Working Remotely

As a precautionary measure to concerns surrounding COVID-19 we made the decision to close the office in the short-term and continue our work remotely. It’s been a strange but interesting first week adapting to the ‘new norm’ but things are progressing well and all of Us have responded faultlessly to the changed circumstances.

Work on our current projects is progressing as usual, and with some adjustments to the way we now communicate and connect with our clients and consultants, I think we’ll get through this period just fine. For myself, working from home has certain advantages, the view from my studio being one of them.



View Residence Video Feature

Our recently completed project at 16 View Street Hawthorn (top image), hit the market last month and has certainly drawn much attention. We have contributed to the marketing campaign by way of a video interview, which can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Around the same time, two other properties designed by our studio were advertised for sale and have since sold. 2a Hardcourt Street Hawthorn (bottom left) & 3 St.Martin’s Place Kooyong (bottom right). Having three properties on the market with designs attributed to Us has provided prospective clients the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our finished products.

We are pleased to say over the last month, this has led to several new and exciting commissions we are now working on.

To view the video feature via Vimeo click HERE.

New Hawthorn Commission

One new project that has derived from a couples visit to 16 View Street, is now well underway in the office. Wiseman Residence will see the construction of a new two storey residence with partial basement beneath. The site slopes upwards quite dramatically from the street which will permit access to the basement garage virtually at-grade.

In the design, we have set up a curvilinear pedestrian access path from the street which winds its way up through the garden to the elevated covered entry. Once inside, the house opens up dramatically with a soaring 7-metre-high atrium space from which the rooms on both levels radiate. The space is designed to draw in northern sunlight from the rear of the block and evenly disburse it throughout the living areas.

A niche off the family living space beside the atrium at ground level, will proudly feature the family’s grand piano, positioned to facilitate special gatherings for this music loving family. Working drawings are underway and due for completion next month.

Hayfield Rise, Ancona, Cover Spread

We were very excited and honoured to have our Ancona residence, ‘Hayfield Rise’, featured on the front cover of Domain Prestige in the Australian Financial Review. This follows on from a front-page feature in the Herald Sun Real Estate magazine and a feature in Mansion Australia in the weekend Australian.

The property was once owned by Arthur Mitchell, the retired headmaster of Timbertop who once mentored Prince Charles whilst in residence there.

With the property now on the market, interest has been high for this rural retreat, both locally and interstate. Kate McDougall from The Agency in Mansfield has described it as ‘uber-cool’. Interested parties can contact her on 0415 644 510.

New Studio in Richmond

After 16 years operating the practice from our Fitzroy studio, we felt we were well overdue for a refresh. The team can now be found in the heart of Tiger-land, with our new address being 3/420 Church Street Richmond. Our telephone number has changed to 03 9086 8962.

The new space, arranged over three levels, offers a great eastern orientation and is more conveniently located amongst many of our suppliers, support consultants and our client heartland, (not to mention fine coffee shops and restaurants). We look forward to welcoming you all, once Covid restrictions are eased.

PLEASE NOTE: Our new office telephone number is: 03 9086 8962



Mallacoota Project Update

In our last journal posted in January, we reported the circumstances of our Mallacoota project which was lodged for planning approval prior to Christmas, this was sadly caught up in the chaos which ensued as a result of the devastating bushfires in that region. We are now pleased to report that things are back on track and the planning application is proceeding.

The proposal has been advertised and we were pleased to receive a first response from the owners of the adjoining property. Our client enthusiastically shared this text transcript from them…

‘wow, we are delighted to see the carefully considered plans for your wonderful new Mallacoota residence. Go for it!’
– Graham & Yolanda

If only all responses to planning applications were so complimentary. A positive note to finish off this issue of News from Us. We wish all of you good health till next time.

Mallacoota Fires

Our year commences with the uncomfortable and very stark reality of the devastating bushfires which continue to blaze across our country. We have all been affected in some way by these tragic events, some obviously more directly than others, with the loss of property, habitat and life. Prior to the Christmas break, we completed and lodged a planning submission with the East Gippsland Council for one of our long standing clients, this being for a shared family retreat at Mallacoota on a property they have enjoyed for three decades of summers or more.

We woke New Years Eve to the news they were actively defending the property. Being cut off by road, escape for some family members was via chartered light planes, others deciding to stay and defend the township heavily under threat.

We are pleased to report all are now safely back in Melbourne and their property has fortunately been saved. Our thoughts are with the Mallacoota community and the mammoth effort ahead to re-group and re-build anew. We look forward to contributing to these efforts in the months to come.

If there is any good that comes from such events, it is the outpouring of support so evident throughout the community, this ought make us all proud to be Australian.

The photo above was taken by our client bravely defending their home beneath blood red skies on the morning of New Years Eve.

View Residence Progress

Work has re-commenced for 2020 on our fourth new build in View Street, Hawthorn.

Working again with the challenges presented by a sloping site, and turning this to a design advantage, the raised swimming pool with wet edge feature has finally revealed itself.

This will be the standout feature of the central court from which the house wraps itself around. There will be strong visual connections to this outdoor space from all of the living areas within, over both levels.

We will post periodic photo updates as work progresses throughout the year. Completion due early 2021 and will be marketed for sale at this time.



Donaldsons Residence: The Local Project

Our Country property at Ancona in Victoria’s high Country has continued to draw media attention with a 4th feature article. Most recently in the on-line publication ‘Local Project’ late last year.

Article: Click here to read the article








Sales launch of ‘Hayfield Rise’ – Ancona

As the owners, occupiers, design contributors (and gardeners), the joy of this project has been in its ‘making’. Completed in December 2018, we are now ready to write a new chapter for ourselves, and move on to a new challenge elsewhere.

We leave this magnificent property, in one of the countries most beautiful places, with all the great memories of putting this ambitious project together, and seeing it finally realised as we originally hoped and intended. Now it is for others to experience, be enriched by and enjoy for many years to come.

Where to from here for us? well who knows, we are already on the lookout for new sites with equal potential… watch this space.

The sales launch of ‘Hayfield Rise’- Ancona will commence in February and the campaign will be managed by the very capable team at the The Agency in Mansfield & Melbourne.

Click here to visit The Agency
Click here to view drone video footage of the property

Moonee Ponds Approval

We are pleased to announce planning approval has been granted by Moonee Valley Council, for renovations and additions to a new project in Moonee Ponds. With heritage controls triggering the application, council have provided unconditional support to the proposals and working drawings are now well underway.

Much of the existing heritage home to the front will remain, albeit internally modified. A new addition to the rear over two levels is orientated to drink in northern sunlight along its length and be complemented by garden works, raised swimming pool and terraced deck areas.

Work is due to commence on site in the next few months.



Stonefields Summer Private Tour

Last year I had the great pleasure of journeying to Denver, near Trenthan Victoria, to have a private tour of Paul Bangay’s amazing House & Gardens at ‘Stonefields‘. Paul also conducts tours seasonally and his upcoming summer tours are selling out fast. For anyone planning a garden or simply wanting to be inspired by the true genious of this talented garden designer, there is a tour scheduled for Friday 14th February @ 3pm.

It’s well worth the effort to get along, I can highly recommend it.

Click here for booking information








Concrete Kitchens

Of the many materials we’ve brought to our kitchen designs over the years, concrete is probably our favourite and one Steve has personally adopted for use in his home.

Versatile and rugged, concrete poured in-situ has been our ‘go to’ product for many reasons. It offers endless possibilities in terms of shape and form. In length and width, it can extend far beyond the limitations of its stone, timber or porcelain competitors without the need for joins.
Its character improves with age.

Our preferred surface treatment, once the pour is complete and concrete fully cured, is to simply hand sand the surface to a smooth finish, apply two coats of matt concrete seal, then finish with a bees wax product, Johnsons floor wax is ideal. When finally buffed back, this will provide a beautiful finish and projection for many years to come.

Tregarron Residence Progress

As mentioned on instagram recently, work is progressing on our latest Kew project with our clients looking forward to moving in the new year.

The project generated a lot of interest on ‘the socials’ so we thought we’d share it with you.

The existing house is being extensively renovated within, new contemporary additions to the rear, more than tripling the overall size of the home.
Works include a new basement, with garaging, cinema and gym. Extensions at ground level accommodate new family living spaces and at the new first floor level, bedrooms and retreat spaces. A new pool, tennis court and garden works complete the makeover.

We’ll post more progress photos as the interior finishes are revealed and the build nears completion.

Builder Approved & Ready to Start

Construction work will soon commence on our Belmont Project in Melbournes inner north-west. This follows our recent success at the planning approvals stage.

The existing modest weatherboard cottage facing the street is to be fully restored and serve as a heritage foil to the extensive contemporary addition beyond.

A series of garden plateaus will negotiate the existing land fall, to which the floor plates of the house will follow, providing connection to an upper garden court, central pool terrace and lower lawn panel.

The house will be geared to comfortable family living, set predominantly over two floors, the interior spaces will unfold informally, flowing seamlessly from one zone to the next and always with a very strong connection to the garden and outdoor living areas.

We are very excited to see this project come to fruition, watch for future construction posts.

A New Lifestyle Awaits

Looking to the future, our ‘almost’ empty-nester clients, first approached us to determine whether two homes could be comfortably accommodated on their existing property, with a view to allowing them to stay-on, yet downsize from their current large family home.

With the kids soon to branch out, something more compact and maintenance free has great appeal.

Their ultimate goal is to live in one of the new dwellings and offer the other for sale, leaving them mortgage free in a bespoke home, fashioned to their intended new lifestyle, with little ongoing property maintenance.

With the planning process now complete and a permit in place, the path is clear for them to embark on this exciting venture.

Absolute Water Frontage

We are again pleased to be associated with Bourakis Industries in the development of our 5th project together on the Strand in Williamstown. This absolute waterfront property boasts stunning, unobstructed views towards Melbourne’s skyline across the waters of Port Phillip Bay.

Development plans are now before Hobsons Bay Council for the restoration of the property’s heritage listed cottage which will serve as one dwelling, and a second to be constructed behind it. Both are designed to capture the magnificent Bay and city skyline views.

Our thanks once again for the invaluable guidance afforded by heritage architect, Bryce Rayworth and consulting planner, Ross Bardin whilst putting our submission together. Looking forward to receiving planning approval in the near future.

Preston Residence, Recently Completed

Our thanks, as always to Derek Swalwell Photography for a great shoot recently in Geelong. Derek has again managed to capture the essence and flavour of our recently completed build in Preston Street.

The double fronted Victorian weatherboard has been lovingly restored to its former glory, with the retention of the original four front rooms, and the removal of earlier faux Victorian style additions to the rear.

The original cottage is thus now presented in its original form and partnered with a contrasting modern pavilion behind it.

So as to enable each to share equal moment, we have subtly connected them via a delicate glazed bridge link which traverses the shallows of a newly introduced swimming pool.

The cottage has been repurposed to provide the quieter spaces of the home, a bedroom, study and retreat space being included. The new pavilion style accommodation by contrast, provides for the more robust requirements of a family living environment, with kitchen, dining and laundry spaces combining with the master bedroom suite, remotely positioned to the rear.

The structure rests between garden courts and overlooks the new pool and covered outdoor entertaining space.

The interiors have been furnished with thanks to Jardan, Ross Gardam, Domo, Pittella & Vzug. The selections offer a seamless transition and link between the two halves of the building.

To view more images of this project click here.

Brand Building

We are pleased to be involved in the continuing success and expansion of the Interpack brand. Following the initial design and implementation of their first manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters in Victoria, they are now expanding with the construction of a second production facility with associated offices.

A recent site visit reveals the impressive expanse of this new facility, precast panels now begin to wrap the vast steel framework, work is underway on the two storey office component and basement car parking.

As with the first installation, cutting edge technology will be implemented in their production processes to ensure Interpack remains at the forefront of their industry.


Planning Approved

The wait is over, and we’re thrilled to announce that within the space of a week, two of our residential projects, one in Albert Park, the other in Camberwell, both delayed as a consequence of a prolonged planning process, have at last been approved at VCAT. Congratulations to our clients on the result, and for their tenacity and belief in the product.

Both were subject to Heritage controls and it has again been demonstrated that there is a place for well-considered contemporary design, within our heritage neighbourhoods.

Our thanks go out to Bryce Raworth for his invaluable Heritage Advise, to Ratio Planning consultants and The Hanson Partnership for seeing us through the planning labyrinth towards two brilliant results.

Now let’s get them built!