‘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.