Occupational therapist and maker Catherine Spillane and carpenter Drew Rampal made the sea change from an inner-city Melbourne rental to buy their first home in coastal Anglesea (about 90 minutes south-west of Melbourne) five years ago.
They bought the ‘first and cheapest’ home they could find — a mid-century fibro shack that was unfortunately ridden with termite damage and unbearably cold in winter. The block itself was large and covered in beautiful stringybarks and wattle, so they eventually decided to demolish the house and start over.
Catherine and Drew designed the new home themselves, spending over two years drawing and tweaking details before it was done. ‘We are both creative people but typically we don’t work together on projects,’ says Catherine. This project was the exception! ‘We really enjoyed the process of designing and building the house together, incorporating one another’s skills and ideas’ Catherine confirms.
Drawing on Australian bush modernism, the creative couple envisioned a warm home made from durable, hardwearing materials to withstand kids, a dog, and lots of friends passing through and coming to stay. ‘We both love the warmth and calm that natural materials such as masonry and wood offer, so we based the interior design around these elements,’ says Catherine.
The build process was relatively seamless thanks to Catherine and Drew’s unified vision. ‘We had a very clear vision, and the house is just like we had imagined it’ Catherine says.
A varied palette of warm, textured materials including brick painted in Dulux Natural White, ceramic tiles, concrete and timber has provided an immediately cosy and lived-in feel to this family home. The kitchen and bathrooms are more playful, featuring a predominantly green colour palette (including the kitchen cabinets in Porter’s Paints Bayleaf) referencing the nearby bush and coastal landscape.
Catherine and Drew particularly love the crazy paving and stone wall in the backyard created by stonemason Brad Bannan; the lightwell above the stairs; and the timber-lined walls and ceilings.
Sustainable features were also incorporated to ensure the home’s longevity and efficiency. The property operates using a solar system with a battery, contains electric hydronic heating, and is oriented north for optimum natural light.
The styling has come together in its own organic way, and continues to evolve as the family matures. ‘We mostly used the things we already owned, which included a lot of furniture that Drew had made, and anything that held meaning or was precious to us,’ says Catherine.
The build was completed in eight months, allowing Catherine, Drew and toddler Wilbur to move in last year (by the very popular deadline of Christmas Eve!) before the arrival of baby Percy. Amazing work team!