Follow The Art

Australian House & Garden Magazine|January 2020

Follow The Art
Treasured collections take pride of place in these Melbourne downsizers’ compact new home, an abode that easily adapts to use and the time of day.
Chris Pearson

As the owners of this home show, it’s possible to downsize without losing sight of the bigger picture. One of a neat row of 1980s townhouses, the home expresses the owners’ love for the finer things, including a generous collection of books and art.

The semi-retired empty-nesters moved to this three-bedroom townhouse in Melbourne’s southeast in 2016, wooed by the more manageable size and light-filled spaces. Its configuration gave it gardens both front and back and plenty of sun throughout the day, thanks to its east-west orientation.

Inside, peachy pink and beige walls, worn timber benchtops, and tired bathrooms cried out for an update. Layout-wise, the ground-floor laundry hogged valuable floor space, making the adjacent kitchen a squeeze and limited its connection to the family area. The large living room was cut off from the informal living/dining zone at the rear of the home, which lacked a link to the rear courtyard. “The layout felt cramped and the rooms too separate,” says architect Rob Nerlich of McMahon and Nerlich, the firm engaged for the renovation.

“We wanted to open the living spaces up to each other, improve the relationship with the garden, and update kitchens and bathrooms to contemporary levels of comfort,” says the owner. A walk-in wardrobe – an indulgence usually reserved for larger homes – was also on the wish list.


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January 2020