Meow House


Meow house sits within the existing footprint of a 1960s building to provide an updated, inviting family home without reducing the outdoor area.  We completely replanned the existing warren of small rooms, creating a layout that suits the needs of a young family including a shift-worker and two indoor cats.

Built by an owner builder in the 1960s, the original orange brick building was affectionately described by our client as an ugly duckling.  It had some quirky details that they loved but the house was in disrepair and didn’t suit their needs.  Our brief was to design a home that allowed for family gatherings, ensured shift-work hours were not disruptive, included space for books and hidey-holes for the cats.

Maike Design dining room. Open timber shelves, brass pendant light. Minimal artwork. Indoor plants. Steel windows
Maike Design joinery cupboard. Cat, timber floors, dining table and upholstered chairs
Maike Design lounge room. pendant light, indoor plants and timber joinery. Vintage leather chair
Maike Design lounge room. Vintage lights, hallway, timber floors timber joinery

Without demolishing or extending the building we were able to completely alter the sense of what this home is and how it feels to occupy.

The design relocated services areas originally at the back of the house to the south of the building, giving clear access to natural light and the backyard.  This new space has been carefully zoned using open shelving to provide interconnected living areas.  An oversized central glass door allows the family to close the living space off from the cats and move freely between inside and outside.  When in the space, the cats have a highlight window ledge to sun themselves and watch the yard.  The ledge is accessed through a cupboard hidden in the kitchen joinery.

Maike Design kitchen. Open timber shelves, indoor plants, brass tapware, teracotta tiles, timber floors.
Maike Design kitchen and dining room. Open timber shelves, indoor plants, brass pendant light, teracotta tiles, timber floors.
Maike Design lounge room. Timber shelving, indoor plants. Boucle chair and ottoman.
Maike Design bathroom. Timber joinery and brass tapware. Green painted ceiling and terazzo floor tiles. Steel framed shower.
Maike Design bathroom. Timber joinery detail, white ceramics

The cues taken from existing materiality led to the incorporation of terrazzo, brass, terracotta, and a range of pastel colours. These have been re-imagined and incorporated in new ways to create a design that sits comfortably alongside the original and provides surprising moments throughout the house.

We have used design detailing, materiality and texture to add a tangible sense of the hand-made nature of the house.  The objective was not to perfect the imperfect old house, but to find and accentuate its charm to create a distinctive, warm family home.

Maike Design Bedroom with timber bedhead. Teracotta Linen and wool blanket
Maike Design bathroom. White tiles, timber joinery and brass tapware. Peach painted ceiling. Terazzo tiles
Maike Design mudroom. Bootroom. Benchseat. Terazzo floor. Timber joinery
Maike Design alfresco area. Timber cladding and ornage bricks. Steel framed windows, crazy paving
Styling: Beck Simon
Photos: Caitlin Mills