Since the day they got the keys in 2012, interior decorator Lauren Egan and commercial photographer Glenn Hester have been slowly updating their 1920s Preston home (nine kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD). 

‘We came in and ripped up the mouldy carpet, and then spent every spare moment for the next six months getting the house liveable,’ says Lauren.

The house required re-stumping, and the internal walls all needed replacing, but the couple enjoyed every moment. 

After an initial renovation in 2012, Lauren and Glenn engaged Project 12 Architecture in 2018 to design an extension, adding more living space, another bedroom and bathroom. Originally the couple were seeking a major overhaul, but after undertaking a career change and opening co-working and photography studio Council Street in Clifton Hill, they settled on a more modest design. Some compromises had to be made, but there was no budging on the terrazzo en suite, Anchor Ceramics kitchen tiles, and solid Concrete Collective bench tops! 

‘We revised our brief and Aimee and Louis [from Project 12] came back to us with this creative use of space that we could execute ourselves as owner-builders, and get our hands dirty where possible,’ Lauren says. ‘Their design has transformed our house from quaint to showstopper (we often have people drive by for a closer look!).’

Having completed an interior decoration course in 2018, Lauren undertook the interior design herself. One of her most inspired ideas was introducing a varied colour palette, eliminating all internal white walls in the process. 

‘There are eight paint colours we used throughout the house, some of them deep and bright, and some of them subtle and neutral,’ she says. ‘Because of the abundance of natural light, we used a muddy grey on the main living spaces in the old house, which pairs beautifully with the smoked oak floors, then we flipped this in the new lounge where the walls are tan and the floors concrete.’

Other colours reflect various natural elements outside the home, such as subtle dirty purples that reference established jacarandas in the front and back yards, and deep greens reflective of the property’s lush garden by Mud Office.

To keep costs down and add character, Lauren has sourced second hand furniture as much as possible, and is no rush to ‘finish’ the space. 

‘We’re at ease with filling our home overtime,’ she says. ‘I have a decent list of things I’d love to own, but there’ll be the right time and place to bring them into the fold.’

It’s an ongoing process, but Lauren hopes thoughtful changes they’ve made will see the house through another century. 

‘We’re hopeful that we’ve given this house a new lease on life, and it will last another 100 years!’ she says.

The dining room flows through to lounge through a timber-lined doorframe. Artwork above table by Guy Maestri which Lauren bought Glenn for his 40th, Potence Pivotante wall lamp. Pot by Anchor Ceramics. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs sourced from Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Hay shelving available through Cult Design. Objecto Eclipse lamp from Hub Furniture. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Being Grown Ups in the Grown Up Room!’ laughs Lauren. Glenn sits on Semana chair sourced from @cassermaison. Paper lantern by Hay. Shelving by Zuster. Curtains from Soft Studio, Sculpture on coffee table by Edit E. ‘Tipographico’ rug from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Though the tumbled travertine dining table is highly impractical for a young family (crumb vortex) it’s perfect in every other way, hosting all our friends and family,’ says Lauren. Artwork above table by Guy Maestri. Potence Pivotante wall lamp. Pot by Anchor Ceramics. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs sourced from Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Rounded tiles on the splashback by Anchor Ceramics. Cabinetry in Laminex Absolute Matte Black. Benchtops from Concrete Collective. Kitchen lighting from local manufacturer ELS. Burger the cat. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

“Smoked Oak” floors by Big River Timber. Woody shelves from Hay. Travertine table from Curated Spaces. Vintage Thonet dining chairs restored by Camberwell Cane. Eero Aarnio for Artek stools from @cassermaison restored by Daniel Love. Kitchen benches made by Concrete Collective. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Project 12 Architecture are friends of Lauren and Glenn’s and knew the couple’s love for entertaining, so they designed them the perfect kitchen for just that! Pots by Anchor Ceramics. Noda Horo kettle from CIBI. Stove and kitchen appliances from Ilve. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The best spot in the morning as the sun streams in the large window to the east. Benchtops from Concrete Collective. Cabinetry in Laminex Absolute Matte Black. Ceramics from Wingnut & Co, Mud Australia, CIBI and travel finds. Lemnos Riki wall clock from CIBI. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The “Grown Up Room” gets beautiful light in the afternoon. Paper lantern from Hay and Flos Parentesi lamp in corner. All furniture is vintage, including Cassina Maralunga couch, 1970s IKEA canvas, douglas fir chairs and chrome Alanda style coffee table. Rug from Halcyon Lake. Artwork by Rennie Ellis (who Lauren and Glenn love so much they named their child after him!). Linen curtains from Soft Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Tipographico’ rug from Halcyon Lake. Hearth made by Concrete Collective, vintage Maralunga couch sourced from Leonard Joel, vintage IKEA canvas armchairs. Small Viennese vase from Leonard Joel, sculpture from Edit E. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The transition between the original house and the renovation is demarcated with colour. Lush emerald green carpet in stairwell from Halcyon Lake. Lamp fashioned by Glenn from some old photography lighting kit. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

A corner of the back lounge room. Jardan couch and coffee table. Cane 9602 lamp by Gubi from In Good Company. Artwork by Michael Muir (‘purchased as a housewarming gift to ourselves, which in hindsight we definitely couldn’t afford, but you only live once!’ says Lauren). Sculpture on coffee table by Edit E. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Fossil stone plinth sourced from @cassermaison. Carpet from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage B9 Thonet chair restored by Camberwell Cane. Dove Grey linen by In Bed. Curtains by Soft Studio. Carpet from Halcyon Lake. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bespoke joinery to store all Lauren’s bits and bobs designed by Project 12 Architecture, finished with seat cushion in Raf Simon x Kvadrat Ria. Vase by Wingnut & Co. Dishes by Dinosaur Designs and Jessilla Rogers. Gatto Piccolo lamp by Flos. Mirror by Hay via Cult Design. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Curtains by Soft Studio. Vase by Wingnut & Co. Various ‘magpie’ finds from markets and antique dealers. ‘Rubn’ wall lights from Fred International. Linen from In Bed. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The colours in the north-facing main bedroom shift from dark grey to deep green depending on the light. Vases by Wingnut & Co. and Rara Studio. ‘Rubn’ wall lights from Fred International. Linen from In Bed. Kooky beside tables sourced from @cassermaison. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Study nook (‘which was invaluable in 2020 for all our at-home learning and artwork sessions,’ says Lauren). Original Featherston Scape chair found in hard rubbish in ruins and restored by upholsterer Fox Lancaster. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Rennie’s bedroom. Incy bed. Bedside by Tide Design. Oversized shuttlecock from @cassermaison. Abandoned and restored Danish Deluxe chair. Berber carpet from Halcyon Lake. Curtains by Soft Studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lightening Bolt mirror by Bride & Wolfe. Danish Deluxe chair salvaged from Lauren’s aunt’s verandah and brought back to life with a LOT of coats of oil. Bed found on Facebook Marketplace and powdercoated. Lamp from Retro Print Revival. Bedspread from IKEA and tie dyed by Lauren and Ailbe as a Covid activity. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘The ambling path to the front door was one of the first charming aspects that drew us to this property on first inspection,’ says Laren. ‘The garden has been a bit of a sanity saver throughout lockdown.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The ‘jewel in the crown’ according to Lauren. ‘We considered a basic, smaller tile on the wall, but decided to go baller and use the Fibonacci Abstrakt floor to ceiling.’ Print by Bobby Clark in reflection. Tapware by Kohler. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

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