Being in the real estate industry, I get the fortune of walking through some of the most beautiful homes, big and small. That being said, Rhyanna and Ryan’s 5x50House is arguably one of my favourite spaces I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. And by “see”, I also mean enjoying a well-rounded glass of wine (or two) by the fire, a cold pressed juice in the kitchen, a private yoga session in their dedicated studio space and some seriously inspiring conversations about all things life, business and design. This is a house I’ve not just seen – I’ve instead been able to experience it in ways that it was intended to be enjoyed… and I love it!
The considered design of this home really reflects its owners. Ryan, a details man, has approached the design details with the same dedication and curiosity with which he selects his wines. He’s a deep thinker, a creative and branding genius. Rhyanna, a prolific member of Perth’s yoga and wellness community and an energetic entrepreneur, exudes both laser sharp focus and a zen-like quality. The 5x50House is all of those traits wrapped under one roof.
So tell me a bit about the history behind your gorgeous home?
The original part of the house together with its pair at 16 Tydeman Road, is a typical stone and iron single story cottage duplex dating from the 1890’s. It’s historically significant as a representation of typical workers’ houses in the North Fremantle area. The place is a simple example of the Victorian Georgian style of architecture.
Of the four cottages, what made this one special is it had all original working fireplaces and chimney intact and had little work rendered to it over the years. There was however a rather crude extension applied to the rear in the mid-eighties which fortunately, had little impact on the original structure.
What was your vision going into the project?
Upon first inspection of the property, we knew that the house was special in that it ticked so many of our boxes but most importantly it would allow us to apply our touch. So for the first year we allowed the ideas to run free before commencing with architectural drawings and planning documentation. We always viewed the house as more like an apartment with a backyard (5m x 50m lot) and so designed on the basis that the spaces needed to work perfectly for our lifestyle so we needed to maximise the space we had. Most importantly, we didn’t design for resale and had the mindset that this was our forever house (which it may or may not be) ensuring we made decisions for us alone.
Were there any strong thoughts on the design brief and did that evolve or change as the home came to life?
The original part of the house really set the intention for the design in that we knew we wanted the stonework to be the hero. It was also decided early on that we wanted to replace the aged timber sash windows with steel and the combo of the stone and steel quickly became the overarching theme. Ryan had previously lived in a Klopper modified warehouse and I think the desire for steel construction was influenced from that.
Ryan is highly details focussed and is obsessed with brand methodology so he ultimately workshopped us to ensure the design reflected our personalities. A raw palette of materials was chosen in keeping with the original part of the home and the selections were never reconsidered from the moment we made them. Any changes made during the build process were mostly related to structural considerations, but the design scope ensured we stayed true to our vision.
What was important to you about the space and how it was to work for both of you?
The saying a whole is greater than the sum of its parts is the answer to your question here and harks back to the ‘apartment design’ ensuring all spaces are important for the whole to work.
We knew how we wanted to live in the space and how the space needed to serve our needs and this is where we believe people come unstuck when they renovate. We were offered plenty of alternate views as to the spatial design however Ryan and I broke things down into zones and then mapped what we needed from each zone. For example, I wanted to conduct my private yoga sessions from home and Ryan wanted to ultimately work from home also, so we needed to structure how that was going to work, ensuring each could do so without impacting the other. We have a winter zone and a summer zone for living also, taking advantage of the open fireplace one season and then opening the house to the northern sun the next.
The interior elements are incredibly considered. I would love to know more about the passion and attention to detail that played a role here.
This is simply the result of Ryan’s passion for design. The approach he takes is highly considered, with the exception of budget! His design process factors in not only aesthetic value but structural attributes so that the end solution is not only visually stunning but also well crafted. There is a real tactile quality to the interior elements especially in the kitchen. Spending time consulting with trades and suppliers at length resulted in them being really invested in our project and it shows. Ryan’s brother was also our contracted builder and seeing them work together was pretty special.
Our interior fitout is still a work in progress and we enjoy the process of working towards our dream pieces. We value things that are handmade and designed, which is the case for most of our furniture…all a labour of love by craftsmen we have come to know and respect.
What is your favourite space at home?
I’m torn between two. Firstly, there’s our bedroom. It’s a true sanctuary and we both sleep so well. It’s not a large room, there’s no ensuite, no walk-in robes, just a beautiful old fireplace, Ryan’s grandma’s dresser in the corner and the exposed brick and limestone with a big steel window that has a feeling of being in NY or London. Bedrooms should have a feeling of warmth and luxury and the 12 foot ceilings definitely add to this.
Then there’s the kitchen. Ryan had not designed a kitchen before but you wouldn’t know it! The team at Raw Edge Furniture and Attica Tiles played a key role in getting the details just right. It functions so well and I never knew how much I needed a steam oven! The tile bench was inspired by Robson Rak Architect’s work and required a lot of collaboration between our trades to produce. All in all we have a space that inspires us to create and share with others. Believe it when they say good design enhances your way of life.
Was the location important to you in terms of the design influence and lifestyle?
Without doubt! North Fremantle has the building stock that we love, simple yet characterful homes with many undergoing some beautiful renovations. The suburb also is home to many creative businesses, from florists, to fashion designers, architects and photographers. It’s a great way for Ryan to mingle with like-minds. Ooh Coffee has quickly become the hangout for this tribe!
We are seeing a change in the landscape with the limited original workers’ cottages being much sort after and gentrified as they change hands. Blue collar workshops are also making way for the more professional occupations. In spite of this though, it seems most residents make the most of the beach and river lifestyle year-round. Being on the fringe of the Western Suburbs is a privilege and we make the most of this beautiful part of the world.
What does a typical day look like for the two of you at home?
Now that our core renovation is done and we are happily living/working in our space we have settled into a nice routine. My clientele are generally time poor, so most days has my private sessions commencing at 5.30am with Ryan heading out at sunrise for his daily beach swim. Our work lives couldn’t be more different however. My calendar is scheduled within an inch of its life whereas Ryan works best with a clear canvas, avoiding meetings wherever possible. The renovation has enabled us to run our businesses without feeling like we are operating from a home bedroom. The abundance of natural light, the vast ceilings and a wall of glass give a true sense of space and freedom. Our fire gets lit daily through winter and becomes the relaxation zone in the evening. We’ve probably featured the fire and myriad glasses of wine too often in our Insta stories but how can you not, it’s just sublime!
A 5m wide lot may seem like a vice to most but careful planning has resulted in an environment that caters perfectly to an abundant way of living. One thing we have noticed that was not planned for, is our visitors staying a whole lot longer! It has been a delight in seeing others reaction to the space and how it invokes a sense of wonder. For that alone, it was worth the effort!
A huge thank you to Rhyanna and Ryan for your time and sharing your home with me. I look forward to the next instalment and sharing a drink in the Northern sun soon. X
To find out more about Rhyanna and Ryan, you can find them both here:
PS This is a Purveyor double feature. To read more about Rhyanna, yoga and the benefits of plant based eating click here.