatch & Knackers, the couch is a Cassina Tentazione, round cushions from Muji, stool is a Milca from Arteveneta, rug by Armadillo & Co and the standard lamp is a Santa & Cole TMC. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room detail. The existing wall was pulled back to expose more stair, which doubles as casual additional seating! The artwork is part of The Floating World by Simon MacEwan with Finn Robertson. Rug is Armadillo & Co, carpet is Hycraft Ravine in Pewter. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living Room facing the courtyard. Custom steel shelves, table by Kyran Starcevich and Snatch & Knackers, the couch is a Cassina Tentazione, round cushions from Muji, stool is a Milca from Arteveneta, rug is Armadillo & Co and the chairs are vintage from Modern Times, stripped and re-painted by Jamie, with new cushions by Floriane Autenzio. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen/Dining. This room was previously split into two, and is now one shared space. The table and chairs are Danish Deluxe, rug is Armadillo & Co, joinery by Woodman Joinery. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom detail. Artwork by Ruth Howard, light is HD2 Wall Lamp by ISM and the pot plant is Wingnut & Co. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Henry’s room. Custom bamboo shelves, Cot is Stokke and artwork by Fideli Sundqvist. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 25th May 2016

‘The retained fabric of the building is robust and enduring; the renovation was designed in the same spirit.’ – Jamie

Jamie Sorman and Alice Maloney house-hunted for around a year before purchasing their modernist townhouse in North Melbourne in 2013. The two-bedroom home was designed in 1970 by respected Melbourne architectural firm Morris Pirrotta. Interestingly, whilst completing his architecture degree, Jamie worked for Mike Morris – and he was one of the first people Jamie rang when he bought the house!

Along with his business partner, Jo Foong, Jamie began planning a renovation soon after the auction. Construction started as soon as he and Alice had the keys! The build took five months, which Jamie tackled as an owner/builder. He is a meticulous sort of guy, taking great interest and pride in every last detail of the design, right down to the custom doorhandles.

‘The bones of the house were excellent, however the interior, landscape and fencing needed an overhaul’ Jamie recalls. He re-worked the interiors, consolidating the kitchen and dining rooms, and updating flooring, lighting and joinery throughout. The original besser block walls were given a surprisingly effective update with a crisp lick of white paint, perfectly complementing the original exposed timber beams.’The townhouse has been simplified, with the result of feeling more generous, light and spacious than its 80m2 would suggest’ Jamie explains.

The house has a unique ‘split level’ layout which maximises its modest footprint. At ground level, the front door opens onto a modest living room, beyond which a sunken kitchen and dining room are visible. Up a short flight of stairs are two bedrooms – the master bedroom, with tiny balcony, looks over the front courtyard garden. It’s super compact, but there’s a something refreshingly efficient about this house.

Jamie and Alice have a small but lovely collection of furniture and artwork – some inherited pieces, some designed by Jamie and/or fellow designer friends, and some re-furbished vintage finds. The Cassina Tentazione sofa is particularly treasured. ‘Our sofa was a hand-me-down from my Mum who received it for her wedding. I think it’s beautiful, and it’s exceedingly comfortable’ Jamie says.

There’s a lot Jamie and Alice love about living here. ‘There’s the access to light and air, there’s the genuine satisfaction in so fully utilising the space, and the pride in the things we’ve designed and made ourselves’ Jamie says. Mostly though, Jamie just loves the creative outlet that his house provides. ‘I love that the house is not precious – it’s an ongoing project that I get to tinker with.’

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