Designer Louise Jones and Ross Fernando always wanted to live close to nature, and they kept hearing rave reviews about the Dandenong Ranges.
The family were living just outside the area when they discovered this recently renovated 1980 house for sale in Mount Dandenong.
Originally constructed by Fasham Johnson, the house contained many of its original features, including white rendered concrete block walls, timber-framed windows, and plywood ceilings — updated with modern sensibilities.
‘Their signature style utilises light and space with a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. The house sits low and blends with the landscape,’ says Louise about Fasham Johnson’s homes.
‘Our home was originally a four-bedroom house, but the previous owner renovated the interior by making them two larger bedrooms, and opened the main living space to make it open plan. He also installed large, double-glazed windows that beautifully frame the garden.’
The large and flat block was a bonus for the couple’s children Grace (8) and Charlotte (5), also offering the potential for an extension to the home in future.
‘We even wrote a personalised letter to the owner along with our purchase offer detailing how much we loved and appreciated the renovation work that they had done, and if we were the successful buyers, we would hopefully continue their unfinished work in the same style they had already imprinted,’ says Louise. The rest is history!
So far, Louise and Ross have made minimal changes to the home since moving in, instead focusing their efforts on the garden.
‘Over the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns is when our love of gardening really took hold, as it was a place of calm and grounding for Ross and me, and it also nurtured our girls’ appreciation of nature,’ says Louise.
‘We feel very privileged to have so much space to escape to when we need some quiet. It’s very therapeutic to get out in the garden, and I can’t believe I can now say I enjoy weeding!
‘Ross and I have lots of plans for our garden. We hope to add a more designated outdoor eating area, and we daydream about adding a natural swimming pond to our backyard sometime soon.’
The interiors of the home are simple and pared back, ensuring the garden is the key feature of each room. Louise explains, ‘The outside greenery effortlessly fills our space with colour, especially in the main living space, so the rendered white walls mixed with the concrete floors and timber ceilings provide that calming element to our interior space.’
With Louise’s touch, the house is a cosy, homey, and charming place to live. Her favourite spot to admire it all is from the Maralunga armchair in the bedroom retreat, looking out to the native garden. ‘In the warmer months, we have many eastern spinebills that frequent the kangaroo paws in this garden area, so it’s such a delight to observe them quietly from inside our home.’
The family are currently working with Insider Outsider on an extension of their beloved home. Stay tuned!