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A Creative + Cosy Northcote Family Pad

Homes

Today we tour the charming Northcote home of Chloe Quigley, co-director at Ortolan design studio, Scott Robinson, an editor at ASIC, and their kids, Kitty (14 yrs) and Mae (10 yrs).

This sweet and impossibly skinny (approx five metres) little house has been home to the family for 14 years. However, it was a considered renovation undertaken in 2013 by local architects Louisa Macleod and Michael Macleod, with builder Ben Thomas which really propelled it into dream home territory!

 

20th December, 2017

Living room looking back to kitchen and dining space. Clever custom shelving divides the living and kitchen zones, and provides flexible storage for the family’s eclectic collections. Jardan couch bought from TDF Open House circa 2012 (woo!). Parker Coffee table  c.1970 from hard rubbish! Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Bookshelf details, featuring many of Scott’s op shop treasures. One favourite piece is the Xavier Kugat painting of a priest carrying a bunch of playboys. ‘We call it Papa after Scott’s dad which is a little unfair but there is a resemblance..apart from the magazines…!’ says Chloe! Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Looking from the living room back to the front of the house from the (slightly) sunken lounge. The carpet is Supertuft Escape Velour in colour Esther. Clever shelving divides the living and kitchen zone. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Dining room, with vintage furniture from Modern Times, timber panelled wall in Dulux Madonna, limited edition ‘Happiness’  print by the late David Band. ‘Sim, Kat and I all bought one of these prints for each other after one particularly tiring year at work, as a thanks to each other, but mostly for our sadness when David died.’ Chloe says. Beautiful Christmas tree with various handmade decorations by Kitty, Mae and friends. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kitchen ‘is fantastic’! To left, Bitossi Italian ceramic vase, Dinosaur Design resin salad bowl. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

One of Chloe’s favourite aspects of the home’s re-design are the stunning slim-line steel windows and doors. ‘It was a big decision to get them, as they were exxy but we really are happy we did it’ she says. ‘They are argon-filled, double-glazed custom-made steel and they mean the house stays cool / warm’.  Conversely, the Grant Featherston contour chair was picked up at a garage sale for $20! Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kitchen looking back to living. Decorative details on shelves include Grant McClaren Australian pottery cat (a present from Chloe’s business partners, Simone and Kat at Ortolan),  and Tasmania timber fruit (again sourced from an op shop). Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

View through back door to studio beyond. Ceramic and glass sculpture on ledge from the Coburg tip shop (!), Ficus in Decor self watering pot from Mr Kitly. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

A small snapshot of Scott’s amazing collection of ceramic vessels trinkets!  (Not to mention books!) Top shelf – key pieces include Pamela Remued vase 1934, Mylie Peppin Van Dieman vase 1936, Marguerite Henriette Mahood teapot and sugar bowl, Middle shelf – glass vase by Peter Goss, made at the Jam Factory in Adelaide circa 1975, and various pieces home made by Scott and Kitty, Phillipa James and Frederick Cox. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Super clever, compact bathroom (with separate zones for shower / sink / toilet to minimise bottlenecks in the mornings! On the wall, 1960s fabric art from the op shop. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Living room detail, with Jardan armchair. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Master bedroom. Fred Lowen Tessa T6 chair from a local garage sale, Louise Weaver and Robert Rooney prints from Australian Print Workshop. Top wall colour is Dulux Silkwort. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

14-year-old Kit’s room. On the wall, original watercolours by Kat Macleod, original created for Chloe’s Michigirl books. Nud light bulb from Great Dane Furniture. For Like Ever print from Super Rural in Brooklyn. Ikea bed linen Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Study nook (currently used more often as a music room these days!). Timber panelled wall in Dulux Madonna.  Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Hallway, featuring the original party wall. ‘Initially we planned to replaster, but it was nice so we just painted the old bricks, they were still in good nick’ says Chloe. Timber panelled wall  painted in Dulux Madonna.  Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Rooftop deck above the new studio! All furniture found at op shops / hard rubbish! Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Dining room details. Big Boy lemonade advertising sign and vintage bird, both from op shops. Vintage table and chairs from Modern Times.  Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

We stole a quick moment with Kitty, Mae and Chloe, before the end-of-year school disco! Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 20th December 2017

‘We chose closer to the city, and smaller footprint, over space and a commute. We will see if we outgrow it or not, who knows. At the moment we imagine we will never move.’ – Chloe Quigley.

This deceptively roomy semi-detached Victorian terrace in Northcote has been home to Chloe Quigley and Scott Robinson for 14 years. It’s the one and only home they’ve ever owned. The pair purchased the house in 2003, and lived here for 10 years before undertaking a significant renovation.

When the time came to extend and renovate, Chloe and Scott turned to architects Louisa Macleod and Michael Macleod. A brother and sister team, Louisa and Michael are siblings of Kat Macleod, one of Chloe’s business partners at Ortolan. As close friends of Chloe and Scott, both architects took on this job as a one-off freelance project – Mike works at award-winning Melbourne architecture firm Kennedy Nolan, and Louisa, who was freelance at the time, now works at Design Office.

‘It was amazing having Louisa and Michael work on the house, as they knew us really well and they have similar taste. They are both extremely clever, and we really trusted them,’ Chloe recalls.

The renovation meant demolishing almost everything – only the front of the house and one side wall were retained. Everything else was gutted by builder Ben Thomas, who Chloe speaks glowingly of! ‘He really loves the house and still checks up on it,’ Chloe says.

Originally, the house was two bedroom, one bathroom, with a narrow living room, dining room, a lean-to kitchen and an outside laundry. Down the back, was a huge garage that Chloe says was used as ‘A Current Affair-style hoarder’s paradise, filled with stuff we didn’t want to think about’!

Now, the house has three bedrooms, a study nook, a super functional family bathroom, living and dining room – whilst the ‘hoarder’s paradise’ has been replaced with a new freestanding studio with bathroom and rooftop deck. ‘It’s a really good use of a long skinny small block,’ Chloe says.

Scott is a passionate op-shop and garage sale fossicker, and the house is filled with the fruits of his frequent treasure hunts. ‘We found a Featherston chair years ago at a garage sale, which we happened to get for $20 which was like stealing,’ Chloe admits. ‘It still feels naughty to own it.’

Despite their many years here, I get the distinct impression that Chloe and Scott pinch themselves everyday about their beautiful little house. Every space is designed perfectly for their family’s specific passions, and daily routines. ‘The house is light and airy and every surface is lovely – we chose textures pretty carefully so that they are not shiny or bright – all very quiet and calm,’ Chloe says. ‘It’s small, but there are enough spaces that we can be ‘together apart’.

‘The nicest thing about living here is that we have been here forever,’ Chloe muses. ‘We know the street, all our neighbours, the area. We will see if we outgrow it or not, who knows. At the moment we imagine we will never move.’

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