The story behind our Next Door Houses was covered in At Home magazine

“Tiny weatherboard houses once dotted Australia’s inner city and suburban streets, but as our hunger for bigger, and supposedly better, homes has increased, many of these so-called workers’ cottages have been demolished to make way for shiny, new structures, or extended so that they utilise every inch of the often sizeable blocks they were originally built on. This is something that has long troubled Melbourne-based illustrator and interior designer Mairead Murphy, who completed a Masters thesis on the topic.

“These little weatherboard houses were originally all throughout Melbourne and such a big part of the city’s history,” says Mairead.

“They were people’s first homes and so many of us have memories connected to them.  But they don’t have the character or the charm of the Victorian or the Georgians and they’re easy to get rid of, so they’re bulldozed and then up go townhouses.  It’s such a shame.”

Given Mairead’s passion for these weatherboard charmers, it’s not surprising that when she and her partner Pete Drake were finally in a position to buy a home, they snapped one up.  The house, in Melbourne’s hip Brunswick neighbourhood, was small by modern day standards, but the couple delighted in that.

They planned to renovate and refresh extensively, but to keep their footprint small so that they could enjoy some green space too.  The renovation went smoothly thanks in part to Mairead’s professional skills and the new family (son Flynn arrived in 2016), settled in well.  Their worker’s cottage was just one fo three left on the small suburban street where they lived and they were deeply proud of what they had achieved by preserving this little slice of history.  Then they learned the weatherboard house next door was to be sold – and they immediately panicked…” 

See it here.

Maike Design backyard. Charcoal painted weatherboard and cedar cladding. Black painted pergola and grape vines. Concrete pavers in lawn