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A Tonal, Tiny North Melbourne Cottage

Homes

‘Tiny Homes’ are having a moment. But few are quite so tiny as the immaculate North Melbourne cottage of Josh and Jenna Densten of Bicker Design, and their adorable daughter Freddie.

At just 4 metres wide, and 8 metres long, this house really is the perfect case study in small footprint living!

14th March, 2018

The tiny cottage of Josh, Jenna and Freddie Densten. Artwork by Samantha Totty. Stools by Fred International painted a custom apricot. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

Jenna and Josh had almost every piece of furniture custom made to fit perfectly in the space!  The dining table is on a clamp and can be removed. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

The kitchen and living space, peeking over to the master bedroom. Joinery wall conceals the pantry, oven, fridge and laundry.Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

Brick floors by Brickworks wrap up to create the the kicker. Self watering plant above. ‘The soft pink tile that covers the central pod was the starting point in selecting tones and is one of our favourite elements,’ says Jenna. Tiles by Artedomus, overhead cupboards painted a soft apricot to compliment the tiles. Joinery by Joel Elliot.Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

The master bedroom looking around the corner to the kitchen, featuring a 1960s Braun record player that Jenna bought Josh for his 30th. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

A look at the very tonal living room. The soft pinks, sharp whites, oak timber and mauve tones within the brick floors make the room feel relaxed and inviting.Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.les.

Adorable baby Freddie with Jenna in the couple’s tiny living room. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

Though living in a small space can be hard, Jenna and Josh reason that it forces you to be organised ‘and only keep what you need’. Artwork above the bed by Luke Cornish.Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

‘We accidentally drove past the cottage and fell in love with its quaintness, amongst its large double storey neighbours. It was adorable and in a beautiful tree lined street, we knew it had loads of potential,’ says the couple.Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

Living area includes custom curved sofa with storage underneath built by Joel Elliot Furniture. Hannah Nowlan artwork, Pampa round cushion. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design  Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 14th March 2018

‘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.’ – Jenna Densten.

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.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net