The island bench is a feature, whether viewed from inside or out. Pictures: Greta Costello PhotographySource:Supplied
There aren’t many homes that can boast a pink concrete island bench, but then again, this homeowner’s world revolves around colour.
“I had my heart set on pink, even though it was a bit out there,” said Alex McCabe, co-founder of vibrant homewares brand Kip&Co. “I love it, but you have to be willing to take the risk.”
The architect who designed the renovation of her St Kilda home, Michael McManus, agreed the pink island bench was a brave choice but he wasn’t surprised at how well it turned out.
“Embracing an eclectic collection of finishes reflects (Ms McCabe’s) personality and makes the renovation unique and full of life,” he said.
The island bench’s hue is a creative departure from the norm.Source:Supplied
Ms McCabe bought her house in 2010 and while she liked the small cottage, it was its position in a cul-de-sac with only 18 houses in it that sealed the deal.
“The street is really cute with a tiny park and canal and we look out to a little bridge,” said Ms McCabe, who is mum to baby daughter Quincy.
“I’d never seen a little spot like it before. The back yard had a massive gum tree and I thought it really felt like a home and not just a house in the middle of the city.”
When the time came to renovate, she and partner Bobby Babb knew they wanted to keep the front facade but create a more open and modern space in the rear, as well as improve the heating and cooling in the house.
“Everyone has this list, I’m sure, but I wanted lots of natural light and a home that was really warm in winter and cool in summer,” Ms McCabe said.
The house now features a modern space at the rear. Artwork: Fred FowlerSource:Supplied
Along with bringing in more light and a sense of space, Mr McManus, of McManus Lew Architects, also focused on storage and areas for his client to showcase her art collection, including a 5m long artwork by Fred Fowler.
Ms McCabe put her years of experience at Kip&Co, a company synonymous with bright colours and unique prints, to good use by planning all of the interiors.
Her two must-haves were the pink island bench and brass kitchen cabinets, which the couple aged themselves with apple cider vinegar.
One of her favourite elements in the home is the stone she found in the back of a stone warehouse in Thomastown. The crocodile bamboo quartzite now has a special place as the splashback in the kitchen.
“It was at the very back of the warehouse all covered in dust and no one wanted it,” she said. “It is amazing that it came out of the ground because it really looks like a piece of art.”
The splashback stone was found at the back of a warehouse in Thomastown.Source:Supplied
The drawback to having a house with only two bedrooms is there are not enough beds for Ms McCabe to drape in her bright collection of Kip&Co bed linen.
That said, she has more than made up for it with plenty of colour elsewhere.
“I don’t go in with a specific brief or style or colour palette. I just pick colours and pieces along the way that I really love,” she said, adding the final outcome was a bit of a surprise.
“I’m amazed at how well it came together, but at the same time if one person is picking everything and has a particular taste, then it really should work.”
Purple adds vibrant colour to a bathroom.Source:Supplied
One of the most pleasant surprises of the renovation for Ms McCabe was the sense of space in what is still a relatively small home.
“I’ve never felt claustrophobic. It’s intimate, but it feels spacious at the same time, which is perfect for us,” she said.
For Mr McManus, the interaction between the home and the outdoor space was the element he was most pleased with.
“A favourite aspect would be the sliding doors that are able to completely retract away to open the interior out to the garden,” he said. “Also, the angular deck that invites the garden into the house.”
Now the home was complete, Ms McCabe said she still couldn’t define her style, but simply described it as “colourful and eclectic”.
Her collection of art pieces and curios come from different places — picked up on holidays, given as gifts or inherited. “They are all different eras but the common element is that I love each of them,” she said.
The butler’s pantry has been brightened with green tiles.Source:Supplied
Originally published asPretty in pink — a kitchen with a difference