Five years after purchasing this 1910’s house in a leafy pocket of St Kilda, Alex McCabe of Kip&Co and family undertook a total rebuild of their home. No mean feat! Executed by architect Michael McManus of McManus Lew Architects, renovations included extending the footprint of the house, creating a large open kitchen and living area, and introducing natural light with new windows and skylights.
Alex describes the home as ‘light, bright and personable’ – and we can only agree! The new design deliberately brings the outside into the house, with huge floor to ceiling glass doors. The styling is eclectic and fun – Alex explains her approach as underpinned by the philosophy that ‘too much is never enough!’ She highlights ‘there is no strict style, period or colour palette in the house, just a collection of pieces that make me happy and treasures I’ve picked up along the way.’ Of course, Kip&Co pieces are smattered through the home, lending texture, colour and personality.
Beloved treasures include a triptych the family commissioned from Fred Fowler, which runs the length of the living area. Alex explains, ‘it somehow creates a sense of space rather than closing it in, which is really beautiful.’ The eye-catching crocodile bamboo quartz splash-back (!) is identified by Alex as ‘the biggest statement in the home.’ This incredible addition looks like an artwork, but comes from deep underground, in Brazil. Alex explains how ‘having a beautiful new kitchen made me want to stay home and cook – that’s a really awesome part of our lives now.’
The families new living style is enhanced by their new-found love of St Kilda. Alex highlights that as ‘a bit of a south-side convert, I like to think this hood is as ‘north’ as you can get this side of the river.’ With the St Kilda Botanical Gardens and foreshore walking distance away, the local neighbourhood becomes their backyard over the summer.
The renovation process itself was a joy for Alex and family, with the only niggle being remaining within budget. Alex admits, ‘I am not very good at sticking to one!’ While the budget may have blown out… this home is incredibly successful in capturing and celebrating the identity of its inhabitants. Alex explains ‘I like homes that really reflect the personality of the people living in them, and tell a bit of their story.’ This story is one of sheer joy and over-the-top enthusiasm – we love it!