High ceilings would be liked by A lot of people . But Australian couple Nigel Martin and Louise Clarke Necessary the extra headroom. Circus actors with Bamboozled Productions, the couple updated their 1890 bluestone cottage with an extension to allow lots of space for juggling, practicing show patterns and adapting to a constant stream of traveling actors.
The home is within, ahem, unicycling distance of the Adelaide central business district, and the couple collaborated closely with designer-builder Philip Monaghan to tailor it for their needs. But unlike the couple’s carefully orchestrated and practiced carnival patterns, the design procedure was more natural. “Home design is instinctual for me,” Clarke says. “I don’t have any established formula; I just go with what I think could work and hope for the best.”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Louise Clarke and Nigel Martin with their kids, Jai (age 16) and Onni (two)
Location: Norwood, South Australia
Size: 140 square meters (1,507 square feet); 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a home office
Price: Extension: $354,000 Australian (about U.S.$339,521); garden: $61,000 Australian (about U.S.$58,895)
The aim was to create a home that would be cozy and warm in the winter, yet cool in the summer — and of course would have room for Martin (shown here) to manage. “I think we could have been more experimental. I threw from the rammed-earth walls last moment, but I knew they’d work, and I love them,” says Clarke.
Sofa: Jardan; Persian rug: Kavir Rug Gallery; chairs: Flourish Gift and Home; side table: handmade, Council of Things; credenza: Danish, Hans J. Wegner; Roman dividers: Rainfords
A connected layout helps the relatives keep an eye on one another’s routines. Clarke, from the bathroom here, states, “I can stand at the kitchen chair and see Onni from the tub while conversing with Jai in the living room and others in the kitchen, and watch outside all at precisely the same time.” That’s Onni on the bench and Jai from the door.
Sink: Oliveria; sink fixture: Methven; couch: Jardan; tiles: Eco Tile Factory
The counters have been custom made using recycled jarrah timber, a very sustainable and durable hardwood from Western Australia. Windows help deliver northern lighting in.
Benchtops: Total Joinery
Philip Monaghan constructed the 10-seat dining table, windows and door frames from recycled jarrah.
Art: David Bromley, Flourish Gift and Home; kimono storage: Church Studios; pendant lighting: David Turbridge
Block-mounted circus posters have been clustered onto one main artwork wall in Jai’s room with a huge painting by Martin’s grandfather, Western Australian artist John Lunghi. Martin based on a drawing the painting as a boy.
Plantation shutters: Rainfords; jute rug: Ikea
This teenager’s retreat includes a loft bed, making extra space for audio and circus practice.
Pendant light: Ikea
The music room includes built-in storage for circus gear and a foldout bed for guests.
Rug: hand-tufted Persian, Kavir Rug Gallery
The master bedroom features original hardwood floors, a traditional Victorian fireplace and ceiling roses, an Indian bedspread and a Chinese brush painting.
Nighstands: Like Butter; table lamps: Ikea
The contemporary bathroom includes Moroccan-style wall tiles in a stunning shade of turquoise and a hand-crafted silver-plated light colour. The floor tiles are rough-cut slate.
Tiles: Eco Tile Factory; fixtures: Methven; basin: Villeroy & Boch
The home office is a transitional room between the old cabin and the brand new extension at the back. It was the original lounge room and has a combustion woodstove.
The couch and trestle table are secondhand locates, and the storage cabinet is a classic painted Tibetan cabinet. The art is by John Lunghi.
Rug: Birds of Passage; wall stencil: Scandinavian Design Center; chairs: Hans Wegner replicas, Church Studios
As frequent travelers residing in a drought-prone region, Martin and Clarke had a self-sufficient garden with drought-tolerant plants. The couple worked with designer Caroline Dawes and Stuart McHaffie of Garden Partner to create a low-maintenance landscape fed by rainwater tanks.
The couple wanted the layout of the garden to reflect the home, so the decks and collecting areas are all placed at different angles and use many unique materials.
When Clarke is not on the road, her favourite spot to be is to the patio, sitting on a beanbag with the fire lit and looking back at the home. “I always think I live here; that’s amazing; it is beautiful,” she states.
A small courtyard connects the main home with a fourth bedroom, currently setup as a music room. The main bathroom also overlooks this personal courtyard.
Corrugated iron, a classic Australian construction material, partially clads the new extension. Hebel was also used as cladding because of its insulating qualities. The window frames were all made by Philip Monaghan by hand from recycled jarrah timber.
The symmetrical bluestone outside is heritage listed and has a distinctive California bungalow gate. Wisteria paths over the classic Australian veranda.
See more photos of the home