You Won't Believe This Modern Home Was a DIY Renovation

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As the director of Victoria-based architectural firm NTF Architecture, George Fortey worked diligently to create a space his family (which includes his wife, their two children, and a dog named Moscow) would cherish for years to come. "The real client was my wife, Lisa. She had a simple list of practical wants and left the rest to me," Fortey said.

The result is a spacious, decidedly modern structure with an interior rich in inviting materials. But getting there was a bit of a struggle. The house, located in Cremorne, an inner suburb of Melbourne, was in desperate shape. And on top of that, Fortey found that designing for himself led to missteps. "I didn't take my own advice that I give to clients," he explained. His recommendation for anyone going into a renovation? "Resolve the design up front and on paper. Making it up as you go is a lot more stressful and time consuming."

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exterior
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Exterior

Because Fortey didn't follow his own design advice, the project ended up being very time-consuming. "I undertook much of the work myself, which meant performing the role as the architect during the week and working onsite all weekend. It was a lot of work," Fortey said.

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living room
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Living Room

A Dulux Natural White on the walls sets a minimalist backdrop that continues with an A&Co. rug and Wilfred Sofa by Jardan. Pops of white are a theme in the room, appearing on the lamp, side chairs, and coffee table.

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living room
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Living Room

Polished concrete underscores the Heatmaster fireplace. Fortey polished the concrete himself: "It was hard work!"

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dining room
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Dining Room

A Carrara marble kitchen island is juxtaposed with a Weylandts dining table surrounded by Vienna 18 Bentwood chairs.

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home office
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Home Office

In the home office, a group of muted paintings provides a hint of color against the white desk and cabinets, custom-designed by the architect and built by Exclusive Cabinets.

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bathroom
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Bathroom

Throughout the house, there's a play on contrasting shapes. In the bathroom, a round mirror and oversized, circular door handle bring a bit of fun.

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Bathroom

The bathroom is also proof that you can use similar shapes in different proportions; the shower wall is comprised of vertically aligned rectangular tiles, while the sink backsplash features a square design.


After interning at Dwell magazine in San Francisco, Kate began writing about arts, design and culture for other national publications. She is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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