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.’