The Design Files - Alex

A Home Of Joy and Light, With The Design Files

Our Co-founder Alex took Annie Portelli from the Design Files on a tour through her joyfully warm and inviting St Kilda property. Alex and partner Bobby share. the home with nine-month old Quincy. Heres what they had to say! Check out the full article: here Photos by – Caitlin Mills.
Paintings are by Nancy Nodea and Peggy Patrick from the Warmun Art Centre, ‘both artists are from the Kimberley and work in traditional style, including using ochre from the local area.’

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.43.06 pm Five years after purchasing this 1910’s house in a leafy pocket of St Kilda, Alex McCabe of Kip&Co and family undertook a total rebuild of their home. No mean feat! Executed by architect Michael McManus of McManus Lew Architects, renovations included extending the footprint of the house, creating a large open kitchen and living area, and introducing natural light with new windows and skylights.

 Alex describes the home as ‘light, bright and personable’ – and we can only agree! The new design deliberately brings the outside into the house, with huge floor to ceiling glass doors. The styling is eclectic and fun – Alex explains her approach as underpinned by the philosophy that ‘too much is never enough!’ She highlights ‘there is no strict style, period or colour palette in the house, just a collection of pieces that make me happy and treasures I’ve picked up along the way.’ Of course, Kip&Co pieces are smattered through the home, lending texture, colour and personality. Beloved treasures include a triptych the family commissioned from Fred Fowler, which runs the length of the living area. Alex explains, ‘it somehow creates a sense of space rather than closing it in, which is really beautiful.’ The eye-catching crocodile bamboo quartz splash-back (!) is identified by Alex as ‘the biggest statement in the home.’ This incredible addition looks like an artwork, but comes from deep underground, in Brazil. Alex explains how ‘having a beautiful new kitchen made me want to stay home and cook – that’s a really awesome part of our lives now.’ Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.43.15 pm Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.42.45 pm The families new living style is enhanced by their new-found love of St Kilda. Alex highlights that as ‘a bit of a south-side convert, I like to think this hood is as ‘north’ as you can get this side of the river.’ With the St Kilda Botanical Gardens and foreshore walking distance away, the local neighbourhood becomes their backyard over the summer.

 The renovation process itself was a joy for Alex and family, with the only niggle being remaining within budget. Alex admits, ‘I am not very good at sticking to one!’ While the budget may have blown out… this home is incredibly successful in capturing and celebrating the identity of its inhabitants. Alex explains ‘I like homes that really reflect the personality of the people living in them, and tell a bit of their story.’ This story is one of sheer joy and over-the-top enthusiasm – we love it!

   The hanging garden is one of Alex’s greatest green thumb achievements ‘though it’s on a watering timer so I can claim no credit’. Black and white vase on shelf by Claire Johnson. Jimmy the Wheaten Terrier in the background! The pink concrete bench by Rutso stands out, ‘the one thing I absolutely wanted for the house and love it’, Alex tells. Crocodile bamboo quartz splashback, found by Bobby and Alex peeking out from a dusty corner of a stone warehouse in Melbourne. Aged brass cabinets ‘roughed up” by Alex and Bobby with some apple cider vinegar. Black paper maché vase from India. Blue and white Italianate ceramic pot handed down from Alex’s grandma. A mix of European pottery and Indian paper maché vases on the shelf. Custom-made stools by Jason Blake. Mud AustraliaPebble Bowl Large in Slate used as a fruit bowl.