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A Family Home Full Of Warmth, Fit For A Colour Queen!

Homes

If you’d asked a young Alex McCabe, co-founder and creative director of Kip&Co, where she’d raise her future children, she definitely wouldn’t have guessed her hometown on the Mornington Peninsula, and especially not the land her parents bought 30 years ago!

When her parents went to sell the block a few years ago, Alex realised her nostalgic attachment to the land, and decided to take it off their hands. Since then, she’s built a weekender on the property with her husband Bobby Babb, and children Quincy (2) and Pearl (2 months) which they will soon move into permanently!

4th March, 2020

Reclaimed beams from an old railway bridge in Gippsland near Buchan Caves. Jardan Sunny couch. Kip&Co cushions. Paloma coffee table from Sarah Ellison. Vintage Scandinavian chairs from Grandfather’s Axe. Vintage rug from Morocco. Vase handmade by Alex’s sister, who also runs fashion and jewellery label Aestas. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The family. Quincy wears a Kip&Co dress. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jardan Sunny couch. Kip&Co cushions. Paloma coffee table from Sarah Ellison. Vintage Scandinavian chairs from Grandfather’s Axe. Vintage rug from Morocco. Vase handmade by Alex’s sister, who owns fashion and jewellery label Aestas. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Detail of artisan handmade table from India and Kip&Co pea cushions. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Outdoor lights from Family Love Tree. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Commissioned artwork by Esther Olsson, framed by United Measures. Artisan table handmade in India. Indonesian stools from Rustique in Chelsea with pea cushions from Kip&Co. Custom-made chairs from Bali, vintage vase. Lights above bench are from Weylandts (now closed). Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Vases were collected from our travels around Australia and gifts from friends,’ says Alex. Pendant lights from Weylandts (now closed). Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Rug by Felt Indie in Byron Bay. Vintage papier mache vase from Jodhpur. Plant from Into the Wild. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Artwork by Peter McConchie. Bedside table from Sarah Ellison. Vintage lamp. All bedding Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Curved tri-colour concrete bench from Rutso Concrete. The colours represent the local landscape, the beach, the earth and the sky. Oyster shell lights in the hallway from Storie in Melbourne. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vase found in Brooklyn. Jewellery by Aestas. Shells from local markets. Hand towel Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jewellery by Aestas. Shells from local markets. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Picture window looking west so you can see the sunset from the bath at the end of a long day. Best bath ever!’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Bunks, ladder, rails and lights built into the structure of the house for the most solid kiddie beds you are ever likely to come across!’ Pendant light from Cove Island Essentials in Bali.  Rocking horse was a gift by Alex’s business partner, Hayley, from a local Mornington Peninsula vintage store. All bedding and cushions Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Artwork by Heath Newman. Vintage papier mache vase from Jodhpur. All bedding and cushions Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Master bedroom en-suite. Kip&Co hand towel. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

One of a kind light by Kaye Clancy! Master bedroom features super textural seagrass wallpaper. Chairs custom-made made in Bali. All bedding by Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Master bedroom features super textural seagrass wallpaper. Chairs custom-made in Bali. All bedding by Kip&Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘The entrance features local and recycled and materials, including reclaimed pillars and beams, local Red Hill stone, hardy native plants for the gardens and excess concrete from the kitchen bench for the steppers.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A grass mat woven from Indigenous practices traditional to Elcho Island in Arnhem land (where Alex’s sister lived for five years!) hangs in the hallway. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Custom planter boxes created using offcuts from the timer cladding sit on the northern side of the house with succulents grown from cuttings sourced from Alex’s garden in St Kilda. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Already the favourite place to gather for a snack, spritz and yarn is around the oversize table on the patio.  Quincy enjoys drawing on the bricks in chalk with the adults natter away.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Custom planter boxes created using offcuts from the timer cladding sit on the northern side of the house with succulents grown from cuttings sourced from Alex’s garden in St Kilda. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Row upon row of Pinot Gris vines! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

And some more… Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘The patio features recycled materials, including reclaimed posts and frame, salvaged cream bricks as paving, and excess concrete from the kitchen bench for the outdoor table.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 4th March 2020

‘I love that my parents chose this block of land together 30-plus years ago… and now Bobby and I are living out our dream of raising our little rugrats on the same very spot’ – Alex McCabe.

Alex McCabe grew up just five minutes from where her newly built home in Merricks North is located. The vineyard the house is situated on was owned by her parents for more than 30 years until they recently decided to sell, and much to Alex’s surprise, she decided to buy it from them! ‘When I was younger I couldn’t wait to move away from the sleepy Mornington Peninsula (a lot sleepier back then!) and now I can’t wait to move back,’ she says ‘Times have changed!’

Apart from vines covering two thirds of the block, there was only half a shed on the site, so Alex and her husband Bobby set out to build a weekender from scratch. The couple worked with McManus Lew on the design (the same architect who designed their St Kilda house – check out our feature on that here!) and CVS Construction on the build.

As the co-founder and creative director of Kip&Co, Alex is known for her love of colour, but this house is all about texture. ‘That is the overall, unifying theme and the driving force behind the design,’ she says. Setting the tone for this look is the corten steel front door framed with century-old, recycled timber beams from Gippsland. The interior walls throughout feature various textures including stucco, render and seagrass wallpaper. ‘I think all that texture makes it feel really warm and welcoming and calm,’ says Alex.

Windows have been installed at strategic points in order to frame aspects of the land. Alex loves watching the sunrise from her bed, and the sunset from the living room picture window. ‘Oh and there’s a window for you to watch the sunset from the bath too,’ she says. ‘Did I mention I am into windows?! Ha!’

It wouldn’t be an Alex home without some colour, but the shades used here have been strategically selected to reflect the surrounding landscape. ‘The red bathroom is inspired by the red soil, and the amazing tricoloured island bench fits with the colours of the nearby beaches’ she says. Homewares from the new Kip&Co Heartland collection adds another layer of colour throughout!

Despite not originally intending to return to the Peninsula, after pouring so much love into this weekender, Alex and her family now plans to live here full time. ‘I love that we get to live among the beautiful vines, the red clay and undulating land of this unique part of the world, where wineries and beaches are equally accessible (and equally important!)’ Alex says. ‘I love that my parents chose this block of land together 30-plus years ago to start their dream of a vineyard, and now Bobby and I are living out our dream of raising our little rugrats on the same very spot.’

Kip&Co just released their latest homewares and apparel collections this week! Heartland is available from kipandco.com.au. now. So much good stuff. 

Also…our supremely talented art director Annie Portelli made this sweet little 1-minute video snapshot below of Alex and Bobby’s home – check it out below!

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.