Some people know exactly what they’re after when looking to buy a home. For Phoebe Rolleston, it’s all about the feeling.
When the artist and her husband, finance professional George Rolleston, first stepped into this Glen Iris home in 2014, she instantly knew this was the one. ‘It was one of the first houses we looked at, and the first one we bid on,’ she says. ‘We are decisive people. We loved the feel of the house immediately.’ Once the couple moved in, everything fell into place. ‘It was quickly filled with all the things we love, including our first baby Humphry, who took his first steps here the week we moved in,’ Phoebe says.
One element that stands out about this home is its charmingly eclectic design influences. Believed to be built in 1980 (and renovated multiple times since) the house contains Japanese inspired elements, alongside quirky ‘80s proportions, and a facade that resembles a Scandinavian lodge. ‘It’s a real mixed bag, and we love that about,’ says Phoebe.
The couple redid the bathrooms not long after moving in, but deliberately waited several years before undergoing major renovations. ‘We waited to renovate for five years, to ensure we were really certain about what we wanted to change and achieve, and to make sure it still felt like home at the end of all the work,’ says Phoebe.
Architect Lucy Bowen was engaged to design the renovation, including the extension containing the rumpus room and office. ‘The existing living, dining and kitchen area were also redesigned with a new life and style,’ says Phoebe. New materials and textures were introduced to create a relaxed environment suitable for the young family, and a pool was also added in the backyard.
Lucy’s design plays on the home’s existing features, adding further character in the form of raised skirting, indented shelving, and retaining plenty of wall space for art. Many paintings are by Phoebe herself, and whenever a piece is sold, she creates a new one to hang in its place! ‘It wasn’t a conscious thing, but we ended up with a house that has almost a gallery feel about it,’ she says.
Giving the home its Santorini-esque aesthetic is the use of natural textures such as rattan, concrete, travertine, and of course, the stark white walls with a pale green trim on the doors and rear exterior. Nearly all the paint colours were personally mixed by Phoebe, who did all the interior decorating, and spent plenty of time ensuring the pale green in particular was perfect! ‘I was very careful not to have a green that was too minty or too yellow, so there were many tests done,’ she says. ‘The builders thought we were mad I think!’
Renovations of this home are now complete, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed. Standing in the house today, Phoebe says the home still emits that same distinct feeling she experienced on the very first inspection. ‘I love houses that have a good energy – where you can relax and feel at home, rather than something too formal or precious,’ she says. ‘We are so happy we haven’t lost that feeling that we got the first time we came here.’