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A ‘60s Home Makeover For A Family + Their Cats!

Interiors

Providing for the client’s two cats was just as important as the human family members in this home renovation – hence the project’s name, Meow House!

Taking into account these feline needs, along with the owner’s work schedule, Maike Design reimagined the existing 1960s Melbourne house, without expanding its original footprint. 

What may have been demolished by some is now a generous home perfectly tailored to its occupants, proving the vast potential of these solid brick homes. 

23rd August, 2021

Meow House is a reworked 1960s Melbourne home for a family and their cats. Kitchen joinery in Dulux Palace Stone. Steel windows in COLORBOND® Windspray. Ceramic vessel on table – Kirsten Perry from Modern Times. Ceramic vessels on shelf – Oh Hey Grace from Modern Times. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

The reimagined home remains in the original house’s footprint. Kitchen joinery in Dulux Palace Stone. Ceramic vessels on shelf – Oh Hey Grace from Modern Times. Walls in Dulux Lexicon Quarter. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Without demolishing or extending the building, Maike Design completely altered the sense of what this home is, and how it feels to occupy. Artwork – Benjamin Ewing from House Of Orange. Walls in Dulux Lexicon Quarter. Ceramic vessel on table – Kirsten Perry from Modern Times. Ceramic vessels on shelf – Oh Hey Grace from Modern Times. Steel windows in COLORBOND® Windspray. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Inspiration for the aesthetics was drawn from the original house, leading to the incorporation of terrazzo, brass and terracotta. Kitchen joinery in Dulux Palace Stone. Ceramic vessel on table – Kirsten Perry from Modern Times. Walls in Dulux Lexicon Quarter. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

The house contains several ‘hidey-holes’ for two much-loved indoor cats! Among them is the highlight window ledge to sun themselves and watch the yard, accessed through a cupboard hidden in the kitchen joinery.  Artwork – Benjamin Ewing from House Of Orange. Kitchen joinery in Dulux Palace Stone. Steel windows in COLORBOND® Windspray. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

In reconfiguring the existing ‘warren’ of small rooms, service areas were relocated from the back of the house to the south of the building, providing clear access to the backyard.  Artwork – Benjamin Ewing from House Of Orange. Dulux Lexicon Quarter paint. Steel windows in COLORBOND® Windspray. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

The objective was not to perfect the imperfect old house, but to take a playful approach to the era of the existing house and its current occupants. Dulux Lexicon Quarter paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Maike accentuated the original house’s charm to create a distinctive, warm family home. Ceramic vessels on shelf – Oh Hey Grace from Modern Times. Dulux Lexicon Quarter paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Some pastel paint colours in minty green, peach and light blue are a softer reflection of 1960s coloured interiors. Shower frame in COLORBOND® Windspray. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

What may have been demolished by some is now a generous home perfectly tailored to its occupants. Artwork – Jennifer Tarry-Smith from Modern Times. Side table – Made By Morgen. Vintage lamp – Angelucci. Dulux Lexicon Quarter paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Dulux Lexicon Quarter paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

By choosing not to extend the home, the owners have also retained the generous outdoor space on their block (over 350 square metres). Steel windows in COLORBOND® Windspray. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Beck Simon

Amelia Barnes
Monday 23rd August 2021

‘Their two cats were to be seamlessly incorporated into the design without it looking like a “cat house”.’  – Mairead Murphy

The owners of this Fairfield (six kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD) house loved its original 1960s charm, but the floor plan wasn’t conducive to their lifestyle. Turning to Maike Design, they requested a more open and light floor plan that allowed for family gatherings, ensured shift work hours weren’t disrupted, and contained lots of ‘hidey holes’ for two much-loved indoor cats!

Without demolishing or extending the building, Maike Design completely altered the sense of what this home is, and how it feels to occupy. 

‘I like that the client recognised that they didn’t need a bigger house, they just needed the space to be better used,’ says Mairead Murphy, director at Maike Design.

‘Often these less than charming homes are demolished and replaced, leaving a gap in the historical landscape of our suburbs. By finding positive features in the existing house, we were able to integrate it into a design that was both respectful to its context and uniquely updated for our client.’

In reconfiguring the existing ‘warren’ of small rooms, service areas were relocated from the back of the house to the south of the building, providing clear access to the backyard. 

Inspiration for the aesthetics was drawn from the original house, leading to the incorporation of terrazzo, brass, terracotta, and pastels including a minty green, peach and light blue.

Catering to the owner’s two cats was also an integral part of this project. As Mairead explains, ‘Their two cats were to be seamlessly incorporated into the design without it looking like a “cat house”.’ 

Maike and the client worked together to carefully determine the cats’ functional requirements (such as containment when the back of the house was open, litter boxes, and outdoor access), while also ensuring there were fun spots for them to hide and play. Among them is the highlight window ledge to sun themselves and watch the yard, accessed through a cupboard hidden in the kitchen joinery. 

From the street the updated home appears only as a slightly tidier version of the original, while the interiors are a surprising delight tailor-made to the family owners.  By choosing not to extend the home, the owners have also retained the generous outdoor space on their block (over 350 square metres).

‘We have taken an old structure that, with different clients, may have been demolished, and turned it into a functional and beautiful family home,’ says Mairead. ‘I really admire their dedication to their old house and am so pleased with what we were able to create for them.’

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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