As alumni of channel 9’s wildly popular ‘The Block’ (class of 2011), Josh and Jenna know a thing or two about renovation. The pair also run their own design studio,Bicker Design, and accredited training organisation, Design School. It seems inevitable that the pair would eventually tackle their very own ‘fixer upper’.
The pair purchased the home five years ago. Originally built in 1874, it’s a 32sqm weatherboard workers cottage, on a 5m wide block of land. Incredibly, the footprint of the home originally consisted of two bedrooms (and not much else).
Josh and Jenna set about removing all internal walls, and creating high vaulted ceilings, while maintaining the heritage facade and exterior. In the centre of the space, a utilities ‘pod’ was designed – this space houses a small bathroom, and provides a robust internal wall for the kitchen bench top. It also acts as an efficient divide between the living and sleeping spaces.
‘The tiny footprint of the cottage was always our biggest challenge. It challenged us to think about the way we could live, rather than the way we currently live’ says Jenna. ‘Do we actually need that?’ and ‘how can this be more efficient?’ became the pair’s mantra.
Another challenge was the attention to detail required in such a small space. For instance, in a home that essentially operates as ‘one room’, consistency of colour and materials was paramount. The pair decided on a tonal palette with blush pinks, sharp whites, and blonde oak timber throughout. ‘The soft pink tile that covers the central pod was the starting point in selecting the colour palette, and is one of our favourite elements’ says Jenna. Underfoot, brick flooring was selected for its durability and tactile qualities – they also installed underfloor heating (a great a solution when there is nowhere to put a radiator).
Necessarily, the interior styling is minimal. Everything is integrated and all the furniture is custom built – with not an inch to spare!
There are plenty of upsides to living small, though. ‘It’s so easy to clean!’ Jenna enthuses. ‘Living in a small space can be hard, but it forces you to be organised and only keep what you need. It’s actually quite refreshing.’