The Warmth Within
Founder of Boost Juice, Janine Allis and her husband, Jeff, have turned their Melbourne property into a beautiful home where every family member has their own space – and there’s plenty of it!
Knowing how hard it is to find a gorgeous home that can also accommodate the needs of a large family, Janine and Jeff decided to renovate a perfectly good, but unappealing, house into an even better one. After 12 months of renovations, their home is one that perfectly suits the needs of every member of the family, whether it’s a retreat for Janine or somewhere for their four kids to enjoy and make a noise. And, with an active lifestyle as the founder and owner of Boost Juice, things get really busy!
Bought three years ago, Janine says the existing classic, double-brick Georgian-style house was immaculate, but far from their style. Brimming with ideas to convert it to what they wanted, Janine and Jeff felt the home was a tad dated. “It was built about 20 years ago,” says Janine. The previous owners were meticulous and it had been very well done, but it was just a bit stuck in the ’90s and not our style – but the bones were good.”
Outdated features such as carpet throughout, even in the kitchen, an aquarium built into the wall and a spa and sauna all had to go. “We gutted this part of the house, which included the spa, sauna, living area and kitchen, and opened up the back to make a casual living and dining area,” explains Janine.
On the original floor plan, the house goes in on an angle, so they squared it off to simplify it. The result is an open, fl owing home filled with light and a wonderful sense of space.
TOUCHES OF EUROPE
The first thing visitors notice when they enter the home is the exquisite flooring. “I saw the parquetry floor in an advertisement in a magazine – it’s a replica from a French castle,” says Janine. She fell in love with it straightaway and got in touch with Richmond-based flooring company Le Parqueteur to create the same magical effect in her home. “They import all the timber, which is quality European oak,” says Janine. “It seemed a little bold to go so dark, but I felt there was enough light in the house to counter it.”
Also, the European oak was one of the few timbers that were suitable enough to be used with the in-ground heating they had installed. Not surprisingly, Janine loves her floors. “They make the house unique,” she says. “And I love the feel of them – I like to go barefoot when I’m at home and I much prefer the feel of timber to tiles.”
One of the loveliest things about this spacious house is just that – there is enough space for everyone. And with four children and a busy lifestyle, Janine says this is a must.
“We’ve created zones. Everybody needs to get away from everybody – we all need our space,” she insists. A double garage downstairs in the original structure was converted to a rumpus room for the kids complete with everything needed to keep them entertained, such as gaming equipment and a television. There’s also a cupboard bed down there which allows the room to become a guest room when required. And upstairs, Janine and Jeff also have their very own rooms – places to which they can also retreat and enjoy some solitary time.
“The front two rooms were formal living and dining areas but we thought – ‘We’re grownups and we want our own rooms!’” laughs Janine. So they did just that, creating a very dark, masculine room for Jeff complete with plenty of black and a soft, warm, earthy room for Janine. “People have these formal rooms that they only use about three times a year and it’s such a waste,” she adds. Janine on the other hand enjoys her room every single day. Whether it’s sitting down with a fragrant candle and a book or doing yoga …
“My front room is my favourite room in the whole house,” she says. “It overlooks a beautiful garden that we redid and the warm colours, linen wallpaper and natural fibre rug give it a great feel.”
Having a few ‘wow’ elements was essential, and because of the spacious layout and open floor plan, pieces of furniture of significant size and scale worked wonderfully. “The size of some of our pieces makes a powerful statement, such as the benchtop in the kitchen, the kitchen lights and our massive couch,” says Janine. The rather enormous Coco Republic sofa in the main living area has feather cushions and Janine claims when anybody sits on it they simply don’t want to move. “It’s so big that everybody can snuggle up together on it – it’s a real family couch,” she adds. “We love lounging on it to watch movies, and all of us fit.”
The kitchen is one of the most striking rooms in the house. “At first I was worried the kitchen would be too dark but I love the result. Sydney-based interior designer Marco Meneguzzi sourced the fabulous light fittings that take centre stage above the island bench. “It’s a French replica and Marco had them made for us in Sydney,” says Janine.
“As the room is quite large – seven metres by six metres – we felt it could ‘wear’ that kind of lighting.” Janine says she looked for some unique stools to place around the island bench but didn’t want traditional ones with a back. She needed them to be sturdy for the kids to sit on, while the design had to work with the scheme of the kitchen. In the end, she found what she was looking for in the replica bar stools from Graham Geddes Antiques in Armadale, which she compares to an Aladdin’s cave of treasures.
STORY SUNNY DE BRUYN
PHOTOGRAPHY NICOLE ENGLAND
STYLING JAYNE REID