Seven years ago, friends alerted Jake Cassar (travel designer and chef) and Naomi Jankowski (acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner) to a house for sale in Pascoe Vale South. The couple weren’t overly familiar with the area, and the house was pretty run down, dark and slightly creepy (‘It reminded us of a David Lynch film!’ Jake says) but it had plenty of potential, so they decided to go for it. ‘We’ve been thankful every day since!’ Jake says.

This 1950s house is located on a spacious block that feels a little like a beach house, despite being just 10 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. Rumour has it it was originally owned by one of Melbourne’s football clubs as a party house! ‘We think it was the North Melbourne Football Club, but would love to find out for sure!’ Jake says. 

Not long after moving in, Naomi and Jake renovated the kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, deck, and landscaped the backyard. They started landscaping when Naomi with pregnant with their first child, Otis. ‘The classic mistake!’ Jake jokes (kind of). The added pressure of a planned home birth meant that the couple put off the remainder of the renovations until after the baby was born.  ‘We’ve done quite a lot of work to the place and it’s really paid off,’ says Jake. ‘We tried to keep with the heritage of the house and go with a vintage Palm Springs feel, which stemmed when we painted the pool influenced by Hockney.’

The property’s garden and new pool (hand painted by Jake’s sister Kayla and architect Murray Barker!) have been especially big hits since the arrival of Otis (now 6) and Sonny (3).  ‘We really value all the space and love spending time in the garden with the kids,’ Jake says. ‘Summer nights feel dreamy as well, sitting on the deck with friends and watching the sun set over the pine trees.’

A fresh paint job has also given the entire place a lift, featuring Dulux Quilt Quarter in the bathroom and Surf Mist on the exterior.

Jake, Naomi, Otis and Sunny’s home really is the epitome of the dream – a character-filled home close to the city that feels like it could be in the country or at the beach.

After all that 2020 has brought, Jake and Naomi now seek a sea change down the coast and have recently decided to put this heavenly home up for rent. ‘The space is perfect for a design savvy family or even a small work from home business where the fourth room downstairs could be used as a studio with home office’, Jake says.

If you’re looking for a little Palm Springs vibe in Pascoe Vale South, check out the listing here!

Check out Jake’s work and travel blog! 

The rough brick wall was the central inspiration for all the decorating. The Sputnik chandelier was purchased from California and shipped. Hanging above the fireplace is a photograph taken by Jake on a family holiday to Europe when Sonny was 3 months old. ‘We hired an Airbnb in the famous pink palace by Ricardo Bofill in the south of Spain, and this was the view we stared at every day as we got to know our little boy,’ says Jake. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The statement wall contains protruding single protruding bricks, which act as perfect shelves. Vase by Iggy & Lou Lou. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A chair originally purchased by Naomi’s parents before being handed down to the couple. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Large bi-fold doors open the lounge room out onto the rear deck. ‘The massive pine trees give the feeling of being in the treetops from our living room,’ says Jake. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The threshold contains artwork by an unknown artist from Barcelona, purchased right off the wall from an Airbnb! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The Cassar and Jankowski family: Naomi, Otis, Jake and Sonny! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Jake wanted his kitchen to give off industrial vibes, but minus the stainless steel! The mint green cabinetry was made by a friend. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A small snippet of the food library the family has been collecting for years. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Our boys love animals and travel, as they have been on planes travelling the world since they were born. Otis has been to 30 countries!’ This jetsetting attitude is reflected in their rooms. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sonny + Otis’ bedroom overlooking the garden. The artwork was purchased from the artist on Groote Eylandt, an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The bathroom was designed around the original pink terrazzo tiles. Pots from Pop and Scott. Bjorn mirror by Middle of Nowhere. Jake’s own photograph. Walls painted with Quilt Quarter by Dulux. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jake and Naomi’s bedroom. The bedlinen is a mixture of Gorman and Atelier Bingo. Walls painted with Ivory Peach paint from Dulux Singapore. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The couple have installed a David Hockney-inspired pool hand painted by Jake’s sister Kayla and architect Murray Barker, which overlooks a public park filled with old gums. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The backyard landscaping was done by Paul Armour at High Tide Landscapes, who brought in orange toned rocks from a quarry in neighbouring Keilor. Jake did all the planting, installing a mixture of Australian natives, cactus and fruit trees. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jake feeding the chickens. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Owing to the sloping block, Jake and Naomi decided to put the vegetable patch at the front of the house rather than the back. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

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