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A Compact Terrace, Custom-Made For Two

Interiors

Melrose Terrace is a renovation project that sees a small, nondescript North Melbourne house transformed into a bespoke, carefully crafted home. 

Designed for retired downsizers who had recently moved from the Mornington Peninsula to the city, the clients were prepared to compromise on space, but not function. 

Dan Gayfer Design’s response implements the same amenity one would expect in a large home, activating every square millimetre of this property’s compact footprint.

22nd June, 2020

Melrose Terrace is a North Melbourne renovation with an incredible suite of built-in furniture. Photo – Dean Bradley

A standout furniture piece is the living room lounge – a custom-built element that simultaneously integrates shelving, a side table, daybed and casement windows. Photo – Dean Bradley

A small mosaic tile on the rear facade contrasts with the existing weatherboards above. Photo – Dean Bradley

 Ochre coloured carpet features in the living area. Photo – Dean Bradley

When the rear windows are open, the lounge becomes immersed in the garden. Photo – Dean Bradley

The front door opens to the new dining area, followed by the kitchen. Photo – Dean Bradley

Built-in seating in the dining area. Photo – Dean Bradley

A durable, semi-glazed terracotta tile was selected to accommodate traffic through the front door. Photo – Dean Bradley

The interiors feature a unique application of timber, brass and porcelain panelling. All cabinetry and custom furniture is by KohdePhoto – Dean Bradley

The mint tile in the powder room is one of the design details Dan Gayfer describes as ‘exclamation marks!’ Photo – Dean Bradley

The largest bedroom opens to an incredible street-facing rooftop terrace. Photo – Dean Bradley

This space has been specifically designed for small social gatherings, with a steel pergola clad in timber battens creating beautifully dappled light. Custom upholstery is by Inform Upholstery + Design. Photo – Dean Bradley

Amelia Barnes
Monday 22nd June 2020

‘Creating spaces and elements larger than they needed to be was simply not an option.’ – Dan Gayfer

Behind the brick facade of this single-fronted North Melbourne is a surprising, clever and fresh renovation by Dan Gayfer Design

Prior to this makeover, this house was uninspiring and lifeless, with no decorative features to speak of. The clients (a downsizing couple) were seeking a complete overhaul of the interiors, as well as a comprehensive reworking of the entire house’s function. ‘Having relocated from their generous family home down on the Mornington Peninsula, the couple were prepared to compromise on space but not function,’ explains Dan. ‘This small statured home was to be as comfortable and accommodating as their previous.’ 

An extensive concept design process was firstly undertaken to understand how the owners would use every single inch of the home. ‘Creating spaces and elements larger than they needed to be was simply not an option,’ says Dan. Almost the entire ground floor was stripped away and redesigned as a result, with only the brick walls and location of the staircase remaining. 

Built-in furniture has been inserted at every opportunity to maximise space throughout. ‘The ability to design and somewhat slot the furniture in like a piece of puzzle enabled us to eliminate dead or wasted areas that compromised function, flow and interaction,’ explains Dan. A standout piece is the living room lounge – a custom-built element that simultaneously integrates shelving, a side table, daybed and casement windows. Dan says this piece was inspired by 1960s Australian architecture that often features built-in furniture, as well as the intensely workshopped creative solutions of contemporary Japanese architecture. 

The bedrooms are contained to the upper level of the home, with the largest leading to a street-facing rooftop terrace. This space has been designed for small social gatherings, with a steel pergola clad in timber battens creating beautifully dappled light. Custom furniture is again utilised in the form of an outdoor daybed that intertwines with the pergola and garden planters.

Despite its dedication to function, this home also contains flourishes of fun and frivolity throughout described by Dan as ‘exclamation marks.’ He says, ‘The aesthetic is elegant and carefully varied, albeit with a few strategically placed exclamation marks such as the mint tile in the powder room, burnt red carpet in the living room and the mosaic tile on the rear facade.’ 

With its attention to detail, high level of function, clever use of space and distinctive interior aesthetic, this house exceeds all expectations. 

See more Dan Gayfer Design projects here.

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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.