Answer the Call with Kelly Martin Architecture

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

One couple’s desire to have the best of both worlds could well be the business opportunity you’ve been looking for. Deb Caruso discovers that sometimes opportunity doesn’t just knock, it calls.

When architect Kelly Martin and husband Ken Makinson found the perfect office space for their architecture business in Noosa Junction, there was just one catch: the tenancy had to incorporate food.

As a food lover, Ken had dreamt of opening a food business so the opportunity to challenge the traditional dual-occupancy model and create a solution that could house both a commercial office and restaurant was hatched.

Kelly said the tenancy had a traditional retail set up, was in the ideal location for food and had lots of potential with an existing mezzanine and high ceilings. 

Although Kelly predominantly works on new homes and renovations, she firmly believes architecture is for every day and everyone, so was keen to create a clever space which not only ticked the pragmatic boxes of each business but was also a fun space to be in.

The couple achieved their goal by placing the office at the back of the 4m x 9m space and maximising the street frontage for the restaurant with 100% outdoor dining.

Storage issues were overcome by using fixed furniture that was durable, secure and fit the budget. Aesthetically, it also needed to have an inviting presence. 

Ken designed the tables from recycled hardwood with fabricated steel legs and paid homage to the old Roman ruins in Turkey to create ‘the most comfortable seats in Noosa’ aka sandstone blocks; softening and screening the space was achieved through budget-conscious corten planter boxes full of greenery that also help define the edge of the tenancy; and the office space behind the kitchen is accessed through an adjoining entrance. 

The name of the restaurant “Telephone Call From…” was born partly in jest at the physical size of venue and also so that the menu wasn’t pre-determined. 

The restaurant has been designed to be run by one person, saving overheads and being realistic with the space limitations.

With no formal food or hospitality training, Ken designed a menu of fresh food that could be cooked and assembled between serving drinks and cleaning.

“This approach was dollar-driven but it’s ended up being our biggest asset by creating a friendly and intimate experience for the diner,” Ken said.

The rise of Arcadia Street as a foodie destination has often seen an extra person needed for weekend evenings to cope with demand, with that position paying for itself. 

Through clever design, the couple have doubled the income potential from the tenancy without sacrificing anything essential to running either business. 

“It was always our plan to set the space up to be sold and to prove how easily this hybrid model could work,” Kelly said. “It’s a great space however as creative people, we’re both ready to move onto the next project. 

“Since we moved in five years ago, Arcadia Street has gone from a deserted wind tunnel to one of the hottest bar and restaurant destinations in Noosa. 

“This tenancy offers the opportunity for a couple to be part of the action and to spread the costs and risks often associated with commercial tenancies. 

“By creating dedicated space for an office as well as a restaurant or cafe, we’ve delivered a flexible model that would appeal to many. 

“It has been set up perfectly for a lifestyle business and that’s what it has delivered. The new owners can do as little or as much as they want.” 


Telephone Call From…

Want to make this dual-purpose, funky and iconic restaurant and office space yours?

Call John Petralia on 0414 812 719 or email

About the Author /

Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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