Carole Whiting spent 20 years producing television commercials while moonlighting as her architect husband’s design sidekick. Eight years ago, she finally signed on full time with his firm. Several design awards, a white-hot laundry room—and a divorce—later, Whiting now runs her own busy South Melbourne design studio leading a team of four.
We happened upon her stylishly practical interiors on Instagram and asked to see more. Here’s a favorite recent project: a new chapter for a compact historic house belonging to a recently married artist and builder and their blended family. The challenges: balancing tradition and modernity, creating order and flow, and keeping the look clean, all Whiting’s specialities.
Photographs by Jack Shelton, unless noted, courtesy of Carole Whiting Interior Design.
“The people who sold the house were builders who did a quick fix to patch it up for sale,” Whiting tells us. “They pretty much plastered everything up and put in cheap fittings.” Soma and Tom, she reports, plan to stay put and wanted to reinstate a classical look while incorporating “the requisites of modern domestic life.”
For a sense of openness, she removed the wall that cut off the entry from what became the kitchen. On the left, three-quarter-height pantry cabinets serve as a partition between kitchen and dining room. On the opposite wall, Whiting inserted a combination powder room and laundry—originally two small rooms converted into one and camouflaged behind a central paneled door with the same trio of peg handles as the pantry cabinets.
Tom, the builder-owner, loves brick and laid the back wall himself using recycled materials. “There was quite a debate about keeping the brick color,” says Whiting. “I wanted to paint it white. In the end, we left it and I really love it—sometimes you need to be open to input.”
The walls are offset by two colors “and no others”: Dulux’s Grey Pebble, shown here on the ash island, puts in an appearance in every room, and all of the house’s dark accents are in a custom-mixed charcoal.
Whiting notes the dining room furniture—classic bentwood chairs and the owner’s vintage table—is “lightweight to prevent overcrowding.” The pine flooring was wire brushed for texture and finished in a gray to counter the yellowing and “give it more of an oak vibe.”
Three more inspired Aussie remodels:
- Sunny Side Up: A Victorian Makeover in Melbourne
- Steal This Look: A Small and Neat Kitchen
- A Laid-Back Courtyard Kitchen Where ‘Family Life Unfolds’
Frequently asked questions
Who was the designer of the small house remodel in Melbourne?
The small house remodel in Melbourne was designed by Carole Whiting Design.
What was the main goal of the small house remodel?
The main goal of the small house remodel was to enhance the space of a small house and make it more functional.
What were some of the design challenges that Carole Whiting Design faced during the remodel?
The design challenges that Carole Whiting Design faced during the remodel included limited space, structural constraints, and a tight budget.
What were some of the design solutions that Carole Whiting Design employed to overcome the challenges of the remodel?
The design solutions that Carole Whiting Design employed to overcome the challenges of the remodel included maximizing the use of space, creating a cohesive design scheme, using natural light to create a sense of openness, and using a palette of materials that were cost-effective.
What were some of the design elements that Carole Whiting Design used to enhance the space of the small house?
Some of the design elements that Carole Whiting Design used to enhance the space of the small house included custom cabinetry, built-in storage, multifunctional furniture, and strategically placed mirrors.
What was the result of the small house remodel?
The result of the small house remodel was a space that felt open, bright, and functional. The use of cohesive design elements and strategic use of space made the small house feel like a larger and more inviting space.
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