A Textural North Warrandyte Family Home Immersed In Nature
Moving to new rental during the pandemic made Købn founder Sophie Matson and her partner Ben realise how much they loved engaging with nature at home.
‘We previously lived in a rental in Northcote with a beautiful big back garden,’ explains Sophie. ‘We had to move during the pandemic, and there were very few rentals available, [so] the house we moved into was completely soulless with stark white walls, astroturf, and a concrete backyard… The house and its stark garden made us realise how much we loved having nature around.’
After thoroughly researching the property market, Sophie and Ben planned on buying a home in the Warrandyte area. ‘We wanted a place that hadn’t been renovated for the purpose of sale — one in its original state so that we could truly make it our own, without ripping out a brand new kitchen,’ says Sophie.
There was nothing suitable for sale at the time, so Sophie and Ben did a letterbox drop to all relevant homes in the area that hadn’t sold in the last 10 years… and it worked! They were soon in negotiations to purchase a 1979 home owned by the one family for 40 years.
‘The house had clean lines, big windows, and a workable floor plan with enough space for our family. This allowed our renovations to avoid extending and moving walls,’ Sophie says. ‘The blessing of the situation was that we were able to purchase it privately, off-market during a time of rising prices and intense competition.’
A long settlement allowed Sophie to start designing the interiors, to be brought to life by Fraser Munro of Munro Builds. Fraser is known for creating softly textured spaces often featuring terrazzo surfaces, including bath house Sense of Self.
‘I created storyboards and renders of the interiors and met with Fraser Munro to see if it was possible to work on this project together,’ says Sophie. ‘He was totally onboard with the vision and brought with him a shared appreciation of the aesthetic as well as his extensive knowledge of finishes.’
The eventual renovation took seven months, including a complete update of the bathrooms featuring venetian plaster, antique brass, travertine, tinted reeded glass, and terrazzo tiles, alongside the original soft pink and sink.
Other works focused on improving the home’s efficiency: installing solar, disconnecting the underfloor heating, and removing the gas heater in the lounge.
‘We bagged all the brick walls as they were fairly raw bricks covered in 40 years of dust… This has also provided more insulation, filling gaps to the outside between the pine walls and log,’ says Sophie.
‘The bagging of the bricks feels sympathetic to local mudbrick interiors of that era.’
Outside, the exterior fascia boards and trims were painted, and Ben installed new downpipes, drainage, and tamed the overgrown garden.
Imperfections have been embraced, such as the sneaker footprints on the timber ceilings that remain from the initial install. ‘I’m thinking with the era and small circular tread they are Adidas Wimbledons. I love that this little bit of the story of the build of the house is still there’ says Sophie.
The overall palette is reminiscent of Sophie’s brand Købn, which showcases a similar use of muted pastel colours. ‘This colour palette has been my staple since uni days!’ Sophie admits.
In future, Sophie and Ben plan to renovate the kitchen, and replace the existing gas appliances.
Sophie, Ben, and their children Miette (12) and Arto (8) feel fortunate to wake up everyday in a home they love that is surrounded by nature.
Sophie adds, ‘Friends coming for the first time often say it feels familiar, like a home they would have gone to when they were younger. People walk in and instantly relax.’