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Michael and Laura McCormack

Homes

The Point Lonsdale home of property developer and entrepreneur Michael McCormack of Milieu, and his wife Laura, a speech pathologist, represents relaxed Australian beach culture at its best.

This home, built in the 1970s, brings together distinctive cedar timber panelling, soaring raked ceilings, and a charming hodge-podge of salvaged furniture and treasured pieces – including an upright piano from Laura’s childhood, and Michael’s much loved surfboard collection.

 

1st February, 2017

The main living area features a hard-‘rubbish’ coffee table picked up in Barwon Heads, and rug gifted from Laura’s mum. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

An old carport has been converted into a second living area with cosy window seat. The Akari Lamp by Isamu Noguchi. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The clouds painting is by Mike’s sister Astrid, and the hanging cane chair was a gift from his parents. ‘I think they got it for their engagement, it was under our family house for 30 years!’ tells Mike. ‘I put it up, so Laura is always nervous to sit in it – she still doesn’t believe I used to be a carpenter…’ Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining and kitchen area. ‘I’ve always wanted one of those retro Smeg fridges,’ mentions Mike. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Mike bartered for the kitchen bench (which at first wasn’t for sale) at a potato farm in Portarlington (!!) and later restored it. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Laura, Mike and their dog Rupert, which is a Lagotto, an Italian truffle hunting dog. ‘He certainly likes digging, although he hasn’t found us any truffles for us….!’ Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The entry to the home, including  Bitossi Ceramics from Laura’s collection, Tab Lamp by Flos, limited edition art print by Carla FletcherPhoto – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The guest bedroom, with Palm Springs photograph by Kate Ballis. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The back deck and entertaining area, with a retro cane esky that gets lots of use! Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

‘It’s nice to have a backyard, as we don’t have much of one in Princess Hill,’ says Laura. ‘We try to spend time outside when down at Lonnie, gardening and just pottering around.’ Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 1st February 2017

So, I got this email a few months ago from a Michael McCormack. He was inviting me to check out his Point Lonsdale beach house. Michael is a builder and property developer, he’s a co-director and founder of Milieu – who build particularly considered and beautiful boutique developments in Melbourne’s inner Northern suburbs. I’d heard of Milieu (which was founded in 2010) and seen some of their impressive projects around town… and so in my mind, Michael McCormack was a 50+ man who drives a new model Mercedes, and his beachhouse, I presumed, would be a shiny architectural masterpiece.

WRONG on all counts. Michael McCormack is in his thirties. His partner, Laura, is an opera singer turned speech pathologist. Their beachhouse is a humble, rambling 1970’s pad, with distinctive cedar timber panelling, raked ceilings and a charming hodge-podge of salvaged furniture and treasured items – including an upright piano from Laura’s childhood, and Michael’s much loved surfboard collection. This is the quintessential, laid back Australian beach house, and much like the creative couple who live here, this place is disarmingly relaxed and unassuming.

Both Michael and Laura spent summer holidays growing up in Point Lonsdale, and have many happy memories here. Keen to buy in the area, the pair came across their home five years ago, after it had lingered on a local agents sales list for some time.

After moving in, Michael and Laura made a few basic updates and additions to their home. A dividing wall between the living space and kitchen was removed, and the kitchen updated simply, with the addition of a large industrial work bench and new appliances – ‘I’ve always wanted one of those retro Smeg fridges’ mentions Mike! The pair also replaced all the flooring, and painted throughout, but retained many original elements, such as the kitchen cabinetry.

Laura and Michael divide their time between their relaxed, beachside home and an apartment in Princes Hill in Melbourne. There’s still a lot on the ‘to do’ list here, but Michael and Laura are in no great hurry. ‘We still need to finish the laundry, and Mike wants to build a studio for work… however I suspect it’s for his surfboards!’ Laura mentions!

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net