Fran and Adrian Welke

The Fremantle home of Adrian and Fran Welke is a unique, multifunctional space, housed with a 1500-square-metre factory in an industrial area, which also accomodates their two businesses – architecture firm Troppo Architects, and retail space Shedwallah.

Perth stylist Jo Carmichael and photographer Jody D’Arcy bring us this very special Western Australian home.

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The dining, lounge and kitchen, which sits on a raised, five metre-wide wooden platform. The flooring is ohcre coloured concrete scattered with kilims and other rugs, while all walls are lined with corregated iron, which reflects light and is a neutral contrast to the rich colours used in this space. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

‘Our ferns and orchids grow so well sitting on the baker’s bench,’ says Fran. The shed/house is north facing with saw-tooth ceilings and lots of light from skylights. Terracotta Ganesha sitting on marble plinth from India. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Gas-strutted aluminium poly-carbonate doors open out onto the verandah giving an inside/outside feel to the space. Couches covered with vintage kantha throws and cushions are Japanese silk, and there is a knotted Afghani rug with painted wooden chappou table. The antique wooded Japanese storage stair features beaded woven basket from Lombok and artifacts from Papua New Guinea. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Japanese noren curtain divides the living space from bedrooms. The photo is a print of Adrian’s family taken in the 1920s and the rusty door of the Bedford, was once part of the truck that brought the Welke family from Coolunga to Esperance in 1963. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Vintage Japanese glass display cabinet featuring lots of ornaments and glasses from past travels – including a favourite: the painted plaster Mexican boy. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Woven baskets from different Indigenous Australian communities in the Northern Territory, small rattan beaded bag from Lombok, and wire candle holder with Ethiopian cross. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

The bedroom featuring print by Ray Crooke, vintage brushed aluminum light by Louis Poulson, antique dressing table from Ballarat, bolster made with fabric from Vietnam, and woolen rug from Afghanistan. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Looking out into the garden. Handwoven indigo throw from India, Afghani tribal rug, Japanese chest of drawers, Nagaland bird table (made from one piece of wood), and Indigenous Australian artwork from Broome. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

The high-ceiling kitchen features a baker’s stainless steel bench (4.50 metres!) found at an auction. It’s lined with perforated mini-orb and has plastic bread racks as storage, while above hangs a bamboo utensils rack. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Amazing carved four-poster bed from Bali, Kantha stitched throw from India, tribal rug from Afghanistan, and antique tile cupboard from Shedwallah. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Wooden doors at the front entrance into the open space feature  carved wooden barongs from Bali. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Filtered light enters the bathroom through wooded louvres. The Mini-orb basin, brass planter from Shedwallah, and copper pot sit on a Jarrah wood bench, above concrete slabs and loose white pebbles. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

The fish pond is shaded by bamboo, ferns and bromeliads. ‘It’s a serene and tranquil part of the front garden,’ mentions Fran. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Knuckles the red-cloud Kelpie enjoying some sun! Vintage carved entrance doors from Indonesia, and huge iron pot (traditionally used for storing grain) and bronze Urli bowl from Shedwallah. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

Lucy Feagins
1st of March 2017

‘Basically, we live and work in a shed/house… and love it!’ explains Adrian and Fran Welke, describing the unique living arrangements she and her family have adopted since purchasing a 1500 square metre property in Fremantle’s industrial area over 15 years ago.

This warehouse was built in the 1940’s in the saw-tooth roof style – North facing to maximise natural light, with towering corrugated steel walls and both steel and Jarrah ((Eucalyptus timber) trusses. Though it was in a significant state of disrepair when they first took possession, Adrian could immediately see the potential here. ‘As an architect he saw a wonderful opportunity to live and work in a converted shed with lots of space and light, within walking distance to Fremantle!’ explains Fran.

The creative pair first set about  dividing the expansive building into three spaces: Shedwallah, a retail space in the front; Adrian’s architecture studio in the middle; and at the rear, a family home for Adrian and Fran, their three kids, dogs and chooks! These days, the older boys have flown the nest, whilst Reuben now lives in an apartment above the shop.

Adrian is a partner of Troppo Architects with Phil Harris, a business they started in 1981. He happily works in the middle section of the ‘shed’ with his small team of staff.

Meanwhile, Shedwallah is a great space to work in too. Fran started this business in 2004 with business partner Mandy Rogers, importing iron, marble, furniture, textiles and rugs from India, Indonesia, Japan, and Afghanistan.

As with so many creative folk, for Adrian and Fran, home and work are very much intertwined. Their creative lives are enriched and supported in a very practical sense by their unique living arrangements, and the sense of community they have fostered here is a fitting backdrop for their various creative endeavours.

Fran and Adrian Welke at home/at work in their Shedwallah. Styling – Jo Carmichael. Photo – Jody D’Arcy.

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