Chef Tobi Dikstein and Nick Morris have long lived in the Elsternwick, Melbourne area, but not always in homes appropriate for their needs.
Their previous home had no parking — hardly ideal for Nick, who uses a wheelchair, and family life with their children Lucy (15) and Tom (12).
Nick works as an access consultant (he was the primary consultant for the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympics) so naturally, his own home needed to be fully accessible.
Nick and Tobi bought the site of their Elsternwick house in 2016. The original home on the block was completely unfit for purpose, so they worked with Fasham to design and build its successor.
‘We knew we wanted to build a cohesive, accessible home, so we gave the [original] house away on Gumtree in exchange for a clear block ready to build on,’ says Tobi. ‘I believe the house is now happily ensconced in Daylesford somewhere!’
The vision for the design was clear from the outset. ‘We wanted to utilise the long block and build the house lengthways to receive the north sun all day and have views of the garden from every room,’ says Tobi.
‘We wanted single level, step-less, wide doorways, and passageways as part of the design — regardless of Nick!’
Inspired by mid-century modernist architecture, the resulting house is made from solid concrete block contrasted with warm timber ceilings. The property has two street frontages, both with their own entrances.
Tobi and Nick have introduced their style to the interiors mostly through the styling, which is playful and sculptural.
‘We chose a very simple colour scheme as we wanted our colourful belongings to do the talking,’ Tobi says. Persian rugs and art in every room add warmth and colour.
The home was designed within eight months and built over the following year. ‘We moved in at Christmas time 2017 on budget, on time and luckily with no major issues!’ says Tobi.
‘Our accessible home has a huge impact on our day to day life. Nick requires no help and is completely independent therefore we are all relaxed and free.
‘My favourite part of living in our house is arriving home in winter, and feeling like the house gives you a warm hug.’