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An Iconic Mid-Century Home In The Trees

Homes

It’s a familiar tale. Young couple plans a family, priorities shift, and before long, they find themselves seeking a home with a just little more breathing space.

TDF previously featured the bright Fitzroy loft apartment of designer Kate Stokes of Coco Flip, and architect Haslett Grounds of Grounds Architecture – and this creative young family now include daughters Mariko (3yrs) and Juniper (1yr). The couple recently made the move to leafy Eltham, after seizing the opportunity to purchase an iconic architectural home, designed and built in 1966 by revered Melbourne architect, Alistair Knox.

2nd May, 2018

The living room inside Kate Stokes and Haslett Ground’s family home. Leather sofa from Grandfather’s Axe, Robin coffee table and Mayu floor lamp by Coco Flip (the couple’s furniture and lighting studio), CH33 chair by Hans Wegner (a gift from Cult Design), floor cushion bought from Camberwell markets when Kate and Haslett first moved to Melbourne, rug from Loom. On shelves: Tiwi Islands carved owl, artist unknown (a wedding gift), ‘Light Tanlines’ pot by Group Partner, glass ‘Yumemiru’ sculptures by Amanda Dziedzic. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The living room looking to the outdoors. Themis Mono mobile (on shelf) by Clara Von Zweigbergk for Artecnica, glass ‘Yumemiru’ sculptures by Amanda Dziedzic, artwork on left is a collage by Trudy Moore, Yosemite photographic print by Cathy Marshall (framed by United Measures), Bright Side glass lamp by RBW for Artecnica (a gift after Kate did an internship with RBW in NYC!). Photo – Eve Wilson.

‘Our interior vibe is very relaxed and informal’ says Kate. Photo – Eve Wilson.

A split-level floor plan separates living, kitchen and dining areas with bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. Rope weaving by Hanne Ibach – a gift from the artist for Kate and Haslett’s wedding. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The dining room. Full Moon Print by LouLou Avenue, copper bowls from Muji found in Tokyo, glass sculpture artist unknown (a wedding gift from Haslett’s parents), dining table and chairs from Grandfather’s Axe. Photo – Eve Wilson.

‘We love the unusual ‘elephant skin’ plasterboard panels and Hawthorn bricks that have been used – they give such a nice character,’ Kate says. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kate and Haslett swapped their bustling Fitzroy lifestyle for something a little slower last year. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Mayu 04 pendant light by Coco Flip, large and small artworks both by Sophie Moorhouse Morris, round wall clock by Daniel Emma, Puku ottoman and Robin coffee table by Coco Flip, Safari chair by Michael Hirst (it belonged to Haslett’s grandparents), rug from Loom, planters from Mr Kitly, leather sofa from Grandfather’s Axe, cushion from Kim Soo. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Leather sofa from Grandfather’s Axe, Robin coffee table, Mayu floor lamp and Puku ottoman by Coco Flip, CH33 chair by Hans Wegner (a gift from Cult Design), floor cushion bought from Camberwell markets, rug from Loom.Photo – Eve Wilson.

Dining table and chairs from Grandfather’s Axe, round wall clock by Daniel Emma, planter from Mr. Kitly. Photo – Eve Wilson.

‘Living centrally we were always pulled outside to the parks and cafes, whereas now we relish slower-paced days at home,’ Kate explains. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The home was originally designed in 1966 by revered Melbourne architect, Alistair Knox. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 2nd May 2018

‘Living centrally we were always pulled outside to the parks and cafes, whereas now we relish slower-paced days at home.’ – Kate Stokes.

Kate Stokes and Haslett Grounds were inner-city dwellers for years before they found themselves craving a house with a couple of extra bedrooms and a garden. They spent a few years being outbid at every auction in Melbourne’s inner north, before widening their search.

‘I actually love looking at real estate, so I began to widen my search and dream of the different lives we could create’ says Kate. ‘When this house came up online I instantly fell in love, and then spent a lot of time researching the area to see if we could make it work for our lifestyle. There were way more pros than cons, so we went for it!’

Built in 1966 by revered Melbourne architect Alistair Knox, Kate and Haslett’s home is a perfect example of an ‘iconically Australian mid-century home.’ Knox was a ‘bit of a legend around that time in Eltham,’ explains Kate. ‘He was a prolific designer/builder who was eventually given an honorary Architecture degree by the University of Melbourne in 1984.’

Known as the ‘Collis House’, this property was designed and built by Knox for the Collis family, who lived here until 2015. Kate and Haslett purchased the home just two years later, in 2017.

The materials here are simple, functional and typical of the era – slate floors, timber beams and lots of glass to make the most of the greenery surrounding the house. A split-level floor plan separates living, kitchen and dining areas with bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. High ceilings with exposed beams give the space an open, airy feel, and trees all around ensure leafy views and dappled light through every window.

This robust modernist architectural framework has proven a perfect backdrop for Kate and Haslett’s eclectic design aesthetic. ‘Our interior vibe is very relaxed and informal’ says Kate. Her own lighting designs populate the space, alongside treasured vintage furniture, much-loved textiles, and artwork, as well as trinkets collected on overseas travels.

For Kate and Haslett, life still feels pretty bustling with two young children and two small businesses to run, but home has definitely become more of a retreat these days. ‘We spend a lot more time just hanging out here than we ever did when we lived inner city’ Kate admits. ‘Living centrally we were always pulled outside to the parks and cafes, whereas now we relish slower-paced days at home.’

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