Renovating a Federation Forever Home™ – Client Case Study

In the world of home design and renovation, the true essence of a Forever Home™ lies not just in its aesthetic appeal but in its ability to adapt and evolve with the changing dynamics of family life. White Pebble Interiors embarked on a fulfilling journey with Bernadette and her family, for their inner-city Melbourne home, to turn their vision for a home they’d had their heart set on for over 20 years, into a tangible reality. Here we share her journey and delve into the thoughtful process of designing a space that meets the needs of today while anticipating those of tomorrow. 

Early Engagement: A Pathway to Success 

This project was unique in many ways, not just in its scope but in the client’s proactive approach to involving us from the very beginning. By engaging White Pebble Interiors at the outset of the project, Bernadette had her A-team working together right from the get-go. This enabled here to maximise the expertise of everyone on her team, and have them working together, to get the ultimate result.  

A Brief with a Focus on Functionality and Colour 

Bernadette’s brief (along with her husband) was to design a home that was robust, sophisticated but not precious, and would work through multiple life stages. She wanted people to walk into her home and feel relaxed and at ease, however materials needed to be heavy-duty with a slight industrial edge. Nothing too delicate but rather durable and low maintenance, and able to withstand two sporty teenage boys. 

The special part of the brief was Bernadette’s desire to inject her favourite colour, teal, into the home, without it being overpowering 

Being engaged early on, meant we had the opportunity to review the floorplan to conduct a comprehensive review of the plan, ensuring every aspect of the design was optimised for future adaptability, functionality, zoning, noise mitigation, internal flow and spatial planning. 

Our collaboration centred on creating a home that would seamlessly transition through various life stages—from the energetic buzz of teenage boys to the peaceful quiet of retirement. This foresight into the home’s long-term use was pivotal in our design process, allowing us to design spaces that could easily adapt to the family’s evolving needs. 

In the transformative journey to creating a Forever Home™, understanding the client’s vision, addressing initial concerns, and delivering a space that reflects their personality and meets their evolving needs are paramount.   

Bernadette opted to use our full suite of interior design services, which meant we were responsible for the internal elevations and joinery design for all the rooms in the home, along with full colour, hard material, fittings and fixture specification and lighting design, right down to the window treatments, furniture selection, decorating and styling. This was tailored around where Bernadette felt she needed support in the project.  

Partway through the project her husband made a comment and asked why she couldn’t go out and choose all the tiles and other materials for the house. 

When we presented all the hard materials and colour in our studio her husband made the comment ‘Now I see we could never have done all of that on how own, and if we did, we would have had no idea where to go and it would have taken us forever. I get it now; I see the value’.   

Needless to say, Bernadette was relieved that her husband could see how much work was involved, and how having an interior designer curate a shortlist of materials based on their brief was a huge relief and relieved a lot of pressure.   

The Collaboration Experience with Bernadette, the Client 

“I found the experience of working with White Pebble Interiors really collaborative. Frances made it clear that we could be really open and ask lots of questions, take our time making decisions, and there were always other options. So, if there was something that she presented that wasn’t quite right, it was no big deal. She would go back and look again and find the right solutions for us. She also introduced us to ideas that initially we weren’t sure what we were looking for. We were able to explore them and, in the end, provided us with solutions that we never would have imagined.” 

Designing Spaces with Purpose 

Living Area  

 

Bernadette wanted a living area that was not only welcoming and comfortable but could also withstand the demands of a bustling family life with two teenage boys. It needed to be inviting but not overpowering.  

The initial challenge was to maximise the space to feel light and airy and provide a natural flow to the outdoors.  

Built in cabinetry that blended into the wall creates a sense of space, with timber accents adding warmth. Coupled with furniture that made the space feel open and approachable, with the teal injection for a pop of colour.

Kitchen Design 

The kitchen, the heart of the home, needed to be both beautiful and highly functional, equipped to cater to the daily routines and large family gatherings.  

Bernadette needed a kitchen that was easy to clean with durable materials. Integrated appliances make for a seamless look. The architect originally had a splashback window the entire length of the kitchen. Upon consultation with Bernadette and highlighting the daily cleaning requirements of the glazing, we opted for a tiled splashback for easy cleaning coupled with some shape and texture. 

We also suggested the shelving unit be made from solid spotted gum, to create a beautiful delineation between the kitchen and the living room. We didn’t want the living room to feel like it was in the kitchen! 

Benchtops are hard wearing Dekton in a soft industrial look and feel. Incredibly durable and low maintenance, so met the brief perfectly.

A tiled splashback was specified in place of glazing to ensure less cleaning. The spotted gum shelves blend with the living room built in cabinetry, yet also provide a beautiful demarcation between the kitchen and living room.

Master suite 

Bernadette’s love of blue was used to create a master suite sanctuary cocooned by navy silk wallpaper and thick heavy drapes while keeping the heritage fireplace in the original part of the home.  

Crisp white contrast with the navy wallpapered walls.

A space just for the adults

Luxurious velvets on curved pieces make for a special ‘grown ups’ retreat which is light and bright and retains the original fireplace.

Bathroom Elegance 

Through Bernadette’s love of teal allowed us to incorporate it into the ensuite where we coupled it with a solid timber benchtop and sophisticated textured tiles that ran floor to ceiling.  

Our approach fostered open communication, empowering Bernadette to explore a range of options and solutions. Throughout this process, we were able to introduce the client to innovative designs and technologies, significantly enhancing the functionality and enjoyment of her Forever Home™. 

Significant Moments and Impactful Solutions   

Our expertise in interior design was pivotal in navigating the project’s challenges and seizing opportunities. On several occasions, suppliers indicated certain things the client wanted were not possible; however, we proved otherwise. Our ability to source the right suppliers, while providing solutions to complex requirements meant the client’s vision for her home was fully realised, without compromise. 

The completion of the client’s home is a testament to the significant benefits of engaging with experienced interior design professionals from the outset. The home’s beauty and the quality of its finishes are undoubtedly impressive. Still, it’s the deliberate consideration of each space’s capacity to adapt to the family’s changing needs over time that truly sets it apart, and for each and every space to be designed around the individual, rather than a one size fits all approach. 

The client’s feedback beautifully summarises our shared experience:  

“There were so many benefits from working with White Pebble Interiors. Some of the key ones were finding the best technologies and solutions for things, the finishes and fixtures we didn’t even know existed, before we started talking to Frances, that really answered our needs. Also, Frances had such impeccable attention to detail, and so we never had to compromise. 

The solutions that we got met our needs, they were beautiful, and created a home that we love and enjoy being in.”

This project highlights the vital perspective of viewing a home not merely as a living space but as a dynamic environment that evolves alongside its inhabitants. At White Pebble Interiors, we are dedicated to crafting homes that not only dazzle in their beauty but also resonate deeply with the people who inhabit them. Bernadette’s Forever Home™ stands as a vibrant testament to this ethos, a dwelling where each detail is a reflection of the family’s past, present, and future story. 

 

Photography by: Suzi Appel
Photography Stylist: Michelle Bask Interiors

 

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