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A 1980s Beachside Brick Home Gets A Dreamy Renovation

Homes

An 1980s brown brick home doesn’t necessarily jump out as an interior designer’s dream home… but Alex Bennett could see the potential in this Suffolk Park property.

With help from Those Architects, this home was gutted, reworked and extended to create the perfect beachside sanctuary for Alex and her two young children, Parker and Scout.

9th October, 2019

The Suffolk Park home of Alex Bennett, renovated by Those Architects with builder Todd Knaus Constructions. Togo sofa from Domo. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sculpture by Den Holm. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Alex and Scout at home. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Outdoor table and benches by Eco Outdoor. Indoor chairs by chairs by Something Beginning With. Dining table by Pop and Scott. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Joinery by Woodrabbit Kitchens. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Dining table by Pop and Scott, chairs by Something Beginning With, wall planter by Unearthed Garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

MCM house lounge, artwork by Karla Rose. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vintage lamp, sofa from Pop and Scott. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Living room detail, with artwork by Karla Rose. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Artworks by Bobby Clark, dining table by Pop and Scott, chairs from Something Beginning With. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Pampa wool rug, vintage marble table from Gumtree, op shop vase and ashtray, incense holder by Pampa. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Tree recycled from a local plant nursery. Pot from Pop and Scott. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Le Bambole vintage sofa, artwork by Lily Nicholson. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Wall hanging by Dharma Door, wool runner from Pampa. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Linen bedding by Deiji Studios, artwork by Pampa. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Travertine side tables from En-Gold, vessels from Mel Lumb. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 9th October 2019

‘We have filled the space with the works of local talented creatives’ – Alex Bennett.

Alex Bennett was eager to set up a home in Suffolk Park… so eager that she purchased this 1980s brick home and undertook serious renovations to make her dream location work. Alex explains ‘the entire original home was gutted, and 3 metres was chopped off the rear of the house.’  This full rebuild was coupled with Alex’s own interior design and styling input, to create a warm, contemporary and refined home.

The brief to Simon from Those Architects was for something solid, practical, and well laid out. The family wanted a big main living area and kitchen to hang out together in, and lots of natural light. Alex enthuses ‘we got all of this plus more!’

The architects retained the original external walls and tiled roof, but that was all that remained. The internal layout was completely reconsidered, and the doors and window positions were relocated to enhance the aspect and natural light. Once this initial work was complete, a second story extension was introduced.

Alex has brought her own touch to the interior styling, creating a ‘soft but solid’ feel, with a variety of textures and warm neutral tones. The home balances lots of open space with comfy nooks, and reflects the relaxed lifestyle of the family who live here. Alex describes ‘we have filled the space with the works of local talented creatives, which really enhances the warmth of the house.’ The soft, neutral palette is achieved through a mix of Dulux natural white on the internal walls and ceilings, vivid white on the doors and trims, and fair bianca externally.

While the resulting outcome is exactly what Alex dreamed of (and what we are now dreaming of!) it wasn’t without its bumps along the way. Adaptive reuse (rather than totally re-building from scratch) is an excellent environmental strategy, but can involve hidden costs and unexpected hurdles. Alex highlights ‘renovating rather than rebuilding was more costly and stressful than planned, as there were a lot of unknowns in the quality of the existing structure.’ But she emphasises that the outcome was worth it!

The calm and light filled home is located a street away from the beach, making it a favourite location for friends to drop in for an evening BBQ. The home’s new functionality and layout makes it the perfect spot for casual entertaining – Alex enthuses ‘it’s so nice having friends over, the adults can sit around and have a chat while the kids run and play on the grass.’ Living the Suffolk Park dream!

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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