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A Rock Star + Fashion Designer’s Mini Californian Ranch... In Suburban Melbourne!

Homes

March 2020 turned out very differently to what designer Andria Kiefer (of Limb The Label and Honeymoon Studios) and musician Cook Craig (of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, The Murlocs, and Pipe-eye) had originally planned. 

When the pandemic forced the cancellation of their Palm Springs wedding, the couple decided to marry the day before Melbourne’s first lockdown commenced, then hopefully buy a house!

They’d been searching for a property some time, but it wasn’t until their (local) honeymoon that the perfect place came up for sale in Reservoir. They drove back three hours just for the inspection, and the rest is history!

With limited tradespeople allowed to enter the house during lockdown, Andria and Cook completely transformed their new home through DIY cosmetic updates alone. They’ve kept the soul of the ‘70s building with an Italian flair firmly intact, but with an added mid-century/Americana edge. Andria describes it as their own version of a ‘Californian ranch’ – we’re here for it!

17th March, 2021

The sunroom. ‘So handy during the cooler months!’  Andria says. ‘The white walls used to be a sandy coloured brick alongside a very peachy beige trim on the floors and walls. We upgraded the colours…alongside a nondescript white on the walls. We were gifted some amazing awnings from Cookie’s mum, which look fantastic alongside the greenery. as well the trim paint.’  Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

 

‘Before we started the renovation there was a lot of funny looking, but extremely gaudy, light fittings, which we replaced with much simpler mid-century ones. The arches complemented the vibe that we went for perfectly. We also ripped up the lime green carpet (which was throughout the whole house including the bathrooms!), and sanded back the pine floorboards, which were given a clear lacquer with Bona Traffic HD for a Scandinavian feel. We got all our light fittings from Fat Shack Vintage, the dining table was gifted to us by the old owners of the house, and the chairs are a beautiful secondhand find by Cookie’s mum.’ Andria says. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

The homeowners: Andria Kiefer, owner and designer of Limb The Label and Honeymoon Studios, and Cook Craig, musician from Pipe-eye, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and The Murlocs, with their dog Homer and cat Martina. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files 

‘We rendered the fireplace with a rough finish to give it a mud brick feel, then topped it off with an earthy brown. We have always been drawn towards anything with a south-western American aesthetic and over the years we have collected knick knacks from all over,’ says Andria. Plinth next to the fireplace by Neighbourhood Studio. Vase on top of plinth made by Cookie at school. All furniture was sourced from either Facebook Marketplace or secondhand stores. The hand painted draft plan of a social club in Barcelona was sourced in a flea market in Spain. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

‘The kitchen we pretty much left as is, simply because of a tight budget, as well as it being so unique and almost the soul of the house. Some minor changes we made were to take some of the overhead cupboard doors off and paint the inside shelves to give a more open feel,’ Andria says. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

The perfect cookbook nook! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

A new paint job pairs well with the original ’70s tiled splashback. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

‘These wall shelves were actually built where an old Vulcan gas heater was. When we took the heater out, we literally just boxed in the hole where it had been, and installed Tasmanian oak shelving from Porta. It’s a great spot to display trinkets and artefacts we find around the place.’ Andria says. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Hanging on the wall by Mesa Studios (an old project of Andria and Cooks, now sadly finished) next to a limited run King Gizzard poster. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Plants from Plantsmith. Entertainment unit sourced from @retro.refinishes.melbourne. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

During lockdown, I was able to do a lot of work from home for pattern drafting and designing for my label Limb, as well as my custom bridal wear/occasional wear label Honeymoon Studios. My mannequin is wearing one of the first bridal dresses I made since creating Honeymoon Studios,’ says Andria. Wall shelf from Ikea. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

‘We went for some really dark earthy tones here. We actually painted the entrance way three times before finding the right colour,’ says Andria. ‘It was nice to break away from the idea that everything these days needs to be super bright and spacious; we wanted the entranceway to feel like you were walking into a cosy log cabin, not a museum.’ Beyond the archway is Andria’s studio, with green Chub stool from Curated Spaces. ‘When we ripped up the carpet in the studio, we found it was concrete, so we decided to paint it.’ Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Wall hanging from Trinket Solo. Bed linen from The Sheet Society. Ceramic vase bought at Savers. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

The archway through to the couple’s walk-in robes and en suite. ‘The original tiles inside the shower were such a cool green, so we just went with their original vibe in all shades around them,’ Andria says. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

This bathroom used to have carpet and came with the sweetest, frilliest curtains over the archway into the bathtub! Hanging fruit was sourced from Mexico. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Homer in his favourite sunny spot! The couple ripped up mouldy old brick pavers outside and replaced everything with crushed granite. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Table and bench seat in the covered outdoor area made by Cookie. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 17th March 2021

‘Literally everything we did was cosmetic, which I think is quite impressive as it really was a huge transformation, and on such a small budget too.’ – Andria Kiefer

 

Andria Kiefer, owner and designer of Limb The Label and Honeymoon Studios, and her husband Cook Craig, musician and guitarist for King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and The Murlocs, bought their first home in Reservoir last year. 

The couple originally planned on slowly renovating the 1970s property, but when Melbourne entered lockdown, they got stuck in right away. There was only one problem – since tradespeople were strictly limited due to lockdown restrictions, most works had to be completed without professional help.

‘We got manically involved and couldn’t stop. It was a blessing really, as it kept us from going insane during lockdown,’ Andria says.

The house had good bones, having been lovingly looked after by the previous owner who built the home. ‘As such, they knew every nook and cranny of the entire place,’ Andria says.

Only cosmetic renovations were required to create more of a ‘Californian mid-century’ feel. ‘The style when we bought it was very ‘70s Italian kind of, as is often the style in the Reservoir area due to the huge postwar immigrant presence in the neighbourhood,’  Andria says. ‘The transformation from this style to the mid-century American/Californian vibe we went for was perfect.’

To achieve this, Andria and Cook spent six months demolishing, sanding, lacquering, stripping, painting, and rendering the entire place. Key tasks included the removal of jacquard wallpaper (‘very sticky stuff’ Andria says), replacing all the light fixtures, and painting ‘pretty much every surface.’ ‘Literally everything we did was cosmetic, which I think is quite impressive, as it really was a huge transformation, and on such a small budget too,’ Andria says.

A lot of work was also done to the garden, which the couple ripped up by hand, and replaced with a mixture of natives, succulents and some olive trees. 

The end result is still very much in keeping with the original home, but with the added flair and contemporary style that comes naturally to these two talented creatives! 

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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