Interior architect Edwina Glenn and her architect husband Ed, of Powell and Glenn, wanted their next home to be a ‘design challenge’.
They found it in a ‘derelict’ heritage art-deco pub in South Melbourne and over two years transformed it into an open, elevated home that doesn’t feel too precious.With three kids and a dog running around, Edwina and Ed knew they needed to balance elegant design with realistic liveability. They achieved this through a thoughtful selection of family-friendly finishes, neutral built-in elements and a few clever styling choices (like Double washable rugs!) that can be changed without significant cost in the future.
Edwina shares her tips below!
When it came to buying a new home for their family, Ed and Edwina Glenn — and architect and interior architect respectively — were looking for a design challenge.
But, they found space for their family hard to come by in their chosen area of South Melbourne. So, they turned their attention to scouring the commercial real estate market instead.
What they discovered was an un-renovated ‘derelict pub’ — exactly the design challenge they’d been looking for.
They embarked on a two year renovation, with Ed helming the architecture and master-planning, and Edwina focussing on interiors, joinery and furniture.
‘We really work best by acting as the client for one another’s architecture/interiors process,’ Edwina explains. ‘It has always been a good way to test the design.’
Together, they’ve created a joyful family home that perfectly encapsulates entertaining zones, private family zones and a studio for Edwina that engaged with the street. Below she shares her tips on how to balance elevated design with liveability:
For Edwina and Ed, a key priority was ensuring they were creating a home that would grow with them and their family over time.
‘I think it is very important to remember that kids grow so quickly, and their needs and tastes change constantly,’ Edwina explains. ‘I prefer to keep joinery, floor finishes and any built-in elements fairly neutral so that future changes can be made without significant cost.’
Soft white walls and dark green carpet in nine-year-old Frances’ bedroom are the perfect backdrop to host her current choice of colourful bedding and a playful squiggly rug from Double’s new kids collection, but also allow for simple switch-outs as her tastes mature.
When it came to the layout of the home, Ed and Edwina decided to create separate zones for entertaining, work, and to allow for privacy as the kids grow from children into teenagers.
‘The house continues to evolve the longer we are here,’ says Edwina.
A subtle combination of contrasting textures helps Ed and Edwina’s home achieve the tricky balance of elevated design, with a relaxed, liveable feel.
‘I was keen to introduce casual cane elements that reflected the beach proximity and the informality of the way we live,’ says Edwina. ‘But I was also keen to juxtapose the casualness against the steel and brass elements that reflected the pub’s commercial history.’
Edwina has also balanced her affinity for harder materials such as stone, timber and metals with rugs underfoot, which soften the spaces and provide visual contrast. Double’s Board Game rug in the living room is a robust, hard-wearing choice that adds a graphic element to the space.
Ed and Edwina designed their home together, but they were keen to get the kids involved in the decision making process too!
‘I was keen to get the kids input for their bedroom schemes, so they were excited about the move,’ explains Edwina. ‘They were all very emotionally attached to [their old house]”.
But, this didn’t mean unlimited scope. In order to maintain an elevated and liveable balance, Edwina treated this process like she would deliberations with any other interiors client; presenting the kids with options, and working within a clear concept.
Her advice is, ‘Get the kids involved and let them share their ideas with you, but also guide them gently with their choices, so it is a room that feels restful and also harmonious with the overall scheme.’
Any home, no matter how lovely, will face wear and tear — particularly with three kids and a dog running about.
It’s something Edwina kept in mind when choosing finishes for the home; ‘A non-negotiable was the deep emerald green wool carpet, that I knew would be very practical,’ she says.
Another non-negotiable was wooden floors, but as Edwina notes, ‘life with three kids and a dog is incredibly messy, and our floors take an absolute hiding’.
However, a room with hard floors and no rugs was also not an option. ‘I was very excited to be introduced to Double’s rugs,’ says Edwina. ‘You can just chuck them in the washing machine. It feels like a great way of getting a really inviting aesthetic without having to be too precious.’