This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

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.’

This Week

Interiors

A Spectacular, Art-Filled Home In Melbourne's Outer Suburbs

Interior design extraordinaire Chelsea Hing conducts a sweeping transformation of this sprawling family home in the Victorian suburb of Park...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Open-Plan Home Partially Inspired By A Hitchcock Film!

Modo Architecture challenge the standard open floor plan in this Melbourne family home – taking partial inspiration from the house featur...
Amelia Barnes
  20 hours ago

Sustainable Homes

A Sustainable Inner-Suburban Home, Designed To Be Deconstructed + Reused

Rammed earth and recycled timber come together in this creekside Melbourne home by Breathe Architecture.

Art

Intricate Bark Artwork From The 'Top End', On Show At Koskela

'Top End Bugi' at Koskela showcases 36 incredible bark artworks from three art centres in Arnhem Land.

News

Jardan's Stunning New Perth Showroom Is A Terrazzo Palace!

The champions of modern Australian furniture design open the doors on their first West Coast flagship.

Interiors

The Cosy New Australian-Made Sofa Range, Inspired By Togetherness

Jean-Pierre Biasol talks us through his lush new collection of locally manufactured sofas - inspired by the feeling of companionship!
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated 1950s home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

News

This Wiggly Coatstand Can Be Anything You Want It To Be

Student designer Brigitte Owers-Buccianti has launched her furniture brand Real Non-Real with a versatile piece of industrial-inspired furni...

Gardens

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

This Mollymook property's incredible front garden by Dangar Barin Smith has inadvertently become a local tourist destination.

Building Better

The Best Building Materials For A Sustainable Home

From rammed earth to concrete, which building material is the most environmentally friendly? The answers may surprise you...

Homes

A Local Post Office Transformed Into A Meaningful Family Home

How photographer Alexandrena Parker, and carpenter Michael Riseley, turned a rundown former post office in Beaconsfield Upper, Victoria, int...

Architecture

An Action-Packed, Compact City Home

A formerly unliveable art deco house in Northcote gets a major overhaul by Rob Kennon Architects.

Art

Announcing The Finalists For The Record-Breaking 2020 Archibald Prize

From 1068 entries, the 55 shortlisted artworks for Australia's most prestigious portraiture prize have been unveiled!

Shopping

Create Your Own Salon Wall With These Affordable, Vintage-Inspired Artworks

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming pioneers a new affordable art alternative, with the launch of his limited-edition, stretched-canv...
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

Julia's Salmon + Potato Spring Salad With Yoghurt Dressing

A versatile salad of salmon, potatoes and vibrant zesty greens from Julia Busuttil Nishimura.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

Alex Kennedy

Welcome to the tiniest home we have ever featured, the self contained Carlton studio apartment of Alex Kennedy, who works in international...

Homes

Tiny Homes Australia

Super stylish pint-sized abodes, made in Melbourne by inspiring young builder, Indi Hangan.
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Tallebudgera Transformation

Michael and Carlene Duffy's labour of love - a renovation project spanning eight years, in the Gold Coast hinterland.

This Week

Sustainable Homes

A Sustainable Inner-Suburban Home, Designed To Be Deconstructed + Reused

Rammed earth and recycled timber come together in this creekside Melbourne home by Breathe Architecture.

Art

Announcing The Finalists For The Record-Breaking 2020 Archibald Prize

From 1068 entries, the 55 shortlisted artworks for Australia's most prestigious portraiture prize have been unveiled!

Food

Julia's Salmon + Potato Spring Salad With Yoghurt Dressing

A versatile salad of salmon, potatoes and vibrant zesty greens from Julia Busuttil Nishimura.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

A Local Post Office Transformed Into A Meaningful Family Home

How photographer Alexandrena Parker, and carpenter Michael Riseley, turned a rundown former post office in Beaconsfield Upper, Victoria, int...

News

Jardan's Stunning New Perth Showroom Is A Terrazzo Palace!

The champions of modern Australian furniture design open the doors on their first West Coast flagship.

News

This Wiggly Coatstand Can Be Anything You Want It To Be

Student designer Brigitte Owers-Buccianti has launched her furniture brand Real Non-Real with a versatile piece of industrial-inspired furni...

Shopping

Create Your Own Salon Wall With These Affordable, Vintage-Inspired Artworks

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming pioneers a new affordable art alternative, with the launch of his limited-edition, stretched-canv...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

An Open-Plan Home Partially Inspired By A Hitchcock Film!

Modo Architecture challenge the standard open floor plan in this Melbourne family home – taking partial inspiration from the house featur...
Amelia Barnes
  20 hours ago

Building Better

The Best Building Materials For A Sustainable Home

From rammed earth to concrete, which building material is the most environmentally friendly? The answers may surprise you...

Art

Intricate Bark Artwork From The 'Top End', On Show At Koskela

'Top End Bugi' at Koskela showcases 36 incredible bark artworks from three art centres in Arnhem Land.

Homes

A Creative Couple's Lovingly Renovated 1950's Home

Lucy Spartalis and Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films share their renovated 1950s home in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.
Lucy Feagins
  4 hours ago

Gardens

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

This Mollymook property's incredible front garden by Dangar Barin Smith has inadvertently become a local tourist destination.

Architecture

An Action-Packed, Compact City Home

A formerly unliveable art deco house in Northcote gets a major overhaul by Rob Kennon Architects.

Interiors

A Spectacular, Art-Filled Home In Melbourne's Outer Suburbs

Interior design extraordinaire Chelsea Hing conducts a sweeping transformation of this sprawling family home in the Victorian suburb of Park...
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The Cosy New Australian-Made Sofa Range, Inspired By Togetherness

Jean-Pierre Biasol talks us through his lush new collection of locally manufactured sofas - inspired by the feeling of companionship!
Sasha Gattermayr

Similar Stories

Homes

Alex Kennedy

Welcome to the tiniest home we have ever featured, the self contained Carlton studio apartment of Alex Kennedy, who works in international...

Homes

Tiny Homes Australia

Super stylish pint-sized abodes, made in Melbourne by inspiring young builder, Indi Hangan.
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Tallebudgera Transformation

Michael and Carlene Duffy's labour of love - a renovation project spanning eight years, in the Gold Coast hinterland.

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.