Suzy Tuxen has many fond memories visiting her Brighton family home as a child, as it used to belong to her late Apa (grandpa).
After many years of inner-city apartment living, the founder and creative director of design studio A Friend of Mine moved back to the bayside Melbourne suburb with her husband Shane Loorham, creative director at Liquorice, in search of more space for their children Raffy (8), and Ced (3), and their family pet, Cotton the Samoyed dog.
‘Dad at the time was renting out Apa’s old place, and long story short, we ended up buying the house off him for a bit of a discount! (Thanks Dad)’ says Suzy.
The original house was a 1970s dark brown brick, with a L-shaped floor plan on a subdivided block.
A lot of the personality and original features had been removed by the time Suzy and Shane bought the house, so they embarked on a renovation with interior designer Felicity Miller and a builder friend who identified the home’s potential.
‘[The builder] came to our house one day and he got excited with a quick pen sketch on a napkin for the floor plan, and it was brilliant, then offered to help us do the build,’ says Suzy.
Felicity designed the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms to be more warm and inviting. ‘The footprint of the house is still the same — with the L-shaped building wrapping around our courtyard — but we rearranged the interior as it was so compartmentalised before,’ says Suzy.
‘We really overhauled the inside of the house, as it was super dark. Where you now see our structural poles in the living room and kitchen there used to be a wall, so you would enter the house and be faced with a wall a metre away. It really wasn’t a great layout.’
‘We traded an artwork in exchange for getting the soft bagged brick render, which really softened and brightened the original deep grout lines of the dark brick,’ Suzy says.
Suzy and Shane also did a huge amount of DIY throughout the renovation, including painting, tiling, and gardening. ‘We started with ripping out an overgrown tangle of ivy and dead trees, and instead planted natives around the back with a new snowy gumtree, monstera, and banana palms out the front so we’d have some greenery to look out upon,’ says Suzy.
The interior styling is art filled, personal, and family friendly, ‘Which it has to be!’ says Suzy. ‘We have family, friends and kids here all the time, and our kids are next level wild… we originally had a glass pendant in the living room but it smashed during a sword fight – so you’ll see we opt for paper lanterns now!’
The couple have also collected many chairs over several years, including the Sputnik Satellite chair from Suzy’s grandmother, and an original Casala chair from an op-shop. ‘We are obsessive chair collectors, we have a no-fakes policy!’ Suzy says.
Post-renovation, Suzy and Shane’s family home is a stylish, yet super functional and down-to-earth family pad – we’re sure Suzy’s Apa would approve!