Walking into the home of Megan Park and Anthony Cox, the bustle of the Fitzroy streets outside falls away.
This effect has been achieved over many years and two renovations designed by Anthony, who is both an architect and co-director of Megan’s eponymous fashion label.
Anthony and Megan bought the Melbourne property in 2007, when seeking a more appropriate home for their family after the birth of twins Ella and Marley. At the time, the family were living in a three-storey converted warehouse with ‘many many stairs’ and no garden.
This nearby Victorian terrace for sale was in a tired state, inclusive of a 1970s extension, but its position and potential was undeniable! Anthony and Megan purchased the home and set about on a renovation of the upper floor, capturing the feel of their previous warehouse conversion.
The family of four happily lived in the home for several years, but as the twins became teenagers, they found themselves needing more room to grow.
In 2019, Anthony designed a second, bigger renovation, this time focusing on the ground floor. ‘It allowed me to flex my architectural muscle again and be hands on,’ he says. ‘[It] was a dream for me to design.’
Anthony brought his architecture knowledge to the renovation, in addition to years of experience as a retail designer and visual merchandiser since joining Megan’s business in 2010.
‘While daunting at first, after I got past the first few design concepts, I quickly settled on a scheme that ticked all the boxes,’ says Anthony of the renovation.
‘Living in a house for a while before renovating is a must — something that really informed us on how we live and what we really needed as a family.’
When the original joiner unexpectedly pulled out of the project, Anthony also got involved in the build.
‘Determined to be in for Christmas, and as well as satisfying my own passion for making things, I flew my best friend and former architecture student alongside me at university in the UK, Stephan Olney, out to Melbourne and we made all the joinery together,’ Anthony says.
What was once a dark narrow Victorian terrace is now a light-filled, open, flowing series of zones centred around the family’s love of entertaining, cooking, and being outside.
Anthony describes the spaces as ‘contemporary Victorian’ featuring concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and timber joinery. The new kitchen and dining spaces are arranged carefully to a natural north light aspect and garden views.
‘It’s the atmosphere that drives it. While the modern clean lines, palette of honest materials, and clever details to achieve the minimal look are all important, it’s the spaces themselves, coupled with the new and original details, that give it what I can only describe as a sense of warmth and calm,’ Anthony says.
‘The Megan Park brand is full of colour and pattern, yet within our home we seek a calmer experience, hence the natural materials of stone and wood that sit as a backdrop to the warmth of the colours introduced in the way of textiles and art.’
Walls in the original rooms of the houses are punctuated by a sophisticated use of understated colour including Dulux Oyster Linen that enhances period features.
Anthony and Megan were lucky enough to move into the finished renovation just before Covid, providing plenty of time over lockdowns to focus on their garden. With the help of Dean Lewis from Groundworks, they created a small but lush and productive area that simultaneously screens the surrounding buildings.
No matter the season or time of day, this garden forms an important and integrated part of the home. ‘Even closed during winter, the garden feels part of the house via the transparency of the architecture,’ explains Anthony. ‘During summer, these elements slide away, bringing garden and house together to create an even bigger space to enjoy.’
All this is hidden behind the original Victorian facade, concealing a welcoming and relaxed inner-city family home within!