Photographer Eve Wilson and her husband Jon Atchison first moved to Cremorne (a tiny Melbourne suburb next to Richmond) 10 years ago. They fell in love with the area, so they decided to raise a family here, and they’ve lived on the same street ever since!
Originally, Eve and Jon actually lived next door to the home they occupy today. They purchased their current house (whilst living next door) just before the birth of their second child, to take advantage of its north-facing laneway, providing more natural light, and the opportunity to renovate and extend. The original cottage was previously owned by the one family since the 1950s, and had been virtually untouched since.
As an interiors photographer, Eve has seen plenty of amazing homes. So, when planning to renovate her own home, she initially struggled to choose a ‘style’, but everything fell into place after speaking to architects Studio Bright. ‘Finding Studio Bright and letting them get creative was the best way,’ Eve says.
The brief Eve and Jon gave Studio Bright was relatively open, except for a couple of key requests: no white plaster, and lots of texture. It’s safe to say, they nailed the brief!
Jon and Eve’s block is just 4.22 metres wide and covers a total 144 square metres. The original cottage remains at the front (housing two bedrooms, a new study and bathroom), followed by the new extension, spanning two connected buildings (containing the living area and kitchen respectively) clad in breeze blocks. Above the kitchen, on the home’s second floor is the main bedroom and ensuite, followed by a rooftop deck at the very top, with city skyline views! Both buildings open to a lush central outdoor courtyard, injecting light and greenery into the heart of the home.
‘The house is designed in such a clever way’ explains Eve. ‘Keeping the living and kitchen dining separate helps give the feeling of more space, as you’re not all on top of each other all the time – Jon and I can be in one room while the kids are in the other, and you can still see through to each space through the courtyard (to make sure they’re not getting into trouble!).’
To create a functional three bedroom home on this relatively tight footprint, every inch of space has been carefully considered. Studio Bright designed built-in storage and furniture (including beds) throughout the home, to make the most of the space. ‘It was a big outlay, cost wise, to have so much cabinetry – but then we only needed half the amount of furniture to fill the home,’ Eve says. For the free-standing furniture they did purchase, they turned to Eve’s friend, interior designer Andy Moore of Studio Moore to assist with specifying the perfect pieces from local makers, including Made by Morgen and Jardan.
Colour is used strategically throughout the home to set the mood, personality, and intention of each space. The breeze blocks (visible indoors and out) are tinted a pinky shade of brown, complemented indoors by Dulux Cuddlepot Half trims, and contrasting shades of olive green in the kitchen (Dulux Dollar) and on the main staircase (Dulux Shire).
Covid caused a few headaches during construction (‘We had our very first site meeting on the first day of lockdown, and I am pretty sure we had handover the week after the last lockdown!’), but Eve and Jon couldn’t be happier with their completed home. Eve says there’s simply nowhere else her family would rather be.
‘The thing I love the most is when the home is used in the way we intended’ Eve muses. ‘The light corridor with the day bed along it – I love it when I see the kids playing games in that space, or Jonny just enjoying the sun reading the paper.’
After almost three years of dreaming, planning, and working closely with Studio Bright and their builders Frank – Building Excellence to bring the vision to life – for Eve and Jon, the real magic of this home is found in the clever design elements that make daily life a joy – from the family-friendly floorplan and sight lines, to the ‘everything in its place’ storage throughout the home. In summary, says Eve – ‘we love it!’