Justine and Bob Murphy went looking for an already-renovated home in Northcote five years ago, but of course life had other ideas.
After missing out on one such property at auction, an agent introduced them to a near original Edwardian home just around the corner, and the rest is history. ‘We weren’t looking to renovate, but as soon as we walked through the front door, Bob was poking me in the back saying “This is our house.” It had a beautiful feel with all of the original features right there as we walked through the front door,’ says Justine.
The 100-year-old-house has had only two previous owners: the local builder who built the home in 1919 with his wife, and a young family who added an extension in the 1990s.
The Murphys spent 18 months planning an extensive renovation after moving in five years ago, until a holiday changed everything. Justine explains, ‘Just after we’d finished all of the plans, we went away in a motorhome for about 10 weeks – the five of us up the east coast all the way to Port Douglas. This completely changed our perspectives on the size of house we needed, and the amount of money we were prepared to spend on it, so we ended up doing this smaller, more sympathetic renovation, within the house’s existing framework.’
‘We worked with the existing house and ‘90s extension, and gave it new life with new kitchen and bathrooms by GIA Renovations’ Justine says. ‘We were lucky that the existing extension had really good bones, and had carried the high ceilings, cornices and skirting boards through from the original part of the house. It just needed some love.’
Over the years, the couple have also installed new window furnishings, clad the fireplace in white bricks, and added sliding doors to open the interiors to the backyard.
Being a stylist, Justine has introduced many interesting pieces to the space that she experiments with regularly. ‘I like to move things around and paint walls and furniture when it’s feeling a bit stale,’ she says. ‘Whenever my husband goes away for work, he knows he’ll come home to parts of the house having been completely rearranged or the walls repainted!’
Justine’s decorating aesthetic at home isn’t focused on trends or adhering to a particular style – just pieces and materials that bring joy. ‘I love to clash colours or use unexpected combinations to liven things up… That’s what decorating your own home is about though. It doesn’t have to be for everyone, it just has to make you feel good.’
Outside, the property’s garden has been fully landscaped by PJB Landscapes to feature a new deck and red brick paving using Northcote bricks. ‘It’s taken a whole lot of work to get it to where it is today, and we just love it,’ Justine says.
Visit this house today and you’ll likely find the children running around and making themselves at home, or adults convening around the kitchen bench. ‘It never feels crowded… It’s the perfect size for our family of five, with lots of different spaces to either come together (or get away from each other!)’ Justine says.
Justine describes the near-completed home as warm and welcoming. ‘Everything is very hardy, and it’s meant to be lived in and enjoyed,’ she says. ‘It’s an easy house to fill with people, and this is what we love about it.’