When Cara Bodsworth and her husband Cliff first purchased their home, it was a mirror of the property next door. Both were built in the 1870s, in a combination of Victorian Italianate and Queen Victoria styles. However, over the years, a series of remodelings saw the loss of many original features. Cara enlisted the expertise of Charlie Ingles, of Inglis Architects, to restore the home to its former glory.
The first port of call was to knock the back off the home, which Cara describes as a ‘very tired 60s renovation’ and introduce a new kitchen, laundry, lounge, upstairs bathrooms, bedrooms and playrooms. Period features were reinstated and restored where possible. Our art director Annie, who styled this shoot, highlights that looking at the home next door, ‘it’s amazing to see the side-by-side comparison of what once was, and how Cara has managed to maintain the detail to-a-tee throughout the renovation.’ Even the woodwork detailing around the veranda has been re-made to replicate the original!
Cara’s list of her favourite treasures in the home is extensive, and shows her true love and dedication to both the restoration of the home’s past, and her family’s own story. The most precious piece on display is a panel from her wedding dress, handmade (including handpainted flowers in six different shades of pink) by her Mum and a family friend, which now sits as an exquisite installation in the dining room. Other special corners of the home include the terrazzo ensuite (Cara is a self-confessed terrazzo obsessive!), a unique antique coat rack and artworks by Pietro Caprogreco.
Natural light spills through the home, thanks to the architect’s renovations, and stainless steel benches have transformed the kitchen and laundry. Cara highlights that the ‘stove, sink and bench are one seamless piece of steel’ and the forgiving surface means the ‘kids can paint on the bench, roll pasta, and spill whatever without worrying.’ Meanwhile, thanks to Cara’s husband’s plumbing supply business, all of the kitchen and bathroom hardware is on point!
The Armadale location is one Cara and Cliff had been researching for a while, as they loved the ‘schools, parks, cafes and shops in the area.’ Initially unable to afford what they loved, Cara searched for the ‘worst house in the best street!’ With this loving transformation and restoration now complete, that description is no longer at ALL accurate!
The renovated heritage home of Cara Bodsworth in Armadale. Looking through the entrance hall to the front door. Artwork by Pietro Capogreco. Listone Giordano flooring. Pendant lights by Porcelain Bear. Study nook (behind the doors to the right) painted in Dulux Custom Green/Grey. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
A gorgeous boxed out fern garden separates the dining room from the living room. Mid-century side table that once belonged to Cara’s grandmother. Crystal lights from Palm Springs (a housewarming gift). Bitossi pottery collection. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The dining room. Cara’s grandmother’s Chiavari Farfalla chairs. Vase found at Tyabb Antiques. Marilyn print by Andy Warhol bought at a charity auction. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The living room. Winsome Collection ‘Sphinx’ print. Bitossi sculpture collection. Larrakitj in the corner of the room, a wedding gift from some of the couple’s best friends. Arflex Strip sofa. MDF Italia Rock Table and Osso chairs from Muuto. Cara’s Dad’s favourite Australian Pottery circular vase. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Spirit Family sculptures by Deborah Halpern. Pottery by Bella and Cliff. Original fireplace lovingly restored to reveal beautiful carvings. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The artwork on the wall is a framed panel from Cara’s handpainted and sewn wedding dress. She even had each of the roses hand painted in different shades of pink – just so the composition was right! The dress was full length for all the formalities of the wedding, then when the ‘party started’ she was able to detach the bottom half to reveal a little bit of party leg! Vases found at Tyabb Antiques. Cara’s grandmother’s Chiavari Farfalla chairs, lovingly restored as a house warming gift. Custom blinds from Clearview Sun Control. Wall painted in Dulux Custom Grey/Green. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
The kitchen. Millimetre thin stainless steel barazza bench tops from Navi. MDF Italia Rock Table, Osso chairs and nerd barstools from Muuto. Cabinets painted in Dulux Custom Green/GreyPhoto – Caitlin Millsfor The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Frangipani tree, ‘Yes you can grow them in Melbourne!’ says Cara. Moooi Container outside table. Tait outdoor chairs. Landscape design by Ric Day. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Cara, Bella and Clifford at home in Armadale. Photo – Caitlin Millsfor The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Artwork by Pietro Capogreco. Park Bed. Behruz Studio custom silk rug. Missoni cushions from Safari Living. Bedside lights by Nemo Lighting. Mid-century glass vase, a family heirloom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Mid-century French coat stand from Miguel Meirelles Antiques, ‘always covered in PAQME raincoats and umbrellas. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Walk in robe joinery cubes in veneer with Dulux custom grey/green colour. All plumbing in the ensuite by Navi. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.
Terrazzo tiled walls. Carrara marble and basin from Navi. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.