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

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.’

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.

Homes

A Local Post Office Transformed Into A Meaningful Family Home

How photographer Alexandrena Parker, and carpenter Michael Riseley, turned a rundown post office into their family home.

Homes

An Artist's Thoroughly Sophisticated Brisbane Rental

The art-filled Queensland cottage of Nicolette Johnson and Tom Dawson.

This Week

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated 1950s home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.

News

Achieve The Ultimate Heritage Aesthetic With These Affordable Window Shutters

Elevate  your interiors with these fully customisable, heritage style louvres from The Shutters Department!

Design Eye

Mardi Doherty on The 80’s Revival Interior

From bold colour, to chunky, curvy furniture forms, the 1980s is back, baby! Interior Designer Mardi Doherty gives us her take, in partnersh...

News

Vincent Namatjira Wins The 2020 Archibald Prize!

In a historic day for the Australian art world, the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands artist and Western Arrernte man take...
Sally Tabart

Architecture

A Dramatic Riverfront Home In Tasmania

Views of the river, mountains and surrounding vegetation are all cleverly captured in this house at Otago Bay, by Topology Studio.

Sustainable Homes

A Sustainable Inner-Suburban Home, Designed To Be Deconstructed + Reused

Rammed earth and recycled timber come together in this creekside Melbourne home by Breathe Architecture.

Interiors

Two Inspiring Kitchen Transformations - From Affordable Update To Complete Overhaul!

Lauren Li shows us what can be done in two very different kitchen renovations on two different budgets – one tiny, and one rather large!
Lauren Li

Stays

A Quaint Miner's Cottage In Dubbo Made For Slowing Down

A sympathetic renovation to a dilapidated 19th century cottage makes it the perfect regional getaway.
Sasha Gattermayr

Textiles

The Mindboggling Artistry Of The Opera House's Nearly-Forgotten Tapestries

In a brand new podcast series, Australian design aficionado Tim Ross takes a closer look at the four enormous textiles by Le Corbusier, John...
Sasha Gattermayr

Shopping

Create Your Own Salon Wall With These Affordable, Vintage-Inspired Artworks

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming pioneers a new affordable art alternative, with the launch of his limited-edition, stretched-canv...
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

This Mollymook property's incredible front garden by Dangar Barin Smith has inadvertently become a local tourist destination.

News

This Enormous Collaborative Beach Artwork Is Actually A Protest

A group of Sunshine Coast-based creatives create an ephemeral work to protest government investment in gas and advocate for an Indigenous kn...
Sasha Aarons

News

Jardan's Stunning New Perth Showroom Is A Terrazzo Palace!

The champions of modern Australian furniture design open the doors on their first West Coast flagship.

Architecture

An Open-Plan Home Partially Inspired By A Hitchcock Film!

Modo Architecture challenge the standard open floor plan in this Melbourne family home – taking partial inspiration from the house featur...
Amelia Barnes

Art

Intricate Bark Artwork From The 'Top End', On Show At Koskela

'Top End Bugi' at Koskela showcases 36 incredible bark artworks from three art centres in Arnhem Land.

Similar Stories

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.

Homes

A Local Post Office Transformed Into A Meaningful Family Home

How photographer Alexandrena Parker, and carpenter Michael Riseley, turned a rundown post office into their family home.

Homes

An Artist's Thoroughly Sophisticated Brisbane Rental

The art-filled Queensland cottage of Nicolette Johnson and Tom Dawson.

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.