A Spectacular, Art-Filled Home In Melbourne’s Outer Suburbs

When the owners of this sprawling home in the Melbourne suburb of Park Orchards engaged Chelsea Hing to complete an interior scheme, she was pleasantly surprised to inherit a great architectural footprint to work within.

‘The layout and scale of the house was fantastic, but the interior was a little lacklustre – white plaster walls, white laminate kitchen,’ she describes. Despite its excellent bones, the building was in need of an injection of colour and personality to really feel like home.

Chelsea had worked with these clients before (remember this amazing house in the Yarra Valley?), so she drew on their good working relationship and previous projects when conceptualising the new design. This house was to be a continuation of the modern Australian aesthetic realised in the Yarra Valley House, but elevated in a contemporary way. In addition to this, there was a desire for the space to be the

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An Action-Packed, Compact City Home

Not every home extension is about gaining additional space. Sometimes, it’s simply about creating better quality space. 

This was the case for the Lees House, which saw the renovation and extension of a semi-detached art deco home in Northcote. 

When engaged to design this project, Rob Kennon, founding director of Rob Kennon Architects, found the existing house largely ‘unliveable’ and with plants growing through it. The young family clients weren’t in need of a considerably larger home, but a comprehensive overhaul that would encourage a more efficient and convenient existence. 

A key driver for the project was updating the driveway, which was bigger than the single car household required. Rob turned this previously unused outdoor space into a side house entry, and undercover bicycle storage area tailored to the owner’s lifestyle. 

The original portion of this house contains three bedrooms and bathroom, while the kitchen, living, dining and study

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The Best Building Materials for A Sustainable Home


Ethically sourced timbers are another sustainable option to use in residential construction. ‘It’s a renewable resource and, if sourced and milled responsibly, is probably the most sustainable building material available,’ says architect Ben Callery, director of Ben Callery Architects

Various bodies exist to certify where and how timber has been sourced, including the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). ‘This is a worldwide not-for-profit group that investigates and audits supply chains for timber, and uses sustainability as one of its 10 key parameters,’ says Angus Crisp. ‘We also as a company prefer to use Australian timbers rather than imported, as to also reduce any carbon miles from shipping.’ 

Likewise with brick, using recycled timbers from the outset is the best way for consumers to minimise their environmental impact when building. 

A downfall of timber is its lack of thermal mass, but Ben Callery assures this material can still be an

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The Byron Bay Ceramicist Crafting Contemporary Vessels With A Soft Edge

Artist and ceramic designer Layla Cluer spent all of high school thinking she would be a doctor. She backflipped at the last second and wound up studying architecture. A few years as a practicing architect led to some inevitable professional soul-searching for the creative at heart, and Layla arrived at the decision to apply to art school.

‘In true millennial style, I’ve worn a few hats this past decade,’ she laughs. Last year, Layla left her full-time job working as part of RMIT’s curatorial team, spent a month crewing on a yacht from New Zealand to Tonga (as you do!), and enrolled in ceramics classes at Lismore TAFE. This windy route to handcrafted clay was the beginnings of Softedge, her fledgling practice which she now runs from a studio on her friend’s farm outside Byron Bay. ‘It wasn’t really a studio when I moved in last November…but I could

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Painting Wild, Abstract Scenes With Diana Ellinger – The Design Files

Diana Ellinger  started out her professional life as a graphic designer, working for years in Melbourne’s communications industry before relocating to Canberra with her husband. In a new city with some new inspiration, she decided to finesse her amateur art skills and enrol in painting workshops at ANU’s Art School.

‘Since then my art practice has largely existed in the margins of my life,’ she explains. ‘The sneaky stolen moments when children are sleeping, or carefully slotted in around design jobs.’ She credits this extreme multitasking as the reason it’s taken her a little over a decade to properly find her voice!

Diana returned from Mumbai, where she had relocated in 2018, with her young family in March of this year. Promptly moving into then-temporary accommodation at her mother-in-law’s house on the Bellarine Peninsula, Diana has experienced a burst of creative enthusiasm. With a new regimen of dedicated studio time

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Taking The Opera House Online With Digital Programming Associate, Sophie Penkethman-Young

When Sophie Penkethman-Young landed her dream job as Digital Programming Associate at the Sydney Opera House in February of 2020, she had no idea how busy her new job was about to get. To be fair, none of us knew how much our lives were about to change back then. But for someone working in digital programming at one of Australia’s most prestigious cultural institutions, the almost immediate halt of physical events in March of 2020 meant that things were about to get really intense.

‘At first it was a bit chaotic’, Sophie says of the quick pivot to creating a weekly digital program from scratch (!) when COVID hit. But alongside a talented team, Sophie helped put together an impressive digital offering which includes never-before-seen footage from the Opera House archives, podcasts, long-form articles and behind-the-scenes content. In May, the team added weekly live recordings and live-stream performances to

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