Andy and Lisa Montgomery had been living just five minutes away, when the original house on this block came up for sale. ‘We weren’t actively looking,’ says Lisa, ‘but we knew our beloved terrace wouldn’t suit our needs forever.’ At the time it was 2005, so their daughter Audrey hadn’t been born, the dogs weren’t on the scene, and Perth’s mining boom hadn’t yet sent house prices soaring. It was great timing.
The home is nestled into a leafy, multicultural pocket of Perth that’s central to North Perth, Leederville, Northbridge and Mount Lawley. From here, the couple can walk or ride their scooters or bikes to parks, Lake Monger and the busy eat streets of those surrounding suburbs. Conveniently, Andy’s shop, the much-loved Urban Records and Urban Depot, is in Oxford Street, Leederville, so also just an easy ride away, while at the time of purchase Lisa had an office nearby (though today she works in the city).
The original house had been a three-bedroom, one-bathroom character home with a 20-year-old kitchen renovation, all set on 500-square-metres. Andy and Lisa lived in it that way for 10 years, welcoming Finley and Fleur the Irish Setters (now eight) and Audrey their daughter (now three-and-a-half years) into their lives during that time. With the house starting to burst at the seams, a few years ago it was time to move out and renovate.
The pair wanted a semi-industrial feel, but were keen to retain the warmth and welcoming vibe of the original cottage. Having seen the work of Klopper & Davis Architects (KADA), Andy and Lisa knew they were the studio to bring their vision to life. What they didn’t know, however, was how far they would take it.
‘We loved their aesthetic – it’s mid-century inspired, and warm materials and palettes that just feel very comfortable,’ says Lisa. ‘Sam Klopper came back with a concept design that was completely different to anything we had ever envisaged. It put the vintage Vespas and Lambrettas front and centre in the living space – like artworks. We loved the idea!’
‘Bikes and music have always been my passion,’ says Andy. ‘I started collecting in 2000 and am quite discerning. I source rare and unique bikes from around the world that I restore in my workshop and add to my collection’.
The new design retained the front of the original home – the three bedrooms were retained in full, while the original dining room was sectioned up to create a walk-in-robe for the main bedroom, and a new bathroom. The rest of the house and its outhouses were knocked down and levels across the site changed to accommodate a new study, combined kitchen/living/dining area with scooter gallery, outdoor entertaining area to the North, pool on the Eastern side and a scooter workshop, spare bedroom, second bathroom and laundry tucked underneath the new part of the house. ‘We had a great team that we could trust and work closely and collaboratively with,’ says Lisa. ‘We were involved in the concept design, working with Sam and the team, while Andy was very hands-on with our builder, Danny of Saxon Construction.’
One of the tricky elements of the design was working out the best way to raise and lower the scooters from the basement workshop and onto two super-strength ‘shelves’ in the living area. While they toyed with different options, Andy remembered a contact of his had access to an old brick lift, so that was brought in and modified for its purpose.
The scooter gallery wall and lift have given a unique edge to the family home, while adding some unexpected colour to the living space. Surprisingly, the Vespas and Lambrettas live happily and easily alongside mid-century furniture and quirky objects from Andy’s store – once you get over the shock, it all feels quite normal!
‘The house functions so well and brings us all together,’ says Lisa. ‘The living, dining and kitchen space is seamless, especially when entertaining; the study is just the other side of the kitchen, so very integrated into everyday living, whether for our home office or a homework station for Audrey; and we were conscious of making sure the scooter workshop could be used for something else – an entertainment room, a studio or a kids’ zone – particularly if we ever decided to sell the house… which is unlikely – we consider this our forever house!’