Mi Casa è Su Casa!
There was quite a bit of hype around our first house while we were on M.K.R which went as far as a few papparazzi trying to steal some shots for publication. With our new home we decided we would lay out the welcome mat and invite our lovely followers and anybody interested in our design inside through our home build blog! I always have questions on social media about where I found various pieces from photos that I post, so we have also linked some of our amazing suppliers for each section of the house.
"Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination..." Ok, there are no oompa loompa's here, just a beautiful 4 bedroom family home built the way Gianni and I like it. If you have any questions please comment below and I will get back to you all!! Enjoy lovelies xxx
Our house was always going to be a modern looking build. To maximise the living spaces internally we wanted as much natural light as possible but building in City of Port Phillip right to the boundary of our lot we had to get creative with the design of the floor plan. We manage to keep the bedrooms all upstairs with living downstairs but the flexibility of an optional ground floor bedroom with ensuite. We used every inch of our yard to squeeze in some grass, a lap pool, water tank and al fresco dining area.
Having a rear laneway was a huge positive and allowed us to build a self-contained studio bedroom complete with kitchenette and ensuite above our double car garage. We wanted to keep the palate monochrome inside and out which meant white rendered exterior, aluminium cladding, black powder-coat framed doors and custom built charcoal louvres on the facade that are able to be adjusted electronically to capture the daily sun.
Our front fence was my design, and was the talking point of many neighbours! It is actually made of cypress pine which is pretty inexpensive, sourced from a local supplier which was then cut to our size requirements. Our painters stained and tinted the timber and our carpenter installed each individual batton into the black steel frame for a beautiful natural finish which was still earthy and modern.
Louvres Supplied By: Sunlite
Timber Fence Supplied By: Demak Timber
Our Kitchen Rules:
It goes without saying that the heart of any European's home is their kitchen. It is no secret either that Gianni and I love our cooking (but no, we don't cook for 12 friends every night with a big red countdown timer and twenty cameras). Thus it was extremely important for us to have a lot of space in our kitchen and to have the very best of high-end appliances that will stand the test of time.
Our kitchen design followed the modern monochrome palette but it was in this space where my love for copper began. We went out personally with our stone mason to his suppliers to pick out the exact slab of marble we wanted for our bench. We knew the grand island bench would be a statement piece in the home and had to be big enough for me to roll out pastries! We stumbled across a black granite piece that was gorgeous with flecks of copper and white and throughout. A white calcutta piece was 'messy' with flecks of black and gold but proved perfect as a splashback to complement the bench. Our stone mason is the best in the business; incredibly talented and we are thrilled with his workmanship. See also the work they did on our outdoor BBQ!
When it came time for appliances we spared no expense, but certainly saved plenty of money shopping around! We of course went with Gaggenau products as they are functionally beautiful, range-topping and seem to never die. My mother-in-laws 20 year old Gaggenau cook-top still works a treat! We bought our larger appliances including integrated fridge, dishwasher, cooktop, rangehood and ovens from Fesal. They are a family owned and operated Italian company that stock all of the best European brands in ovens, stove tops, fridges, furniture, tapware; you name it. They even supplied our copper kitchen pendants so check out their website below!
E and S Trading supplied us with our incredible dual zone undercounter Vintec wine fridge (perfect for both reds and whites). They also provided one of the favourite parts of our kitchen; our matte black Zip Tap which has boiling hot water, filtered chilled drinking water and even chilled sparkling water on demand! Most people would think it is not necessary but it has quickly become something we can't live without. To complement our copper and black theme we found the rest of our tapware from Phoenix in Australia.
Marble & Granite Installed By: Eaglestone Creative
Copper Chandeliers Supplied By: Fesal
Gaggenau Ovens, Stove, Fridge, Rangehood, Dishwasher Supplied By: Fesal
Zip Tap Supplied By: E&S Trading
Vintec Wine Fridge Supplied By: E&S Trading
Kitchen Sink Tap Supplied By: Phoenix Tapware
Horsing Around Inside:
From the front door entry of our house you instantly notice the dark timber stained floorboards and the light flooding in from the back yard with a glimpse of the grand marble island bench. A few steps inside though and you find the rest of the main living room connected to the beating heart, that is, the kitchen. Here we kept it open plan and with as much light as possible flooding in from the backyard by day and from the pool and garden lights by night. The dining table from Sokol Furniture sits centre-stage and a huge 6 seater Plush Living 'Zara' sofa is proudly opposite the television, which is mounted on an automated electronic bracket from Multibrackets above the gas fireplace to swing toward the kitchen. Our flashes of copper continued here with a custom made 2 meter floor mirror and tub chair from Cocolea complementing again the same beautiful black granite on the fireplace surround.
But yes, the elephant in the room, which is actually not an elephant at all; is a life size black horse lamp which has been a talking point for many of our friends (and actually photographed on their snapchat, instagram and facebook much more than it should have). The Italian Stallion (yes, Gianni named it) fit perfectly under the stairs and almost enviously looks out over the little lap pool. Our beautiful artwork from Melbourne's own Brent Rosenberg gets just as much photographic attention though it seems. We opted for wireless surround sound throughout our house with the new Sonos range; including flush mounted ceiling speakers, central TV bar, play 3 and subwoofer all wirelessly connected and controlled via iPhone or on either of the two iPad's. It allows us to dance around the house to the same songs in any room at any time.
Copper Furniture Supplied By: Cocolea
Marble Fireplace Supplied By: Eaglestone Creations
Black Zara Sofa Supplied By: Plush Furniture
Artwork Supplied By: Brent Rosenberg
Surround Sound Speakers Supplied By: Sonos
Electronic TV Bracket Supplied by: Multibrackets
Black Dining Table and Chairs Supplied By: Sokol Furniture
The Great Wall of Gianni
Given the boundary-line construction of the house we had to incorporate some set-backs and a little courtyard. Set beside our kitchen it allows natural light and a bit of outdoor space to enjoy Melbourne's (albeit intermittently) glorious weather. A small space big enough for some rocking chairs for breakfast we had to maximise the area and wanted to incorporate as much nature as possible; so Gianni went crazy with a vertical garden wall from Atlantis GroWall. The product comes flat-packed in plastic but once assembled makes for an amazing alternative to conventional gardening. Gianni put this one together over two days including fully automated self-watering irrigation pipes throughout and over 250 plants including edible herbs like parsley, lemon thyme and oregano! The burst of greenery brightens up the modern mono-chrome kitchen and allows a bit of the outdoors inside (comfortably).
Atlantis GroWall4 Supplied By: Atlantis
Outdoor Furniture Supplied By: Sokol Furniture
The Home-Office Life Cycle
The front room of our house is large and flexible enough to be a spacious home office or a ground floor bedroom with its own ensuite and porch. For now it is an office, with a few stylish statement pieces of furniture from Sokol and artwork from Gold Coast up and coming artist Antony Pieters. The master-piece in this room though is my Copper-Co bike; all hand-refined in Melbourne, a copper electroplated bike built with high-end components brought in from all around the world. All bikes are engraved with the bikes sequence number and a message (yes mine says Zana Xoxo). This bike is so beautiful it gets everyone looking; but it's also such quality that even the St Kilda cycling team would envy it. Did I mention it is copper and matches my house?
Office Desk Supplied By: Sokol Furniture
Copper Bike Supplied By: Copper Bikes and Co
Artwork Supplied By: Antony Pieters
Our Big, Little Backyard
With not much space on our block left for a backyard we had to maximise every single inch and that we did. Not many houses in our suburb can boast having grass, let alone a lap pool! Yes it is a small plunge pool but with gas heating to up to 40 degrees it is the perfect hot spa for winter nights or cold pool for summer days. Behind it is a full-size, custom-built, retractable clothes line and across the stepping stones of the grass is an even more impressive but equally customized 5 burner BBQ. Our amazing stonemason built us a beautiful granite surround for what was originally a mobile Beefeater 5 burner gas BBQ and outdoor bar fridge. Bring a Sonos speaker outside and the concrete dining table under the cover of the awning above is the perfect al-fresco entertaining area with whatever weather Melbourne throws at you.
Beefeater Mobile BBQ Supplied By: E&S Trading
Beefeater Outdoor Fridge Supplied By: E&S Trading
Outdoor Furniture Supplied By: Sokol Furniture
Black Granite Surround Supplied By: Eaglestone Creations
Time for Bed?
Climbing up the staircase beside the courtyard you are greeted with plenty of natural light. Upstairs there is a small children's retreat/second living room and three large bedrooms, all with built in wardrobe cabinetry and wall mounted slimline TV's. The master bedroom has its own small balcony retreat with glimpses of the city lights through the trees. With floor to ceiling glass in all bedrooms though, by far the most important part of our bedrooms are the electronic operated block-out blinds. We sourced ours from Brad at Autoblinds and at the touch of a button from the remote or your phone you can turn 9am daylight into 9pm darkness (think of it as a really good snooze button in the morning). We used these blinds all throughout our house, in either full blockout or sheer, as its important to protect the stained wood floors from constant harsh UV exposure.
To maximise the space of the front bedroom we decided against a walk-in-robe. We utilised some beautiful CocoLea Copper Tallboys as both a bed-head and wardrobe! With my fashion obsession I wanted to have all my best clothes sleeping in a beautiful glass box right behind me; our custom built cabinetry complete with grey timber internals and led lights was made by CV Cabinets who also did all of our kitchen and cabinetry throughout the house! They are truly amazing. They did a great job too in squeezing a fully functioning kitchenette in our studio including a cooktop, rangehood, micro-oven, fridge, sink, built-in bin and storage; shall I go on?
Copper Chandeliers Supplied By: Fesal
Copper Furniture Supplied By: Cocolea
Electronic automated Blinds Supplied By: AutoBlinds
Robes and Cabinetry Supplied By: CV Cabinets
Bedsheets Supplied By: The Private Collection
First Run the Bath
All of the four bathrooms (and laundry) in our house feature the same top quality, large floor-to-ceiling porcelain tiles. It is important to spend money on good tiles and waterproofing in wet areas! Equally important to have benchtops that are easy to clean and that aren't porous or prone to stains. Our stonemason found us these Ceaserstone benchtops with undermounted sinks, easiest benches you will ever clean, full-stop. The colours worked perfectly tying together the earthy tones of the travertine look tile with the black and copper tapware and towel rails from Phoenix. All bathrooms feature a huge mirror (after all, its called a vanity mirror) and a frameless glass shower with built-in shelf. What more could you ask for in a bathroom? Oh, right, I also asked for a huge oval bathtub!
We owe a huge thank you to all of our suppliers who are mentioned on this page and who helped make this dream home become a reality. Everybody has their own style, so even if you don't like ours, I am sure they can help with yours! We have the perfect family home now; maybe it is time to start filling these bedrooms up with some little munchkins?
Email me if you have any questions at all!