Stepping inside the Art Deco shopfront-style home of Carla and Ben Karsakis, one might assume it was a restoration of an original period building.
In truth, the home - nestled at the back of a subdivided block in Bedford - is actually a new build, a cleverly designed and compact reproduction of a vintage house.
The perceived authenticity is a testament to the couple's creative vision, meticulous attention to detail and persistent sourcing of materials.
As building designers, the pair wanted a unique look that struck the right balance between modern and retro, with interesting details peppered throughout. Many of the fittings in the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home were the fruit of salvage-yard rummages or resourceful online searches.
Mrs Karsakis said sustainability was a key focus in the creation of the home, with the use of second-hand, recycled, up-cycled and antique materials, furniture and fittings not only adding to the home's character but saving them money.
"The home is newly built but with old and recycled materials," Mrs Karsakis said. "Which we wanted to use as much as possible.
"We designed the home around the doors and windows, which were also recycled, and kept it small but open by removing wasted space like hallways and a garage. It is only 140sqm inside, but it feels really big."
Bedroom doors came from Aranmore Primary School; timber was recovered from the block's old shed; the ceiling beam was part of Toodyay Bridge and found at a yard; the stainless-steel sink, benchtops and pressed tin came from a former restaurant; kitchen pendant lights came from New York and the front leadlight doors were rescued from a demolished home in Shenton Park.
Vintage newspapers, including copies of The West Australian from the 1950s, were found under linoleum in the front house and transformed into wallpaper for the ensuite. It cost just $300 for a professional application but created a distinct and dynamic feature.
Amazingly, the kitchen cost $5000 in total, including the stainless-steel range hood and stove, with savings made from the recycled restaurant fixtures.
The island bench's timber base was made from the demolished shed; Mr Karsakis built the frame and had a cabinet-maker complete the job. The couple also saved money by polishing the concrete floor themselves, achieving a "rustic warehouse look" that set the tone for the rest of the living area.
Three different seating options - a Chesterfield, a retro-style blue velvet sofa and two red leather armchairs - furnish the lounge area while leftover floorboards were used to create floating shelves on one wall, filled with travel souvenirs, collected items, books, and vintage bits and pieces.
Two large industrial-style fans were oriented to flow through the open-plan area.
"We don't have air-conditioning, so we installed industrial fans which add to the warehouse look," Ms Karsakis said.
"The house got an 8.5-star energy rating but double-glazed windows would add more. We would also like to add a solar pergola and a productive garden. There is a solar heat pump and greywater recycling system. These features are sustainable and save a lot of money on bills."
Although sustainability and keeping costs down were key priorities, creativity and visual style are the shining stars. An outdoor mural replicating a vintage Vogue cover - painted by Mrs Karsakis - is the best evidence of this, making a fitting first impression for a truly unique home."We wanted to save money but do something different," Ms Karsakis said of the home, which even prompted the couple to launch their own business, Etica Studio, to provide others with that service. "We want to show people in Perth they don't need a massive five-by- three home; you can have something unique and still affordable."
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