Redesigned for family living, this red-brick Edwardian home in Malvern channels functionality and liveability through every design decision.
This early 20th-century home marks the 14th renovation project husband and wife team Nick Condon and interior designer Kate Beadle have undertaken in Melbourne’s Malvern and surrounding inner suburbs. Having completed heritage revivals of a similar nature, Nick and Kate instantly recognised the potential of the old home when they first laid eyes on it.
Built in 1906 and last renovated in the 1980s, Nick Condon refers to the original single-storey home as a “rabbit-warren” typical of the era; narrow hallways, dark and pokey spaces and an overall disjointed feel. “Although it had seen better days, the house had a lovely facade with a return verandah and charming Edwardian period detailing,” Nick reflects.
In this feature, we explore how Nick and Kate brought the century-old home into the present day without compromising on character, the motives behind the “functional and equally-relaxing” central kitchen and how the pair cultivated a comfortable family retreat to raise their two boys.
The double-height kitchen island is one of Kate’s favourite elements in her home. “I love the subtle natural patterning, tonal warmth and practicality of the Tundra Grey limestone of the kitchen,” Kate says.
Handleless joinery allows for everything to be hidden away or behind retractable cupboard doors, along with a generous scullery and wine cellar directly behind the kitchen.
Although the traditional facade appears untouched, Nick affirms the external elements were “painstakingly restored”, bringing back to life the pillars, window frames, roof details and fretwork around the balcony. Kate and Nick also took on the landscaping in the front yard and the front fence to complement the new shell of the house. “We’re incredibly focussed on execution – the detail is critical, and finishing is everything,” Nick says. From the street, a sliver of grey concrete peeks out from behind the traditional facade, offering a glimpse of the contemporary design that unfolds within.
The original home failed to make use of the generously-sized 561sqm block it was built on, with the majority of the remaining land allocated to a large concrete courtyard. So naturally, Nick and Kate extended the home outwards. They added a level, making way for an open-plan kitchen and dining space, raised family room and larger primary suite, with a dedicated kids’ retreat upstairs. “Expanding the footprint and adding a second storey created the opportunity for more open, light-flooded spaces and maximised the northern orientation and aspects to the garden and adjacent parkland,” Kate Beadle recalls. “The result is a home that feels incredibly light and airy but retains the functionality of multiple living and entertaining areas for everyone in the family.”
“The difference we see with Liebherr is their products are so intuitive to how families work – they’re second to none at preserving food and they integrate so beautifully with the surrounding joinery.”
– Nick Condon
Nick and Kate extended the home outwards and added a raised family room with open shelving and double-height windows.
The layout and proportions of the kitchen follow Nick and Kate’s tried-and-tested formula they’ve executed in seven of their previous home renovations, including their former holiday home in Portsea. “This is because it works so well,” Kate says. “We simply tweak and refine things a little each time, including the materials and finishes with what we want to achieve.”
The double-height kitchen island is one of the defining elements. One of Kate’s favourites that Nick and Kate carry over from project to project, the double-height kitchen can act as a food preparation space and informal dining setting. Handleless joinery allows for everything to be hidden away or behind retractable cupboard doors, along with a generous scullery and wine cellar directly behind the kitchen.
When it came to specifying the appliances, Nick and Kate knew exactly what they were after; hardworking and reliable integrated appliances that could blend seamlessly into the open-plan design. “First and foremost, we did not want our appliances to dominate the space or for the kitchen to be designed around them,” Nick explains. “They had to work with the materials and finishes we were using more broadly, particularly through the adjacent living areas.”
Nick and Kate had their heart set on two premium integrated appliances: the Liebherr Integrated fridge with BioFresh and the Liebherr integrated freezer. The patented BioFresh technology by Liebherr refers to the precise temperature the fridge maintains – just above 0°C. This exact temperature extends the shelf life and preserves the freshness of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and milk products. “You can’t underestimate how important appliances like your fridge are to family living, be that dinner for four or 14,” Nick says. “The difference we see with Liebherr is that their products are so intuitive to how families work – they’re second to none at preserving food and integrate so beautifully with the surrounding joinery.”
“We loved that the home had three original fireplaces; however, the mantles and their inserts, while original, were of a more elaborate fretted Edwardian style than what we had envisioned for these formal rooms,” Nick explains. “We scoured second-hand building suppliers for months and eventually found three antique Carrara marble mantles and cast iron inserts to replace the existing.”
The timber-clad walk-in robe serves as a transition from the moody primary bedroom into the ensuite.
When reflecting on their favourite moments in their Malvern home, Nick and Kate say each family member gravitates to a different space, whether it’s reading a book in the formal living room, watching a movie in the upstairs kids’ retreat or floating in the pool looking up at the beautiful parkland trees. “There’s actually not one area of the house that’s unused or superfluous to our needs,” Nick and Kate agree.