A Storybook Cottage Designed by Alistair Knox

Designer Alistair Knox (1912-1986) was renowned for pioneering a hyperlocal ‘Eltham’ style of design, championing recycled materials. 

Kayla Moon, floral artist at xxflos and studio director at Stay Soft, has long been a fan of the late designer’s work since first visiting this property years ago.

‘I came across this home years ago when a good friend of mine was living in it… I have been visiting the property it’s on for years, and even did a stint in the other house that we share land with, all in hopes to one day score my little cottage,’ Kayla says. 

The time finally came in January this year, when Kayla moved into the standalone two-storey cottage located on the same site as a larger Knox house.

The exact date of these properties are unknown, but they were likely built in the early to mid 1960s to coincide with Knox’s personal house and studio that he designed, built, and lived in next door. 

This period marked a renaissance in Knox’s design career, where environmental concerns came to the forefront, resulting in houses often made from the mud on which they stood. 

‘During the lean postwar years, conventional building materials were expensive and hard to come by, and Knox’s (then) revolutionary solution was to use natural materials readily available in the shallow, clay-rich, hills of Eltham where alternative people were beginning to move and build,’ Kayla says. 

Kayla hasn’t changed a thing since moving into the home, other than introducing some colour via the addition of artwork, homewares and accessories. They describe the feel of the place ‘as comforting, minimal, colourful, and storybook-like.’

This home is best experienced on a cosy winter evening around the fireplace (with a sunken floor allowing space to sit close to the flames), or, in the mornings, waking up surrounded by nature. 

‘I love waking to the dawn chorus of birds and watching the sunrise over my bed—it warms the house and spreads dappled light around the most interesting little places,’ Kayla says. 

In Kayla’s words, the property is the perfect fairy-like bachelorette pad, offering the feeling of being outside, while being sheltered within. 

‘It’s really my dream home for this period in my life.’

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