Home Life Series

Inside the sustainable and thoughtfully designed family home of Torquay furniture makers Al and Imogen Roberts

This week on Home Life Series, we take you through the sustainable and thoughtfully designed Torquay home of Al and Imogen Roberts, the husband and wife duo behind furniture and lifestyle brand Al + Imo

The pair started their bespoke furniture business in 2015 in a bustling Melbourne share house, with the motto ‘good design for good people’. Now they focus on custom bedroom furniture made from locally sourced Australian hardwood and a commitment to quality and functionality. 

The business and life partners have now set their sights on crafting not just furniture but also their dream family home. With a toddler, newborn and fur baby in tow, the pair have completed a 7.5-star, energy-efficient family home with Al completing all of the carpentry himself. 

Keep reading for Imo’s tips on creating the perfect bedroom colour palette, the secret to nailing a serene Japandi-style bathroom, and some super-simple hacks to make your home more sustainable.

Hi Al and Imo! We’re so excited to take a peek inside your Torquay family home. First up please tell us a little bit about yourselves and who lives here with you.

G’day, Imo here, welcome to our home it’s so nice to have you here. We are the husband and wife duo behind the furniture & lifestyle brand AL + IMO. We have two beautiful daughters Marigold “Goldie” 3rys and Daisy 10mths and a pup called Edwina.

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In 2015, you turned your passion project into your now full-time job and business, selling custom made timber furniture. Talk us through this incredible journey and what inspired you to take on this adventure?

It started when we were in our 20’s, we lived in a share house in Melbourne and were looking for a king-size bed frame for a mattress that we inherited. We couldn’t find anything we loved within our budget, Al being a carpenter thought he could make one… so one Sunday Al built us a bed frame in the carport of our share house in Elwood. He turned to me at the end of the day and said “That’s the best day’s work I’ve ever done”. We knew we were onto something so we started making furniture for family and friends, then eventually moved down to the surf coast to give starting the business a good crack.

Imo is a designer with a background in digital marketing and Al a carpenter turned furniture maker, seems like the perfect duo! How did this dynamic work for the home build and did it make the process easier?

Before we met both of us always dreamt of building our own home, so of course that dream strengthened when we got together. The stars aligned and we bought a block of land in Torquay at the end of 2020. We found a local designer / builder Sherriff Constructions who helped bring our vision to life. Al did all of the carpentry in the house and together we designed the details and interiors. It’s been such a fun (exhausting) and creative project!

You both have done an amazing job at creating an all-electric, 7.5-star, energy-efficient family home. For those interested in transitioning to sustainable living, could you share some of the simple changes you've made in your home?

Foundations, floor plan, materials, insulation! A really simple and inexpensive area would be upgrading your insulation - we have gone to town on the insulation in our home and it’s created a really comfortable home, we rarely use heating or cooling… I’ve lived in Victoria for 14 years now and this is the first time I’ve lived in a comfortable home.

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We are in awe of your Japandi-Inspired ensuite. For those unfamiliar with this concept, could you please explain it briefly and share what inspired you to create this unique space?

I really loved the idea of creating bathrooms that felt like you were walking into a day spa… there’s no denying that we love timber and when I was researching for inspiration all of the images we loved seemed to feature a lot of timber. We decided to combine that with micro-cement for the wet areas which means we have grout-free bathrooms which is a dream when it comes to cleaning. When we were shopping for basins we couldn’t help but pick coloured concrete ones by Nood Co… why not have a bit of fun?!

We're in love with the colourful and joyful vibe in your girls' rooms! Could you share how you decided on these hues? Did the girls have a say in the colour choices?

Both Al and I had colourful bedrooms growing up as kids and we have such great memories so we wanted to have fun with the girl’s rooms. Goldie was 2 when we chose the colours and she wanted ‘lellow & pink’. I was pregnant with Daisy and when I was looking through swatches with the Tint Paint team and for some unknown reason orange and lilac stood out… it suits her though!

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