Every now and again, tastes and personalities mesh perfectly. This happened with my Carnegie project: a bathroom and laundry renovation quickly became a full-scale home update, and a lasting friendship was formed along the way.

There was an instant connection. After the first meeting with the homeowners, a professional couple, I put forward a design concept for the entire house. The work began with the bathroom and laundry.

Bathroom and laundry – style meets practicality

The two spaces were separate and underutilised. So I combined the two, creating a powder room and a much larger bathroom which could house the washing machine concealed within a beautiful, custom-made green vanity unit.

I removed the small, unused bath and turned the area into a large shower recess. The change made the bathroom more comfortable and practical. From there, I added an intricate marble mosaic and a large skylight. It brings new light, colour, and a sense of openness to the space.

The master bedroom – a new purpose

The master bedroom lacked any distinct sense of style or everyday functionality. In giving it new life, I modelled the design after the needs of busy, professional couples: two people who like their own organised zones, but who also like to share privacy and intimacy in the mornings and evenings.

The second bedroom, used to that point as a kind of storage room, became a large walk-in dressing room with separate his and hers robes. This gave the second bedroom new purpose without encroaching on the comfort of the master bedroom. And since it is located adjacent to the master, it is still easily accessed.

I chose green carpet for both spaces to match the vanity unit in the bathroom. The walls were painted white, complemented in the master bedroom by a feature wallpaper of muted clouds. This wallpaper was carried over to the ceiling of the dressing room.

A dusty dining room becomes a warm hideaway

The couple had never used their dining room – instead, it was a place to store furniture. I wanted to make it the most-used room in the house, perfect for living and entertaining.

So I applied a dark Japanese grass wallpaper to the walls and selected furniture with dark, moody brown and green tones. I installed a custom-made buffet, which was complemented by decorative brass items and contemporary artwork. The space was finished with an antique glass pendant light and a Jetmaster fireplace.

Kitchen and dining reinvigorated

The kitchen was in great condition, so I needed only to update a few elements and match its design with the rest of the home.  I replaced the glass splashback with tile, added a pendant light over the island bench, and applied a length of feature wallpaper running across the back of the open dining room area.

To the dining room I added new sofas, a rug, a custom TV cabinet, new side tables and a few decorative touches. I re-stained the existing dining table and reupholstered the six dining chairs to suit the feel of the space and the home.

Finally, we jointly decided to have the timber floor stripped and re-stained to a much more suitable, and livelier, colour.

Through genuine collaboration and a meshing of tastes, I was able to make this Carnegie house a comfortable and practical home. Better yet, I made great new friends.

Location: Carnegie, Melbourne
Photographer: Martina Gemmola