Remember the days when children and their neighbours played on the street after school? While this might feel like a distant memory right now, it is a big part of what drew Catherine Keating’s to this close knit neighbourhood in Northcote. The public health professional and her husband Chris recognised this tight community feel from the outset when visiting their future home – a lifestyle they were seeking for their growing family. ‘On our first inspection, young kids from the street were practicing songs for the street Christmas party outside our (future) house. That was it!’ Catherine says. 

The couple moved into this Edwardian house in 2012 when their daughter Magnolia (now 8 years old) was a baby, and while Catherine was pregnant with Holly (now 7). Five years later, they decided to renovate, engaging Clare Cousins Architects to design the project. 

The brief to the architects was for a light-filled house with lofty ceilings and contrasting natural materials. The idea was to strike the perfect balance between practical and beautiful, with nothing too ‘noisy’. Catherine says, ‘We demolished an old lean-to, built a new space at the rear orientated to catch the north light, and gave the existing Edwardian building some love.’

A delightful detail is the new dining nook, which Catherine says was designed to ‘replicate the feeling when you are lucky enough to get allocated the bench seating at your local cafe!’ Added character has been introduced through the styling, including many treasured pieces from the family’s travels. ‘Can you ever have too many small bowls?’ Catherine asks. (No!)

The garden was also fully redesigned by Kate Patterson (KPLA) during renovations to facilitate a closer connection between indoors and out. Catherine finds particular beauty in the quiet tangle of textured natives.

The exterior of the new build is painted with Dulux Colorbond Surfmist (‘It’s a great colour – a bit of a chameleon that changes colour with the day,’ says Catherine), whilst the original Edwardian façade is Dulux Whisper White, and the interior is Natural White.

To this day, the friendly neighbourhood location (a cul-de-sac where it’s okay to block the road for children to play!) remains one of Catherine’s favourite things about this home. Her connection with the house itself has become deeper and more emotional as a result of COVID-19, with every room taking on a new job. ‘The house has needed to be flexible lately suddenly with two parents working at home and two kids learning at home,’ Catherine says. ‘I am grateful for the sanctuary, and my focus has shifted to find joy and comfort in the small things.’

Painting by Bugai Whyoulter. ‘Ivy’ coffee table by Grazia + Co. Wilfred lounge chairs by Jardan. Bashiri Imports hamper basket. ‘Lean’ lamp by Örsjö Belysning. Ross Gardam ‘Polar’ wall light. Dulux Surfmist exterior paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Catherine Keating at home in Northcote. ‘Lampe De Marseille’ by Le Corbusier. ‘Bobby’ stools by Daniel Tucker Design. Screenprint by Spacecraft. Custom in-built seating nook by Grazia + Co. Custom table made by the house builders using a Rosa Borba marble slab. Penelope Duke mug. Floor runner by Brita. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Møller #26 dining table by Great Dane Furniture. Mud platter. 170 Dining Chairs by Takahashi Asako. ‘w103 sempé’ hanging lights by wästberg. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Møller #26 dining table by Great Dane Furniture. Mud platter. 170 Dining Chairs by Takahashi Asako. ‘w103 sempé’ hanging lights by wästberg. Ross Gardam ‘Polar’ wall light. Anchor Ceramics planter. Enzo sofa by Jardan. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Wilfred chairs and Enzo sofa by Jardan. Ross Gardam ‘Polar’ wall light. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Planter by Anchor Ceramics. Dulux Surfmist exterior paint. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Miele appliances. Dinesen floorboards in Douglas Fir. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Maggie Green painting purchased from our TDF Collect exhibition earlier in the year! HAY mirror. Bemboka blanket. Dulux Natural White wall paint. Leaf and Thread ‘Teracotta’ planter. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Arne Vodder sideboard. Dulux Natural White wall paint. Bemboka blanket. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Rainbow Mountain’ bedsheets by Halcyon Nights. Pillowcase by Shuh Lee. ‘Form’ lamp by Milligram. Ikea side table. Plyroom bed.  Armadillo ‘Ballerina’ rug. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Marimekko towels. ‘Stoneclay’ silt floor tiles by Signorino. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Planter by Anchor Ceramics. ‘Click’ outdoor dining chairs by Houe. Photo – David Mitchener.

The facade of this charming home with a white picket fence is painted with Dulux Whisper White. Left photo  – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Right photo – David Mitchener.

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