A Home in a Former Shoe Factory Gets an Overhaul Inspired by a Vintage Cookbook

A Home in a Former Shoe Factory Gets an Overhaul Inspired by a Vintage Cookbook

By Melissa Dalton
WOWOWA Architecture combines a retro palette of blush, brick red, and copper with a swirl of curving forms to ease awkward angles in this warehouse conversion.

As coveted as loft living is, converted warehouses don’t always make for the best floor plans. Take this former shoe factory in Fitzroy North—a ’90s renovation made it livable, but left some "random geometry" behind, says WOWOWA Architecture.

Through its work, WOWOWA Architecture believes in celebrating Australian culture—including its kitsch and "a love of daffy colloquialisms." The firm says that its "colorful, contextual, and socially sustainable ‘forever homes’ are for design-savvy professionals who know life’s too short for boring spaces."

In 2018, they drew from a unique source of inspiration—a vintage Women’s Weekly cookbook (the cake special)—to imbue this three-story home with more storage and playful spirit.

The entry foyer at the ground level features a hanging Vibia Wireflow light from KODA and an Ari daybed from Something Beginning With.

The home was gutted in the remodel, and the living spaces were oriented to take better advantage of the existing window plan.

Now, light-toned wood flooring and custom built-in shelving offset surprises elsewhere—such as the curving pink upholstery in the living room, a kitchen counter that recalls the swirls of cake batter, and a moody terra-cotta-toned utility corridor.

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A pink, modular Valley sofa sits with a green Kelly ottoman, both from Jardan, in the living room.

Sliding doors crafted from Marblo conceal the television

Rust-colored travertine tiles from Byzantine Design line a bar niche.

The existing brick walls inspired much of the prevailing palette, including reds, pinks, tans, mustards, browns, and copper. In the kitchen, the colors and textures all come together via shiny copper cabinetry, the thick swirl-patterned stone of the island top, and the pink marble backsplash. "The yummy island sitting on circular lolly feet brings joy and love to the family’s most used space," says the firm.

In the kitchen, a bank of copper-fronted cabinetry joins the pink marble backsplash. The island is set atop a curving pink base that gives it some lightness.

Behind the kitchen, a 26-foot-long utility corridor tucks a bar, sink, pantry, laundry, and drying room out of sight from the main living spaces.

A view of the terra-cotta-colored utility corridor. The copper cabinet pulls are from Auhaus.

The corridor is 26 feet long and hosts a bar, sink, pantry, laundry, and drying room. Pocket doors allow the laundry to be closed off when needed.

A pull-out ironing board is tucked into the cabinetry.

The upstairs master suite has a bank of custom closets trimmed in raspberry Laminex and Split (Doughboy) handles from IN-TERIA Design.

The adjoining bath is outfitted in tumbled pink stone tiles and a gray marble stone tub from Apaiser.

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