Vanessa’s Sydney home mixes down-to-earth warmth with a dose of contemporary flair.
Colourful and light-filled, Vanessa’s warm suburban home successfully merges two decorating styles.
“OUR HOUSE IS A 1930S worker’s cottage and was actually renovated just before we bought it about 10 years ago. It was in a great location, had a good-sized backyard, and didn’t need any further work, which suited us perfectly! We haven’t had to do a lot to it, but we recently gave it a fresh coat of paint and replaced a bright pink feature wall with some really beautiful wallpaper.
Outside, we’ve planted two vegetable gardens and built a chicken coop for the girls – our Barnevelder, ISA Brown and Speckled Sussex chickens.
I honestly haven’t put much thought into decorating the house as a whole over the years; I tend to trust myself and buy pieces I really love and somehow it all comes together. It’s been all about merging two different decorating styles so everyone is happy!
I’ve collected crockery, glassware, cutlery and table linen for as long as I can remember. Often the most special pieces are gifts from loved ones or from holidays. My collection of ceramics has spilled from the kitchen to the dining room and recently to the spare room.
“I try not to have ‘special occasion pieces’ – we sit down at the table every night and use good glasses, linen and cutlery.”
“I love Dibbern and have a thing for jugs. I use them for everything from milk and flowers to herbs on the kitchen bench. From $45 at Beclau Homewares.”
I spend a large part of the day in the kitchen – it’s where I am the happiest because I love cooking, but the dining room comes a very close second, because I love feeding people; it’s also where most of my cookbooks live – I have around 200 of them.
During summer we leave the house open – there’s a big glass sliding door at the back and louvres and French doors in the middle. We love having friends over for dinner and in drinks in the backyard.
I would love to renovate the kitchen, but it’s a big job because I would want to move it from where it is now – it’s a medium-term project and I am always clipping images from magazines for when the time comes!”
An antique hutch in English Oak houses part of Vanessa’s ceramics collection, notably her 20 Dibbern teacup sets.
Scented details “There’s nothing more welcoming than walking into a house with a lovely scented candle burning, perfumed roses on the table, or a freshly baked cake coming out of the oven,” Vanessa says.
Splash of colour Two Aquabumps prints and cushions from Luru Home, Megan Park and Walter G Textiles liven up the neutral living room.
Change up The cookbooks Vanessa’s currently reading are displayed on her coffee table. Feels like home
A Harry Allen “RealityBank in the Form of a Pig” takes pride of place on the mantelpiece. Soft touch
“I often change the cushions on the lounge. It’s an inexpensive way to freshen things up without buying new furniture,” says Vanessa.
Feels like home French doors lead to a small courtyard that’s the perfect spot for breakfast.
Made to fit The antique bed was altered to fit a queen-size mattress. “When it was made no such thing existed!” Vanessa explains.
The bedroom has a mix of old and new pieces, including an antique mirror purchased at auction.
Nice touch Vanessa always has a good hand soap, scented candles and fresh flowers in her bathroom.
His and hers
The double basins are one of the things Vanessa loves about the bathroom.
“We painted the fireplace in the bedroom white when we first moved in – it really gave the whole room a lift and made the space feel bigger,” says Vanessa.
DANISH DESIGN Replica Hans Wegner Wishbone chair in Premium Ash, $295, Matt Blatt. COLOUR HIT Dibbern jug in Lemon, $62 for 500ml, from Beclau Homewares.
Light & bright “During summer we open up the glass sliding door at the back,” says Vanessa. “I love all the natural light.”
Feathers & fame Alice, the Speckled Sussex, is rather a star on Vanessa’s Instagram feed, @thehungrychook.
Ghost rectangle coffee table in Clear Glass, $299, from Freedom.
On show Dinosaur Designs vessels decorate the mantelpiece.