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'Two-in-One' Northcote Warehouse

Homes

When two crazy-creative humans join forces and build a versatile home/studio in a lofty Melbourne warehouse… the results are bound to impress.

As it turns out, ARIA award-winning musician and tour manager Wally Maloney (of Mighty Duke & The Lords and Melbourne Ska Orchestra) and interior designer/woodworker Leah Hudson-Smith (of Hassell and her own furniture studio, By Pono) haven’t built just ANY house here. They’ve built two mini houses, inside one rented warehouse. I mean… why not?

11th April, 2018

Inside the Melbourne warehouse home of Leah Hudson-Smith and Wally Maloney are not one but TWO smaller ‘houses’. Pictured here just visible on the left is the ‘Dark House’, which features an internal space for music production and rehearsal. On the right is ‘Maple House’, a flexible sleeping space. Photo – Henry Trumble.

High saw tooth ceiling and windows flood the space with natural light. Long dining table made with recycled timber by By.Pono. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Another look at ‘Maple House’, made by Wally and Leah by hand (Benson, their four-legged friend, is chilling out in front!). Photo – Henry Trumble.

A collection of hand-woven baskets, tray, fan and bowl collected from family in New Zealand and travels around Central America. Photo – Henry Trumble.

The dining table is by By.Pono, Leah’s woodwork label, made from recycled timbers. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Photo – Henry Trumble.

The former warehouse carpark has been transformed into the couple’s outdoor space. Photo – Henry Trumble.

The space evolves with us, as our needs change we rebuild or dismantle parts of the home. I think this is how our houses should be’ Leah says. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Inside the ‘Maple House’, Wally and Leah’s sleeping area. White plant pot by Pop&Scott, bed and pot plant stand by By.Pono, Photo – Henry Trumble.

Wally’s ARIA on show!. Photo – Henry Trumble.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 11th April 2018

‘We aren’t stagnant – our homes should grow with us and develop over time to accommodate our needs and facilitate our creativity, relationships, and lifestyles.’ – Leah Hudson-Smith.

Described by tenants Wally Maloney and Leah Hudson-Smith as a ‘workshop for living’, this converted warehouse is an unconventional home, consisting of two different self-contained ‘mini houses’ within an open plan warehouse. Offering ultimate versatility for living, working, music-making and more, this unique set-up is the perfect pad for two prolific creatives.

Wally and Leah’s home was designed to optimise the open space of the existing warehouse, creating nooks for different activities. The charcoal coloured house (‘Dark House’) is an internalised space, concealed by a bookcase. This creative den serves as Wally’s music studio and can be closed down and the sound contained, to minimise its impact on the rest of the warehouse.

In contrast, the light coloured ‘Maple House’ is designed to open up to the living space, with a large sliding door, louvre windows for cross-ventilation and a skylight. With a raised insulated floor and pitched roof, this is a cosy place to fall asleep in – or as Leah describes ‘our own adult size cubby house!’

Beyond the clever and resourceful fit-out, Wally and Leah’s home is filled with beautiful furniture and objects by local makers – including kitchen joinery by Cenzo, bedding by The Vallentine Project, Plant Pots by Pop + Scott, a custom terrazzo fireplace by Den Holm, and of course, a number of items made by Leah through her label By Pono (including a timber plant stand, bedside tables, dining table, and wall hanging). These handcrafted pieces are paired with an eclectic edit of vintage furniture and textiles, as well as artwork and treasures collected on overseas travels.

The pair overcame many obstacles to turn this former mechanic workshop into a comfortable, versatile home – and have been rewarded for their epic efforts! ‘We had a very small window of time to build the two ‘houses’ and make it habitable, we were both working full time and were building everything by hand late into the night, every night for a couple of weeks’ recalls Leah. ‘It was really tiring and stressful, but with the help of some friends, we got it all done without involving any trades and for a ridiculously low budget. I think we could build anything now!’  We tend to agree – so impressed!

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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