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

An Owner-Built, Architect-Designed Renovation Of A Charming 1920s Melbourne Home

Homes

Lauren Egan and Glenn Hester were unsuccessful bidders at numerous auctions before coming across this 1920s house in Preston. The property needed urgent work both indoors and out, but Lauren instinctually knew they’d found the one!

Nine years later, the interior decorator and commercial photographer have welcomed two children into the world (Ailbe, 7, and Rennie, 4) and completed two renovations – an early DIY update, and later, an architect designed extension.

It’s been a long process, but the outcome has been worth every moment!

27th January, 2021

The dining room flows through to lounge through a timber-lined doorframe. Artwork above table by Guy Maestri which Lauren bought Glenn for his 40th, Potence Pivotante wall lamp. Pot by Anchor Ceramics. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs sourced from Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Hay shelving available through Cult Design. Objecto Eclipse lamp from Hub Furniture. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Being Grown Ups in the Grown Up Room!’ laughs Lauren. Glenn sits on Semana chair sourced from @cassermaison. Paper lantern by Hay. Shelving by Zuster. Curtains from Soft Studio, Sculpture on coffee table by Edit E. ‘Tipographico’ rug from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Though the tumbled travertine dining table is highly impractical for a young family (crumb vortex) it’s perfect in every other way, hosting all our friends and family,’ says Lauren. Artwork above table by Guy MaestriPotence Pivotante wall lamp. Pot by Anchor Ceramics. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs sourced from Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Rounded tiles on the splashback by Anchor Ceramics. Cabinetry in Laminex Absolute Matte Black. Benchtops from Concrete Collective. Kitchen lighting from local manufacturer ELS. Burger the cat. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

“Smoked Oak” floors by Big River Timber. Woody shelves from Hay. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs restored by Camberwell Cane. Eero Aarnio for Artek stools from @cassermaison restored by Daniel Love. Kitchen benches made by Concrete Collective. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Project 12 Architecture are friends of Lauren and Glenn’s and knew the couple’s love for entertaining, so they designed them the perfect kitchen for just that! Pots by Anchor Ceramics. Noda Horo kettle from CIBI. Stove and kitchen appliances from Ilve. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The best spot in the morning as the sun streams in the large window to the east. Benchtops from Concrete Collective. Cabinetry in Laminex Absolute Matte Black. Ceramics from Wingnut & Co, Mud Australia, CIBI and travel finds. Lemnos Riki wall clock from CIBI. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The “Grown Up Room” gets beautiful light in the afternoon. Paper lantern from Hay and Flos Parentesi lamp in corner. All furniture is vintage, including Cassina Maralunga couch, 1970s IKEA canvas, douglas fir chairs and chrome Alanda style coffee table. Rug from Halcyon Lake. Artwork by Rennie Ellis (who Lauren and Glenn love so much they named their child after him!). Linen curtains from Soft Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Tipographico’ rug from Halcyon Lake. Hearth made by Concrete Collective, vintage Maralunga couch sourced from Leonard Joel, vintage IKEA canvas armchairs. Small Viennese vase from Leonard Joel, sculpture from Edit E. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The transition between the original house and the renovation is demarcated with colour. Lush emerald green carpet in stairwell from Halcyon Lake. Lamp fashioned by Glenn from some old photography lighting kit. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A corner of the back lounge room. Jardan couch and coffee table. Cane 9602 lamp by Gubi from In Good Company. Artwork by Michael Muir (‘purchased as a housewarming gift to ourselves, which in hindsight we definitely couldn’t afford, but you only live once!’ says Lauren). Sculpture on coffee table by Edit E. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Fossil stone plinth sourced from @cassermaison. Carpet from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage B9 Thonet chair restored by Camberwell Cane. Dove Grey linen by In Bed. Curtains by Soft Studio. Carpet from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bespoke joinery to store all Lauren’s bits and bobs designed by Project 12 Architecture, finished with seat cushion in Raf Simon x Kvadrat Ria. Vase by Wingnut & Co. Dishes by Dinosaur Designs and Jessilla Rogers. Gatto Piccolo lamp by Flos. Mirror by Hay via Cult Design. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Curtains by Soft Studio. Vase by Wingnut & Co. Various ‘magpie’ finds from markets and antique dealers. ‘Rubn’ wall lights from Fred International. Linen from In Bed. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The colours in the north-facing main bedroom shift from dark grey to deep green depending on the light. Vases by Wingnut & Co. and Rara Studio. ‘Rubn’ wall lights from Fred International. Linen from In Bed. Kooky beside tables sourced from @cassermaison. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Study nook (‘which was invaluable in 2020 for all our at-home learning and artwork sessions,’ says Lauren). Original Featherston Scape chair found in hard rubbish in ruins and restored by upholsterer Fox Lancaster. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Rennie’s bedroom. Incy bed. Bedside by Tide Design. Oversized shuttlecock from @cassermaison. Abandoned and restored Danish Deluxe chair. Berber carpet from Halcyon Lake. Curtains by Soft Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lightening Bolt mirror by Bride & Wolfe. Danish Deluxe chair salvaged from Lauren’s aunt’s verandah and brought back to life with a LOT of coats of oil. Bed found on Facebook Marketplace and powdercoated. Lamp from Retro Print Revival. Bedspread from IKEA and tie dyed by Lauren and Ailbe as a Covid activity. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘The ambling path to the front door was one of the first charming aspects that drew us to this property on first inspection,’ says Laren. ‘The garden has been a bit of a sanity saver throughout lockdown.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The ‘jewel in the crown’ according to Lauren. ‘We considered a basic, smaller tile on the wall, but decided to go baller and use the Fibonacci Abstrakt floor to ceiling.’ Print by Bobby Clark in reflection. Tapware by Kohler. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 27th January 2021

‘We’re at ease with filling our home over time… I have a decent list of things I’d love to own, but there’ll be the right time and place to bring them into the fold.’ – Lauren Egan

Since the day they got the keys in 2012, interior decorator Lauren Egan and commercial photographer Glenn Hester have been slowly updating their 1920s Preston home (nine kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD). 

‘We came in and ripped up the mouldy carpet, and then spent every spare moment for the next six months getting the house liveable,’ says Lauren.

The house required re-stumping, and the internal walls all needed replacing, but the couple enjoyed every moment. 

After an initial renovation in 2012, Lauren and Glenn engaged Project 12 Architecture in 2018 to design an extension, adding more living space, another bedroom and bathroom. Originally the couple were seeking a major overhaul, but after undertaking a career change and opening co-working and photography studio Council Street in Clifton Hill, they settled on a more modest design. Some compromises had to be made, but there was no budging on the terrazzo en suite, Anchor Ceramics kitchen tiles, and solid Concrete Collective bench tops! 

‘We revised our brief and Aimee and Louis [from Project 12] came back to us with this creative use of space that we could execute ourselves as owner-builders, and get our hands dirty where possible,’ Lauren says. ‘Their design has transformed our house from quaint to showstopper (we often have people drive by for a closer look!).’

Having completed an interior decoration course in 2018, Lauren undertook the interior design herself. One of her most inspired ideas was introducing a varied colour palette, eliminating all internal white walls in the process. 

‘There are eight paint colours we used throughout the house, some of them deep and bright, and some of them subtle and neutral,’ she says. ‘Because of the abundance of natural light, we used a muddy grey on the main living spaces in the old house, which pairs beautifully with the smoked oak floors, then we flipped this in the new lounge where the walls are tan and the floors concrete.’

Other colours reflect various natural elements outside the home, such as subtle dirty purples that reference established jacarandas in the front and back yards, and deep greens reflective of the property’s lush garden by Mud Office.

To keep costs down and add character, Lauren has sourced second hand furniture as much as possible, and is no rush to ‘finish’ the space. 

‘We’re at ease with filling our home overtime,’ she says. ‘I have a decent list of things I’d love to own, but there’ll be the right time and place to bring them into the fold.’

It’s an ongoing process, but Lauren hopes thoughtful changes they’ve made will see the house through another century. 

‘We’re hopeful that we’ve given this house a new lease on life, and it will last another 100 years!’ she says.

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? We got you!

Similar Stories

Homes

A Fashion Designer’s Crisp And Fresh California Bungalow

The stylish Brunswick Californian bungalow of Andy Paltos, co-founder and designer of Rolla’s Jeans, and Kasia Zachwieja.

Homes

A Pascoe Vale South Home With Palm Springs Flair

The delightful family home of Jake Cassar and Naomi Jankowski in Pascoe Vale South, Melbourne counts Palm Springs and David Hockey as design...

Homes

An Artist's Brilliantly Colourful Art-Filled Home!

Artist Katie Eraser and her partner Jay Longworth have covered almost every wall in their beautiful Brunswick East period home with colourfu...

This Week

Shopping

Sarah Ellison + Pantone Team Up To Create The 70s-Inspired Sofa Of Our Dreams

Meet Sarah Ellison's luxurious retro-inspired sofa, FLOAT, wrapped in its custom Pantone colour; a rich coffee brown called Piccolo!
Christina Karras

News

Visit Local Artist Kate Florence's Colourful New Exhibition

See (and shop!) Kate’s abstract paintings and sculptures created in collaboration with Neighbourhood Studio in Melbourne this week.
Christina Karras

News

Typo's New Homewares Range Has Everything You Need For A 'Big Night In'

The local brand known for their playful stationary and homewares has released their latest range of quirky bean bags, cushions and decor!
Sponsored

News

An Unmissable Pop-Up This Saturday Bringing Together Melbourne’s Best Creatives!

The exciting 005 Abode pop-up features stalls from makers like Lucy Tolan, Ella Reweti, Fisch and more in Alt-House’s Fitzroy warehous...
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Inside Look At Domain Park: Melbourne’s Revolutionary 1960s Apartment Building

Once the tallest residential building in Melbourne, Robin Boyd's Domain Park (1962) paved the way for a new era of apartment living.
2.25

Art

The NGA’s Cressida Campbell Exhibition Celebrates Her Glorious 40-Year Career

A studio visit with Cressida Campbell, ahead of her exciting survey exhibition at the National Gallery Of Australia.

News

Step Inside Some Of Tasmania’s Most Unique Homes At Open House Hobart

Your chance to visit Hobart’s best homes and buildings on November 12 – 13!
Sponsored

Art

This Vibrant Exhibition Brings Together Traditional Sculpture + Contemporary Art For A Story On Legacy

Brunswick Street Gallery presents 'Aak Puul: Art From The Wik & Kugu Region'; a bold showcase of the strength of Wik Kugu culture. 

Architecture

The New Australian Housing Company Creating Customisable Small Homes

Dimensions X aims to be the ‘Tesla of housing’, creating energy-efficient, prefabricated homes that can be assembled in just six weeks.

Interiors

A Vintage Furniture Collector’s Humble Family Home, Filled With Iconic Pieces

IT engineer Trung Tu's Melbourne home hides an enviable collection of designer furniture and art from different eras!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Haunting, Shadow-Inspired Paintings Of Melbourne Artist Ella Dunn

How the imaginative banter of two children on a set of swings inspired the artist's latest body of work.

Architecture

A Treehouse Companion For An Architecturally-Significant Noosa Home

An innovative 1983 Gabriel Poole house on the same site inspired this new home by Bark Architects embracing the bushy Noosa landscape.

Shopping

Meet The Business Creating Fully Customisable Furniture Right Here In Melbourne

We visited Zenn Design at their brand-new Melbourne showroom to learn about their bespoke, luxury furniture offerings!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Contemporary New Home Grounded In An Earthy, Natural Palette

Inspired by his client's extensive art collection, interior designer Brahman Perera creates a stunning, timeless home.

Homes

An Elegant Art Deco Apartment Rental With Water Views

Jill McCormick's fashionable home for one, in Sydney's dreamy Elizabeth Bay.

Similar Stories

Homes

A Fashion Designer’s Crisp And Fresh California Bungalow

The Brunswick Californian bungalow of Andy Paltos, co-founder and designer of Rolla’s Jeans, and Kasia Zachwieja.

Homes

A Pascoe Vale South Home With Palm Springs Flair

The delightful family home of Jake Cassar and Naomi Jankowski in Pascoe Vale South.

Homes

An Artist's Brilliantly Colourful Art-Filled Home!

Artist Katie Eraser and her partner Jay Longworth have covered almost every wall in their beautiful Brunswick East period home with colourfu...

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