E: info@janecameronarchitects.com | T: 046.669.2832


No point building castles in the air by Ann Pilmer (an extract from The Age)

Wish lists are just the start. Renovators have to budget for unexpected costs.

What’s on your renovation wish list –  a new kitchen and bedroom, extra living space, an en suite, outdoor kitchen, cellar and a home theatre?

Whatever your budget, rethink it or stretch it. Fees and hidden costs such as GST will eat up a fifth or as much as a third for smaller projects.

Sole practitioners, architects Jane Cameron and Christopher Hewson, say they frequently have to disillusion new clients about the real cost of renovating.

Bronwyn Pratt in her renovated Albert Park house. Even with knowledge of the industry, she says she was taken aback by the hidden costs. Photo: Ken Irwin

Bronwyn Pratt in her renovated Albert Park house. Even with knowledge of the industry, she says she was taken aback by the hidden costs. Photo: Ken Irwin

”We live in a cut-price world,” says Mr Hewson. ”People can buy at a discount online and they see short cuts and DIY projects on reality shows, or a glossy picture in a magazine, and they think all this is easy to achieve. They don’t understand that costs can’t be readily pruned in real life and can’t be extended to professional services.”

In archispeak it’s about the cost of works versus the overall budget. Read more…


Why did I become an architect?

I am often asked the question why did I become an architect. Firstly it wasn’t because of Architect Barbie – she was yet to be born. My standard response is: “I was born an architect.” It creates visions of me being in my mother’s womb holding a pencil, ruler and a set square. It wasn’t quite how it happened; however, I have always been fascinated by architecture. As a child I felt for vacant houses – as they seemed to have no sole. I also ways noticed something different about the public buildings in the local towns (I grew up on a farm) and beautiful homesteads of the Western District of Victoria; it was as if people had created these buildings out of love (and I am sure they were). I was drawn to them like an old familiar teddy; I loved them with the same passion. I also loved collecting house plans. I would see kit houses advised in the ‘Stock and Land’ and ‘Weekly Times’ and send away for their plans.


image by Alexandre Dulaunoy via flickr

I have a thing for small projects. I adore doing residential renovations and extensions in the inner-city of Melbourne. It ticks all my boxes. It gets me excited.

Firstly, you get to work with existing homes. The inner-city of Melbourne has some beautiful period homes. I adore their detailing with their ornate cornices, ceiling roses, skirting and architraves. I am happy to restore; however, I never recreate. To me recreating has a level of dishonesty. It is always void of the years of use – and often layers of paint – that gives it added character. Re-creating period homes simply does not work. Trust me. I also love how these houses represent a period of time in the past.

Read more…


image by HeatherKaiser via flickrI love working closely with my clients. It is fun collecting all the little bits of information about them that will inform their design. I thrive on making their design’s bespoke. After all who wants to be a cookie cutter – not me!  

I try to understand my client’s likes, dislikes; and tap into those things that particularly inspire them. Sometimes I feel like a psychologist!

I try and take clues from their furniture, objects, etc. I sometimes ask what they particularly like about these objects.

Read more…


image by justdonque.images via flickrAm I a green architect?

his is a question I have recently been asked. The short answer is yes; however, I don’t brand myself as a ‘green’ architect. I think all architects should be ‘green’. 

The number one ecological sustainable design (ESD) principle I use is passive solar gain. Where possible I place living areas to the north; not only for ecological reason but for one’s own comfort. Melbourne is freezing enough in winter; so we need to embarrass the sun as much as possible.

One must not forget about Melbourne’s heatwave either. As much as we want to allow the sun in during winter; we want to keep it out in summer.

My preference is to use manipulative devices (i.e. external blinds, shutters, etc.) to control the sun due to the extremes in Melbourne’s weather from one day to the next. Read more…




The ‘Superdry’ brand draws on influences from Japanese graphics and vintage Americana, with the values of British tailoring. The result – unique urban clothing, has an incredible branding and an unrivalled level of detailing. This distinctiveness has gained the brand exclusive appeal, as well as in international celebrity following.

When I first started my practice I collaborated with Michael Jan Studio on the roll out of five new ‘Superdry’ stores in Melbourne and Sydney.  The concept design was by the English designers  Ken Sen Sen. Our role was to make sure the developed design meet the Landlord’s guidelines, Australian Standards, and the Building Regulations; and then take it onto the Contract Documentation stage. This was submitted for the Landlord’s Approvals and the Building Permit.








Love RingI love working with residential clients

My first love has always been residential architecture. I have always been fascinated by houses. From the days of growing up on farm – where I would visit the local homesteads – to now seeing the houses entered in the annual Architecture Awards.

I have always been intrigued by how people live. I think this is part of the reason I have spent so much time overseas. When visiting a foreign country my preference has always been to stay in someone’s home rather than a hotel. Thankfully I have lots of friends in amazing places. This fascination of how people live translates to my love of designing homes.

I also adore working with private clients. It is much more personal. I enjoy the process of understanding how a client lives and what they want to achieve with their new home. No two clients are the same. Read more…


Melbourne’s Ugliest Buildings: An extract from THE AGE (MELBOURNE) MAGAZINE – MAY 2012

Which are Melbourne’s best buildings and which are its ugliest? Susannah Walker asked architects all over the city to cast their votes …Of all the buildings in Melbourne, which ones are the best? And which are the worst? We put these questions to 140 architects, from swish city firms to lone operators in the ‘burbs. Our survey, conducted by phone and email, asked them to tell us their three favourite Melbourne buildings, and the three they like the least, and why.

Then we held our breath. Would the notoriously competitive architecture fraternity be willing to publicly celebrate its own, and openly criticise in equal measure? As one architect admitted, “It’s a very difficult task … the risk of offending other architects or building designers is a worry.”

In the end, with a bit of badgering, we received responses from architects at 35 firms. Not bad, we thought. But what surprised us was how passionately many of those architects responded. They waxed lyrical about the buildings they love – timeless, spellbinding, profound and brilliant were among the words used – and, equally, didn’t hold back about those they loathe (soulless, nasty, tacky and confused were among the descriptions). “Simply brainless,” said Richard Kerr of a South Yarra apartment building, while his take on a Cremorne office block was: “(This is) what happens when a dog throws up over the designer’s paper and they simply print it for construction!” Maggie Edmond told us she averts her eyes whenever she passes the “silly beyond belief” Pixel building (which, incidentally, won both best and worst building votes).

But when these guys love a building, boy, do they love it. Jane Cameron thought the former BHP House was stunning: “It is classical modernism at its best”, while Debbie Ryan said of the Arts Centre complex: “This collection of buildings … says everything about composition; restraint and exuberance in perfect balance.” Read more…


image by davidhc via flickr

image by davidhc via flickr

I have always been intrigued by architecture. I grew up on a farm in the Western District of Victoria. I was  fascinated by the public buildings in the surrounding towns and I adored visiting the local homesteads. There was something special about these buildings.

I have always been fascinated with house plans. As a child I collectioned them. Some were come from a local builder. Others I send away for out of the farmers’ papers. Some I collected when my aunty took me around display homes.

I loved creating little villages out of sand or play dough. I adored Lego. Read more…