I have a few things in common with Nick Shelton, founder and publisher of Broadsheet. We’re a similar age (more or less!), we both ventured into the world of online publishing at a similar time, and we’re both Fitzroy locals!
It wasn’t until I recently visited Nick’s beautiful apartment, to record this insightful podcast conversation last year, that these similarities became apparent. It also became very quickly apparent that Nick’s place definitely needed to feature on The Design Files – luckily for us, he willingly obliged!
As is often the case, this enviable inner city apartment was not discovered via a straightforward real estate listing. It was a casual office conversation with a work colleague, who happened to be the wife of Melbourne architect Dominic Pandolfini, that led Nick to discover the place. He explains ‘Emily was working at Broadsheet at the time, and told us about this amazing place Dominic was working on. She mentioned they were looking for tenants, so we popped by for a viewing that week.’ The apartment had Nick, and partner Catherine Graves (marketing director at Genero) at hello. Despite it being ‘still very much a construction site’, the couple immediately jumped at the opportunity to live here.
Built in the 1860s, the site was originally a residential property, before being converted to a Union Hotel (pub) from 1880 to 1912. After this period of merriment, the building had a range of occupants, as a workshop for metal workers, copper-smiths and engravers. Material evidence of this history now shines through the polished concrete slab on the ground floor.
Pandolfini’s renovation in 2014 brought the dilapidated space back to life, and converted the building into two apartments. For Nick and Catherine, the ‘underlying architecture of the house is so strong, with a mixture of old and new’, and this identity helped to guide the interior aesthetics. The couple explain ‘we tend to lean towards clean, modern lines, but the ancient Persian rug also doesn’t seem out of place at all.’
Their home isn’t overly curated or prescribed, and the pair explain ‘we haven’t restricted ourselves to a specific era or palette, we only buy things we love.’ In addition to the beloved Loom rug and Cassina sofa, Nick and Catherine have amassed an impressive collection of artworks from local friends. The walls are adorned with pieces by Rhys Gorgol, Billie Justice Thompson and Nick Hawker.
Despite being a stone’s throw from some of the best cafes and restaurants in Melbourne, the kitchen is the focus in this home. Nick and Catherine explain ‘for a Fitzroy apartment, to have such a big kitchen is really special’. They love to cook and entertain, spilling out onto their lush rooftop terrace when weather permits.
For Nick and Catherine, being based in the heart of Fitzroy is a dream. They’re right in the thick of Melbourne’s vibrant inner North, but the clever apartment layout and robust materials palette here ensures their home is a quiet refuge from the city bustle. ‘When the door closes behind us, we could be a million miles away’ they enthuse. Living the dream!