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A Designer + Builder’s 1950s Warrandyte Home Renovation

Homes

Pierre Seale, builder and owner of Lifetime Building and Design, and Alexandra Apostolidis, designer and part of the creative team at Halcyon Nights, bought this 1950s Warrandyte home that had been vacant for several years. Despite its dilapidated condition, the property contained all the ‘non-negotiables’ the couple were seeking: a single storey, a corner block, established trees, and proximity to local amenities. 

Combining their skills as a builder and designer respectively, Pierre and Alexandra completed an extensive interior renovation of the property, whilst retaining its charming original mid-century features. Indoors and out are now seamlessly connected, championing the stunning, leafy surrounds.

30th March, 2022

Plyroom Flor Planter on left. ‘Red Tailed Black Cockatoo’ photograph by George Apostolidis. In Bed Linen Table Cloth in Marigold Stripe. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Pierre Seale, Alexandra Apostolidis, and Atlas Seale (2). Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Two new sets of bi-fold doors were installed around the outdoor area, located on the same level as the interior floor. ‘We did this by utilising existing fixed window and door locations that weren’t working to their potential,’ says Alexandra. ‘Having them open expands the living area immensely, and by sharing the same floor threshold, our floor plan doubles when opened.’ Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Our garden is an ongoing project where we love spending time planting, harvesting, entertaining, and playing. Resident native birds and wildlife are always around,’ says Alexandra. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

In Bed Linen Table Cloth in Marigold Stripe. Spotted gum Australian hardwood was chosen for the deck to blend into the surrounding gumtrees. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The new bi-fold doors capitalise on the outdoors, and create a beautiful flow of natural light and air throughout the home. InBed Linen Table Cloth in Marigold Stripe. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Plyroom Settanta Coffee Table. ACV Studio brass Edging Over Vase. Pampa Eclipse #1638 rug. Boucle cushion purchased from Douglas and Hope Warrandyte. Hay Rice Paper Shade. About Space Fade light. ‘Moon’ artwork by Betra Fraval. ‘Amethyst’ artwork by Liesel Pfeffer. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

 

Alexandra and Pierre removed a wall to open up the living and dining area. Snelling Turn Parallel Pendant 01. In Bed 100% Linen Placemat Set in Marigold Stripe. Red Tailed Black Cockatoo’ photograph by George Apostolidis. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The newly-renovated kitchen featuring American Oak timber cabinetry. Marble benchtop and splashback in Artedomus stone. Abi Interiors Elysian Commercial Pull Out Kitchen Mixer in Brushed Brass. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

 

Snelling Turn Parallel Pendant 01. Armadillo Kalahari rug.  Indian Himalayas ‘Juniper’ photograph by George ApostolidisIn Bed 100% Linen Placemat Set in Marigold Stripe. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Marble benchtop and splashback in Artedomus stone. Alessi toaster and kettle appliances. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

In Bed Heavy Linen Bed Cover in White. ‘Yes/Maybe’ artwork by Simon MacEwan. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

 

Atlas’ room. All window frames have been stripped and sanded back from deep red paint to their original American cedar timber. Halcyon Nights bed cover. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

 

We like to think there will always be something to do, maintain or improve on as we continue to live in this space building memories. The garden and home studio project is our focus this year,’ says Alexandra. InBed Linen Table Cloth in Marigold Stripe. Photography – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

 

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 30th March 2022

Alexandra Apostolids and Pierre Seale had several key features they desired in their first family home. This 1950s home in Warrandyte (a bush-like suburb 24 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD) was the only property that ticked every single box.

‘We have always loved mid-century interiors and architecture,’ says Alexandra. ‘This house especially presented so many of the key characteristics that we adore from this period… full-height cedar awning windows allowing natural light in abundance; an L-shaped floor plan wrapping around the home that embraces greenery; and of course the timber-lined board ceilings with exposed beams.’ 

Pierre is a builder, and through his business Lifetime Building and Design, he often collaborates on design projects with Alexandra, so it seemed inevitable that the pair would combine their skills to transform this property! Their focus was to enhance the home’s original beauty, before adding modern details. ‘Any opportunity there was to embrace natural materials and elements in their purest form, we took it,’ says Alexandra. 

The couple firstly pared back the interiors to remove pokey cupboards and low doors, in favour of higher openings and cleaner lines. ‘We expanded on space and flow by opening up the dining and living area, and removing a wall that separated these two spaces’ explains Alexandra. 

Two new sets of bi-fold doors were installed around the outdoor area, replacing existing fixed window and doors that weren’t working to their potential. ‘Having them open expands the living area immensely… our floor plan doubles when they bi-fold doors are opened’ says Alexandra. 

Elsewhere, original cedar windows were sanded back to show their natural vein, while Baltic timber floorboards were restored to their original unstained colour and matte finish.

With the bones of the home now restored, Alexandra and Pierre began to add modern comforts. ‘There was no insulation in any of the roof, walls, or floor, which we rectified, along with the addition of underfloor heating in all bathrooms, and zoned heating and cooling’ says Alexandra, adding ‘a remote opening skylight highlighting the canopies of our river gums, and helping to passively cool the home was a great decision’.

The couple ‘couldn’t fault’ the original kitchen layout, but the material palette called for a significant update. New American oak cabinetry was installed, complementing beautiful benchtops and a splashback in ‘golden spider’ marble. ‘It has the most beautiful peachy golden veins and body moving through it – a match made for the surrounding timber and warm light that glides through this family space,’ says Alexandra.

The completed home is breezy in summer and cosy in winter, surrounded by the family’s garden. ‘We live so happily here,’ Alexandra says. 

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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