Josh and Jenna Densten give very good house. In fact, this dynamic couple (they really don’t need introducing but in case you’ve forgotten, Josh is a plumber by trade, whilst Jenna is an interior designer and founder of Design School) have renovated a total of 10 homes together, since the pair were just 18 years old. But this house, their brand new three bedroom home in North Melbourne, is one they plan on sticking with for a while. And we can certainly see why – it’s a total dream home!
In fact, this spectacular home is a lot more than meets the eye. Tucked inconspicuously behind the couple’s former home – a tiny single-fronted worker’s cottage on a narrow 5 metre wide site in North Melbourne – its scale and sweeping ceilings are totally unexpected. How do you hide a house this distinctive, behind an unassuming little weatherboard cottage? It feels like a magician’s trick!
The house is a completely new freestanding dwelling, separated from the original house by a courtyard. It was designed by Foomann Architects, with the main purpose of providing more space for Josh and Jenna’s young daughters, Fred and Story. The original weatherboard dwelling on the site, which sits at a mere 32 square metres, has since been converted into a self-contained guests’ quarters.
‘The rear dwelling was pulled toward the back of the block so it would become north-facing onto the courtyard,’ says Josh. ‘The home also has a small courtyard in the centre, and another at the rear, off the kid’s bedrooms, which has become a private, shaded play retreat.’ Not an inch of space on this inner city block is wasted!
Inside this new home, you’ll find the same calming interior aesthetic that Josh and Jenna have become known for. ‘We love soft lines, textures, timber, neutral colours, and creating a calming, cohesive atmosphere’ says Jenna – all of which is reflected in this serene, airy space.
‘We love how uncomplicated the home is. We love the combination of large windows, curves, internal courtyards and timber,’ Josh says. ‘It’s the perfect balance for us – straightforward design, but still enough space for us to showcase our collection of art, records and ceramics.’
Of particular importance to Jenna and Josh has been curating the home’s furniture and decor. ‘We had to be patient, and always on the lookout for the perfect ceramic or armchair. Lots of mood boarding!’ says Josh.
Personal touches such as Josh’s record player and vinyl collection instil a homey feeling, which is amplified at night when the children are in bed and the couple can listen around an open fire!
It’s been a labour of love, but now that the house is finally finished, Josh and Jenna have set their sights on a new (slightly more modest) project – renovating an old RV! They just can’t kick that renovating bug…
If you’re also a keen renovator, be sure to check out Jenna’s business, Design School, offering accredited interior decoration courses and online masterclasses, to learn how they do it!