Jules Vleugel and director of Basis Builders Rhys Vleugel moved to the Mornington Peninsula in 2016, but after four years of daily commuting to Melbourne, and the birth of their first child, they found themselves craving inner-city life.
‘Having kids definitely makes you reassess where you want to be placed in terms of early family life,’ says Jules, who runs her own jewellery label. ‘We had our daughter, Lola, and when she was about five months old we decided it was time to get back into the action!’
They inspected a single-fronted Victorian home with a 1970s extension in Fitzroy North that was ‘old, cold and full of mould.’ It ticked only ‘one or two’ of the several items on their wish list, and its outlook was merely the neighbour’s brick wall, yet Jules and Rhys could see its potential.
‘It was in a pretty bad state … I can still remember how the carpet smelled!’ says Jules. ‘When we came home after the inspection, we sketched out some ideas and discussed how we could make it work and what we would need to do to make it liveable for us.’
A four-week ‘mini makeover’ ensued where the house was replastered, repainted and restumped. A new temporary kitchen and bathroom were also installed so the family could live in the home in preparation of a larger renovation.
Rhys and Jules engaged architects Therefore Studio to design an extension to suit their growing family. ‘We wanted a space to live and to grow into,’ explains Jules. ‘Especially with little people in the house, we wanted to be able to share the communal spaces together, but once bedtime hits, be able to enjoy our own space upstairs without stepping on a squeaky toy!’
The original front rooms were retained in the renovation, followed by a new open-living space, flanked by outdoor courtyards, oriented to the east and west, on either side. Designed by Peachy Green, these outdoor spaces inject the home with light and an ever changing outlook.
Soothing interior tones of Dulux Kimberley Tree on the kitchen joinery, Dulux Bay Leaf, and Dulux Potter’s Pink on the bathroom joinery, and creamy Dulux Beige Royal Quarter walls offer an overall feeling of serenity and ‘clarity’ that underpins the flexible communal spaces.
‘Our home isn’t overflowing with lots of things, which is intentional. I like our spaces to feel open and clear,’ says Jules.
A new upper level contains the main bedroom and connects to a cleverly positioned outdoor terrace.
With the birth of their second child Sandy (now 15 months) serving as the deadline, the entire project was constructed by Rhys’ company in just six months between Covid shutdowns.
Jules say the finished home is better than they could ever have imagined. ‘We truly didn’t anticipate how perfect (for us) our home would be. We knew we would have an awesome space after the renovation, but the end result has truly blown our minds.
‘I’m stoked we took the leap of faith with this house. If you had shown us what it would look like now back in 2019, we never would have believed you!’