A Forest-Like Makeover For A Poky Victorian Sharehouse
Shared by two siblings and their friend (a mental health worker, water conservation specialist and AFLW coach respectively), the inhabitants of this Kensington house found the original layout too cramped for three adults and their separate lives. They’d been waiting five years to see if the house would be compulsorily acquired for the East West Link, so when they got the all-clear that it wouldn’t be, they engaged designer Kim Kneipp to work her magic on all the refurbishments they’d been putting off.
‘This house was suffering from all of the classic problems of an old Victorian weatherboard – small dark rooms with super high ceilings, sunken floorboards in need of re-stumping and a disjointed series of add-ons with varied ceiling heights and patched repairs,’ explains Kim. ‘A large part of our design process was to create storage and access systems to ensure everything had a place.’
Working entirely within the existing footprint of the house, Kim redefined the layout for better circulation between zones. An internal wall was cut back to let more courtyard light flood through the house and the kitchen was repositioned so it didn’t interrupt the flow from the front door to the rear.
Drawing on the floor to ceiling shelves Kim had designed for the house a few years previously, everyone settled on custom joinery as the major functional and aesthetic characteristic of the kitchen. And it has become the hero element of the whole design!
Naturally finished timber with a beautiful woodgrain is the dominant material, used in everything from shelving and cabinetry to range-hood cladding. Raw brass tapware and rail add a metallic contrast and will patina over time. A wooden ladder attached to the rail provides access to the ceiling height storage cupboard covered in white Laminex hover above the kitchen cabinetry.
The deepest part of the house is the laundry and bathroom sequence, which is connected to the kitchen via a sliding door. Here, the material expression shifts from timber to moss green Laminex to signal the change in zone. Benchspace stretches through into this transition space, meaning the kitchen can extend at mealtimes to accommodate all members of the house cooking at once.
This green palette continue through to the bathroom where olive square tiles from Artedomus clad the walls. (Funny story: This style was discontinued by the company, so one of the clients went on an Instagram deep dive and came across Adriana Hanna of Kennedy Nolan Architects who had used the exact tile in her own bathroom. She DM’d Adriana who had agreed to sell them her leftovers!)
From poky, dark Victorian to light contemporary home – this share-house has totally grown up!
While her website is under development, follow Kim’s latest projects on Instagram here.