A Modernist-Inspired, Fully-Accessible New Melbourne Family Home

The Elsternwick, Melbourne home of chef Tobi Dikstein and access consultant Nick Morris is remarkable.

What looks like an authentic mid-century build is actually a modern family home (built in 2017) that’s ‘discreetly fully-accessible’ for Nick, who uses a wheelchair. ‘There is no way anyone could tell that the house was built specifically for a paraplegic,’ says Tobi.

Designed and built by Fasham, the concrete and timber home is solid, timeless, and made eclectic through Tobi and Nick’s artful styling. In Tobi’s words, it’s a ski lodge in winter, and a pool party in summer!

Lucy Feagins
Editorial styling

Annie Portelli & Sarah Hendriks

Supported by Dulux

Sideboard from Grandfather’s Axe. Artwork by Gavin Brown. Eames elephant (bought from an op-shop). Shelves from Smith Street Bazaar. Big Shadow lamp by Marcel Wanders (bought for $80 off Gumtree). Vitra Panton chairs. Tobi’s 10-year-old fiddle leaf fig!

Access consultant Nick Morris and chef Tobi Dikstein in their Elsternwick home. Artwork (behind) by Alan Morris. Artwork (right) by Gavin Brown. Eames elephant. Shelves from Smith Street Bazaar.

Mark Tuckey timber stool. Sideboard from Grandfather’s Axe. Artwork by Gavin Brown. Eames elephant. Shelves from Smith Street Bazaar. Big Shadow lamp by Marcel Wanders. Vitra Panton chairs. Tobi’s 10-year-old fiddle leaf fig.

Gatto lamp from Red Rider. Eames storage unit (bought for $400 from Gumtree). Green artwork by Mitjili Napurrula. R.M. Williams boots collection from Tobi’s horse riding days.

Vitra Panton chairs. Persian rugs add warmth and colour to almost every room.

Marble table from one of Tobi’s many restaurants. Timber stool made by Nick.

TH barstools (bought from an op-shop for $10 each). Nick Scali pendant. ‘Eat’ light-up sign bought from Facebook Marketplace.

The pool area enjoys views of Ripponlea Estate’s trees. Fez stools by Chris Connell.

‘We wanted single level, step-less, wide doorways and passageways as part of the design,’ says Tobi of the home.

‘Madame Lash’ artwork by Pamela Irving. ‘Love You Friend‘ artwork from Outre Gallery. Lobster from Cape Merchants.

Mark Tuckey for Adairs bedding. Ikea blue lamp. Akari lamp.

Akari lamp. Marimekko throw. Kip&Co x Mirka Mora doll.


Kip&Co x Mirka Mora doll. Ikea shelving. ‘T’ lamp from Scout.

Lucy Feagins
Editorial styling

Annie Portelli & Sarah Hendriks

21st of June 2023
Design + build

Elsternwick, VIC/Wurundjeri Country

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.’

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