On The Market

A Former Shopfront Turned Architecturally-Designed Home In Coburg Hits The Market

Visitors to this converted shopfront in Coburg are often surprised to discover the architecturally-designed home within.

This is largely thanks to the home’s former owners, and architects, Polly Bastow and Tony Stuart of FORM Architecture. But current owners Sarah and Dean Austin have also contributed their fair share of upgrades to the home too; their efforts have seen the facade restored, the garden transformed and a sun-filled sitting room added. 

After seven happy years of living in the converted Coburg shopfront, Sarah and Dean have decided to pass their unique home on to someone new, and pursue their next project. Take a look!

Bea Taylor
Supported by Nelson Alexander

The original shopfront facade has been given an elegant upgrade! Photo – Joel Noon.



Connection to the outdoors has been thoughtfully considered. Photo – Joel Noon.

Open-plan dining and living extend out towards the backyard. Photo – Joel Noon.

Skylights above the kitchen flood the space with light. Photo – Joel Noon.

Sarah and Dean converted the front room into a second sitting room, adding in a custom steel bookshelf. Photo – Joel Noon.

The mezzanine-style home office. Photo – Joel Noon.

Photo – Joel Noon.

Photo – Joel Noon.

The backyard has been given an overhaul with native plants and covered decking. Photo – Joel Noon.

Bea Taylor
18th of August 2022

This converted Coburg shopfront had seen many iterations prior to its architecturally-designed conversion by former owners, architects Polly Bastow and Tony Stuart of Form Architecture. ‘We have gathered at one stage it was a Greek Cafe’, says current owner Sarah Austin. 

It’s been home to Sarah, Dean and their son Max for seven years; “From the outset we’ve appreciated the design and quality (thanks to the previous owners) of this home. Northern light streams through the house and during the day the living room is our favourite place to relax. At night, we often retreat to the sitting room to put on a record and unwind,’ she says. 

But, if not for Dean’s enterprising efforts, this dream home almost wasn’t to be; ‘Dean stumbled across it after many a late night scroll on realestate and Domain,’ explains Sarah. ‘He found it right at the bottom of his search, rang and left a message that night and then organised an inspection for the following day. As soon as we walked through the front door, we knew we had to have it!’ 

The unassuming nature of the shopfront is one of Dean and Sarah’s favourite parts of the home. Visitors to number 84a are often stunned when they walk through the door and see the architecturally-designed home unfold before them. 

Thanks to the work of previous owners Polly and Tony, Sarah and Dean didn’t have any urgent renovation needs on their hands, but they’ve slowly made changes over the years. 

Most notably, they’ve upgraded the shopfront by replacing the fabric-lined awning with timber boards. They’ve also converted the front room into a sitting room, added more cupboard space into the bedroom (‘for Dean’s large wardrobe!’) and installed ducted heating and cooling.

They tamed the ‘jungle’ that was the backyard, and planted a slew of native trees and plants; ‘which have attracted many species of birds to this little slice of green!’, says Dean. 

But, after many years of enjoying their unique shopfront home, Sarah and Dean have decided to put it on the market to pursue their next project; the renovation and restoration of an original untouched 1960s John Pizzey mudbrick home in Donvale! 

“We hope the next owners can enjoy it as much as we have!’ says Sarah. ‘Mornings sitting in the window soaking in the rays, the convenience of its location; proximity to restaurants, galleries, cafes, bike paths, the lake and the cinema (we attend most Tuesday nights!)… it really has been a perfect street to live in.” 

84a O’Hea Street, Coburg is listed with Damian Ponte and Jessica Pawsey at Nelson Alexander and will go to auction on Saturday 17 September at 10.30am.

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