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 Home With Italian WOW Factor, In Carlton North

Architecture

It isn’t often that an architect describes their latest project using the words ‘wine, orecchiette, torn bread, muscatels and cheese wheels’ – we’re into it! The Il Duomo house by Wowowa captures the best of Italy, and translates that inimitable European character to this Carlton North cottage.

A cathedral inspiration on a tiny Melbourne block – this project is infused with trademark Wowowa colour, humour and joy. Bellissimo!

12th July, 2019

Il Duomo by Wowowa. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

A terrarium courtyard, inspired by cathedral geometry. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

Pink and green carnival colours. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

This tight site is a 4 meter wide space. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

A space that is both joyful and functional. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

A mint green bathroom. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

Colours that sing of ‘Italianity.’ Photo – Martina Gemmola. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

Miriam McGarry
Friday 12th July 2019

‘Too often playfulness in architecture is seen as over the top’ – Monique Woodward.

When Monique Woodward of Wowowa encountered this Carlton North property, she and her team were met with a DIY post-war renovation on a Victorian Workers Cottage, that had left the home with a ‘very highly vaulted ceiling.’ The property was affectionately bestowed with the nickname ‘Il Duomo’ as a result… and this illusion of Italian heritage helped to inform the Wowowa renovation.

Monique explains that this architectural taste of Italy was a flavour that the client was ‘keen to embellish.’ However, rather than attempting a full Italian feast – the architects have playfully infused the home with subtle nods to the Mediterranean. Despite the constraints of a tight 4m wide urban site, monumental octagon cathedral ceilings were a key reference point. The architects rotated the geometry to create a terrarium courtyard, with a nod to the Medicis!

Inside, the relatively small space is both joyful and functional, where ‘every centimetre of this house is accounted for, and bursting with amenity.’ The pink and green façade of the Florentine Il Duomo informed the colour palette, with ‘punchy Terrazzo’ that connects the interior and exterior spaces. Pops of maroon interrupt the green kitchen and bench seat, but Monique explains that ‘the mint green in the bathroom is where the colour combination really sings of Italianality.’

The punch and pizzazz of this property is important to Monique, who sees architecture as key to the expression of culture and experiences. She explains ‘too often playfulness in architecture is seen as over the top, but humans are hard wired to seek happiness – our spaces shouldn’t be designed any differently.’

In addition to creating joy for their clients, this project is also friendly to the environment. Through reducing materials and waste, using insulated double brick, and maximising cross ventilation, this tiny home has achieved a six star energy rating. A perfect example of how sustainable design doesn’t mean compromising on aesthetics, or creative flourish. This joyful home certainly sparkles with Italian passion!

This house is shortlisted in the Residential Architecture category of the TDF Design Awards – to see the rest of the shortlist, go here!

This Week

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....
Lucy Feagins
  10 hours ago

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.
Sasha Gattermayr
  20 hours ago

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!
Sasha Gattermayr
  12 hours ago

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

Happily-Ever-After In The Storybook House

Folk Architects convert a Victorian era terrace into a tiny, dream home in Melbourne’s inner north.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Total Transformation For This Pocket-Sized Heritage Home

The Kingsville House undergoes a clever, contemporary renovation from Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The TDF Design Awards Residential Architecture Finalists!

From converted powerstations to concrete shrouded glass, we present the best residential architecture projects in Australia, selected from 6...

This Week

Interiors

A Colour-Drenched, 'Grandmillennial' Home In North Sydney

Bold colour, and both English and Moroccan influences come together in this North Sydney home by Lisa Burdus.

Creative People

The Mother and Daughter Duo Uncovering Perth’s Hidden Terrazzo Treasures

A community exhibition uncovering Fremantle residences containing terrazzo floors by master artisan, Giuseppe Scolaro - as part of the city'...

Interiors

Get The Look: Dark + Moody Bathrooms And Kitchens

All the product and styling advice you need to achieve the dark, moody bathrooms and kitchen interiors trend, brought to you Oliveri.

News

The TDF ‘ALL THE THINGS’ 500k Giveaway!

Help us celebrate half a million (!) Insta followers with epic prize packs for three lucky readers! 

TDF Design Awards

The Sensational Interior Design Finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

The 12 incredible residential projects in the running to win the Interior Design award at the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, presented by...

Studio Visit

Two Best Friends' Lockdown Hobby Turned Cult Candle Business

Creative entrepreneurs Ruby Kannava and Emma Cutri pooled their respective small business knowledge to found Blazed Wax - a colourful, cult-...

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Homes

A Designer’s 1970s Bells Beach Dream Home!

The incredible eclectic home of interior designer Léo Terrando and Jessica Watts, on Victoria's surf coast.

Indigenous Art

15 Excellent Indigenous Art Centres To Support And Celebrate!

We've spoken to some experts, and pulled together this guide on purchasing Aboriginal artwork ethically, and some ideas of where to find it!...
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....
Lucy Feagins
  10 hours ago

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.
Sasha Gattermayr
  20 hours ago

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!
Sasha Gattermayr
  12 hours ago

News

Shop These Plush Woollen Rugs And Get A Special TDF Discount!

Carpet Court’s customisable rug range is made with 100% New Zealand wool and can be cut to suit the size, shape and colour of your interio...
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Architecture

Happily-Ever-After In The Storybook House

Folk Architects convert a Victorian era terrace into a tiny dream home.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Total Transformation For This Pocket-Sized Heritage Home

A clever, contemporary renovation from Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The TDF Design Awards Residential Architecture Finalists!

From converted powerstations to concrete shrouded glass, we present the best residential architecture projects in Australia, selected from 6...

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.