Four time Australian Hairdresser of the Year Joey Scandizzo and wife Jane built their dream home from its heritage façade up, resulting in a gable inspired Toorak residence. Testament to the tenacity and hard work Joey put into hairdressing from a young age, the new home emanates long lasting luxury and functional simplicity, writes Cameron Pine.

Father of three boys, husband, multiple hair salon and barbershop owner, property owner as well as haircare brand entrepreneur, it was time for Joey and his family to create something they could all enjoy. Cue the Scandizzo residence – one of Toorak’s most carefully curated new builds that has a story to tell at every turn while mastering the beauty of balance.

Designed by Pete Kennon of Studio Kennon, the build was very much about creating a sense of space that is not just about architectural intelligence but reflects how a home and a sense of self should be indelibly linked, or at least explored and reflected throughout every custom nuance in a new home.

With four bedrooms (three upstairs and a luxurious master downstairs), the historic façade of the house was repurposed and expanded with archetypal gable forms and concrete in both the walls and the ceiling. This added a statement sense of strength and stability that stands rather modestly behind the original Victorian home. ‘Incredibly warm in winter and cool in summer with a holiday feel’ formed the brief for a home that was never intended to close you in.

“We splurged on everything – nothing was cheap. I’ve busted my ass for 25 years and it was always my dream to have a family home that the kids could grow up in and enjoy. After 18 months of living across the road and watching it every step of the way we now have our dream home that we just want to look after it and enjoy for many years to come,” Joey said.

“It’s not a massive home but it has everything we need and there’s nothing I would change. We have a man cave out the back with a pool table, table tennis, TV, surround sound, gym and a bar, all separate from the main house, so lifestyle was important to us. We can make as much noise out there as we want and the kids can’t hear us inside and vice versa,” he continued.

The main priority throughout the house was to maximise natural light. “It’s the most important thing in the house and sets the mood,” Joey said.

Adding to the carefully thought out use of natural light were statement lighting features from Christopher Boots, such as a stunning crystal light worth more than a small car, and Cloud 19. Everything in the house was designed to last and impress without being in your face.

Joey hates the feeling like he’s inside so all rooms in the house needed to feel like they bring the outside in through dimensions, lighting and finishes. They all reflect a natural aesthetic with flashes of custom curation – much like his creations throughout his career where classic elegance meets bold dexterity both creatively and pragmatically. The property is remarkably intimate – the back of the house feels like you’re at a forest estate rather than only minutes from Melbourne’s CBD.

Making the most of the beautiful light in the morning coming through the main living areas and master bedroom, the concrete angles were designed to give the house beaming light on the concrete. Additionally, the use of skylights, even in bathrooms, at an angle are all about natural light and a play on shadows and angles throughout different times of the day.

The palette throughout the home takes its cues from the coolness and tonal softness of the concrete through marble white and grey tones, offset by dark wood featuring, elegant detailing and the best furniture and fixtures money can buy.

“With an off-white colouration, we proceeded with an idea of white- on-white and monotone subtleties of blacks, whites and greys through the core interior finishes,” said architect Pete Kennon. “The result is a very neutral and calming environment as the backdrop to the colourful life that passes through the interior spaces.” It was all about not overpowering the colourful characters to come through the home, reflecting both Joey’s approach to life and family and friendship circles in both life and business.

Set over two levels, the staircase is like none you’ve seen before – almost feeling completely open and suspended through the outside. The entire house has been designed to bring the outside in – maximising light and space, giving it a holiday feel and the sun and light to better bear those Melbourne winters but the concrete keeps it so cool in summer too.

“When my boys grow up want them to be able to stay home and hang around the house and it lends itself perfectly with the pool and games room with separate bathroom separated from the main house,” Joey said.

Already flooded with life and energy and far from a sterile showcase like many big houses in the area, Wednesday nights have a become boys night for Joey where all of his mates come around to play pool and table tennis and make so much noise but without disturbing the rest of the house.

The natural Toorak landscape is surrounded by trees and it was important for the house to feel like the trees and outside were part of it – liveability for Joey and Jane was paramount. Despite being at home they didn’t want the house to have the feel like you’re stuck inside.

“I get claustrophobic if there’s not lots of light so we kept the entire back of the house glass, at night you can see the moon and the trees like it’s all in your backyard,” Joey said.

Almost feeling like you’re in the country, there’s nothing suburban about the build – it takes on more of a holiday retreat aesthetic but with luxurious finishes that will stand the test of time.

“Nothing in the house was cheap and along the way Joey and Jane changed some things as they went – including their architect.

“We just didn’t connect with the original architect – he didn’t get what we wanted and we just didn’t connect so we changed to Pete and he’s been fantastic,” Joey said.

Pete is both an architect and interior designer, so Jane and Joey got the best of both world’s with Pete really explaining things properly and advising on some of the top end furniture and artwork purchases to accompany the home. Everything has a story behind it and has been selected to stand the test of time – Pete advising against fads like black tapware and instead opted for premium high quality finishes and furniture.

“When you’re building a house you want your family to grow up in its important to choose things that will last you a lifetime. My old man taught me to buy top quality – they didn’t have much when I was growing up but quality was paramount,” Joey said.

With pieces such as 1972 design Cassina chairs from space furniture and a couch that Joey says is “like sitting on a cloud” with cushions that move and mould, it was all about liveability to last out a family. Apollo lighting and two key lighting features are just the beginning to a home that was designed around the ebb and flow of lighting from day to night.

“Nothing is out of a catalogue and everything is hand-picked with a story behind it,” Joey said. “Ultimately it is about useability – there’s no point having a big home if you can’t use it all. I can’t be closed in. I need daylight in all parts of the house to feel like I’m outside. Even at the salon I’ve always worked right near the window.”

Natural timbers and marbles are moulded timelessly alongside classic Schultz 70s furniture outside around the pool. “This stuff will never date or need replacing,” said Joey.

So how do you achieve such an aspirational home that still feels like you can live in it? For this architect and the Scandizzos it’s the play between custom and curated and not cutting any corners that has enabled a dream to be realised.

The real satisfaction also comes in the fact that Joey wouldn’t change a thing. Sticking to a budget is hard and, being a dream home, its constantly changing every step of the way. It has to be a labour of love and you need to be willing to be open minded to change from an original idea.

Work hard, play hard and live even better. After all, what’s it all for if you don’t have a home that is your sanctuary to enjoy it with those you love?

Architecture & Interiors: Pete Kennon @Petekennon @Studio.Kennon

Client: Joey and Jane Scandizzo @Joeyscanidizzo @Janescandizzo

Location: Toorak, Melbourne Australia

Typology: Residential – House

Photography: Derek Swalwell @Derekswalwell

Styling: Room On Fire @_Roomonfire

Completed: December 2019