Despite being built circa 1905, this former-corner store in Brunswick East isn’t heritage listed, so when it was advertised for sale three and a half years ago, its fate was uncertain. Seeing a few interested buyers ‘circling to demolish it and build townhouses’, its current owners Amanda Lynn (an interiors and building designer) and Leon Levine (a lawyer), felt compelled to save this ‘little piece of local history’, and transform it into a contemporary three-bedroom family home.
While significant updates have been made, Amanda and Leon went in with the mentality of ‘doing as much as necessary, but as little as possible’ in order to retain the quirkiness and character of the original structure. The run down property was gutted internally, but all external walls were retained, and a discrete upper level was added above the original garage that once held delivery trucks. Upstairs, the teak-clad main bedroom feels warm and cosy, and its adjoining balcony surrounded by greenery features a bar table for a perfect morning coffee spot.
‘We wanted to honour the local Brunswick brick makers who had supplied the original bricks, so we designed the upstairs balcony balustrading to have brick-shaped cutouts in the exact size of the bricks from the original building’, says Amanda.
Downstairs, natural light was brought into the railroad-style home by removing the roof from three middle rooms, and repurposing the space into a sun-drenched internal courtyard, which has lush, well-established greenery creeping along the walls. Glass stacking doors all the way down the long passage also helped to bring in light and air to the entire downstairs level. In addition to the two downstairs bedrooms, there’s also a garage space that has been converted to be used as home office or studio if desired.
When we asked what they’d miss the most about this special home, Amanda noted the many comfortable reading nooks and of course, the courtyard oasis. But most importantly, they’ll miss the neighbours and the community they’ve come to love.
If you’re on the hunt for a super unique inner-Melbourne home with suburban neighbourhood feels, this might just be the place!