JCD Studio Garage Conversion


  • Jen Clark Design
  • Martina Gemmola, Photographer


In May 2015, multi-disciplinary design practice Jen Clark Design was looking for an affordable, sustainable and engaging inner urban premises from which to operate a small but growing business.

The perfect solution was found in an unoccupied double garage space behind a popular cafe and opposite a bustling primary school in Melbourne\’s leafy Fitzroy North.

JCD converted this empty shell into a flexible, functional and inspiring creative workspace with a minimal environmental footprint. The result was a truly unique studio that became a local talking point and an accessible and welcoming meeting space for clients and collaborators alike.

Key Features


Positioning ourselves in a vibrant pocket of urban Melbourne with a diverse, active and engaged community, we transformed an unremarkable garage into something that cultivated interest, sparked imaginations and elicited frequent, animated commentary from passers by.

In doing so, we successfully shifted commonly held notions about what can often be perceived as a dull, utilitarian space.


We aimed to utilise, wherever possible, objects and furnishings in the studio that were sourced sustainably.

This included upcycling and re-purposing timber crates as exterior planter boxes, restoring a metal stand and timber coat hooks found in local hard rubbish collections, and sawing old pine IKEA bedside tables in half and using these as laptop stands.

Other furnishings were all bought second hand if possible and/or from local, sustainable suppliers.

We veered away from a slick commercial fit-out and superfluous embellishments, choosing only to clean and repaint the floors prior to taking occupancy.


In addition to providing a point of community interest and a colourful and atmospheric workspace, the new studio garnered considerable attention from online media, including renowned global design blog \’Design Milk\’, and led to the establishment of numerous new client relationships, most of which remain ongoing today.

Ironically, JCD grew so much while we occupied our Fitzroy North studio that we have since had to relocate to larger premises in Collingwood.

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