The Murley family moved into their home in November 2013. At the time, it was a small 1950s house on a corner block in a quiet street, slightly run down but full of potential. ‘The bones of this little mid century house were perfect, the existing house only needed minimal updating to bring it up to scratch’ Carla says.
The original house was built in 1958 using a ‘small homes service’ plan published in The Age, modified slightly by a local builder. In the early 1960s, it was extended to include a studio for the original owner, who was a graphic designer. ‘It was the owner’s studio that sold the house to us, the brick floor sealed the deal’ Carla says.
Carla and Troy were keen to preserve the mid century character of the house, whilst adding a few extra rooms to accommodate their young family. A year after moving in, they extended either end of the existing house, creating a central courtyard. This gave them an extra bedroom and bathroom, and a home studio for Carla’s millinery business, Murley & co.
Having created an outdoor courtyard visible from almost every room, landscaping became a top priority for the Murleys once the renovations were complete. Luckily, the family inherited a treasure trove of mid century plants from a local development site. ‘I rang the developer initially and asked if he had any plans to keep the many mature Agave Americanas on his development block, which was just up the road from us – some were over 50 years old!’ Carla recalls. ‘He just laughed at me at said “take what you want”!’ One man’s trash is another’s treasure – Carla and Troy spent 3 weekends removing the lot, and now have a beautiful garden full of established plants, even though they’ve been here only 3 years. (Regrettably it was pouring with rain on the day of our visit, so no outside shots – apologies!)
There’s a lot to love about this bright and breezy, relaxed family home. With its original red brick floor, optimal orientation for sunlight and airflow, and strong connection to the outdoors, it’s a home which perfectly encapsulates so many of the best attributes of mid century design. Carla particularly loves of the fact that you can’t easily tell where the original house ends and the new extension starts.
With spring just around the corner, Carla has been feverishly busy in her studio. During our visit she showed us her latest creations – a capsule range of bespoke headpieces created in collaboration with artist Letitia Green – so spectacular! Check out Murley & co to learn more about Carla’s beautiful handmade millinery.