A tree change to the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula led Marlo and By­ron to see the po­ten­tial for their ren­tal to be­come a won­der­ful, wel­com­ing home.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

A move from the city to the coast gave Marlo’s fam­ily a new life in a ren­tal that’s be­come a trea­sured home.

“MOV­ING OUT OF MEL­BOURNE was a pretty big deal for us – we’d talked about it for years be­fore we took the leap. By­ron grew up on a farm in South Africa but I’m a city girl and had never re­ally con­sid­ered coun­try life. How­ever af­ter hav­ing kids, I found I was yearn­ing for a slower pace of life and to sur­round my­self and my fam­ily with na­ture. I had fond mem­o­ries of child­hood sum­mer hol­i­days on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, then a fam­ily hol­i­day in Mt Martha sealed the deal: we de­cided this was the place for us. It was just a mat­ter of find­ing the right house.

Lease of life

As soon as I in­spected this house I knew it was ‘the one’; it had a good feel­ing about it. We didn’t want to com­mit to buy­ing with­out know­ing the area bet­ter, so we were ex­cited to find such a fan­tas­tic home to rent. They’re a bit like hen’s teeth in our area.

Soon af­ter we moved in we be­gan mak­ing the house feel like our home. My work as an in­te­rior de­signer means I’m con­stantly look­ing at in­cred­i­ble in­te­ri­ors but, to be hon­est, my re­ac­tion to some is that they’re too per­fect and too min­i­mal. I’m all about beau­ti­ful rooms but they have to be prac­ti­cal, com­fort­able spa­ces that en­hance my life. So it’s re­ally im­por­tant to me that my house looks and func­tions how I want it to – and you don’t need to pay a mort­gage or spend a for­tune to achieve this. My phi­los­o­phy is that ev­ery home should be a ‘sanc­tu­ary with soul’. It should be filled with per­son­al­ity and not feel too pre­cious or per­fect.

Time­less tim­ber

By­ron is a fur­ni­ture re­storer by trade so he loves work­ing with tim­ber. He made the bench in our kitchen; the top is ac­tu­ally a re­pur­posed bed­head and it works so well. Ev­ery­one gath­ers around the bench when they visit. I do love the abun­dance of tim­ber – our floors are old-school solid tim­ber and they are so durable. Our bed­room’s tim­ber cladding makes the room feel very warm and wel­com­ing, which is im­por­tant in our part of the world. Win­ters can be chilly, but the house is built for this cli­mate and with the fire con­stantly burn­ing it’s cosy and invit­ing. I’m a fan of lay­er­ing, too, so there’s no short­age of blan­kets, cushions and throws.

My colour code

I’ve never been afraid to em­brace colour. It en­hances a home so much and my ap­proach is to add it wher­ever I can. I love vi­brant art and build­ing a com­ple­men­tary pal­ette around our paint­ings. Play­ing with ac­cent colours is fun and al­lows me to eas­ily and af­ford­ably change things up with the sea­sons – re­cently I added gold touches to the blue and teal pieces I al­ready own and love how it all works to­gether.

My line of work means I keep up with the var­i­ous trends and in­te­rior di­rec­tions of the mo­ment. Per­son­ally, I like to mix styles to cre­ate a look that’s just mine. I find my­self drawn to the Dan­ish retro look but it can some­times feel a lit­tle too min­i­mal­ist, so in­stead I’ll take the clean lines of Scandi style and layer in tex­ture and colour. This cre­ates an eclec­tic warmth, which I love.

When I’m buy­ing for my own home I al­ways mix in­vest­ment buys with more af­ford­able pieces. For work I’m reg­u­larly sourc­ing from vin­tage stores and places like Verve DC, GlobeWest, Wey­landts and Cu­ri­ous Grace – it’s in­evitable a few favourite items will make their way home! But I also love brows­ing through Tar­get, Kmart and Ikea for bar­gain buys.

Green dreams

We’re lucky to have so much green­ery out­side our win­dows. Our house block is set on a 40-hectare farm and I love that we get the ben­e­fit of look­ing out to beau­ti­ful open space with­out hav­ing to deal with the main­te­nance that comes with own­ing a farm. For me, there’s a lot of en­joy­ment to be had in nur­tur­ing our lit­tle house plants. I view them as beau­ti­ful liv­ing ac­ces­sories.

We ab­so­lutely adore the com­mu­nity and, as many peo­ple here have cho­sen to make a tree or sea change, they don’t have ex­tended fam­i­lies close by. This means our friends have be­come our sup­port net­work and I love that. We’ll be putting down roots, for sure.”

EN­TRY Handy hall­way With a bench, hang­ing rack and per­sonal touches, this space is both pretty and prac­ti­cal. This rug is a much-adored me­mento of Marlo’s back­pack­ing ad­ven­tures through In­dia.

DE­TAIL Na­ture’s bounty By­ron made the tim­ber tea light hold­ers – find sim­i­lar to buy on page 48. The Blue Lupin din­ner­ware was in­her­ited from his mum.

OUT­SIDE First im­pres­sions The 1960s house has been ex­tended and ren­o­vated and had its ex­te­rior bagged.

Ta­ble talk Ruby (left) and Poppy love to hang out near the kitchen. Din­ing ta­ble from GlobeWest; Nord­myra din­ing chairs from Ikea.

LIV­ING ROOM Liv­ing colour Marlo uses in­door plants to up­date the look of her rented home.

DIN­ING Soft shades Blue hues in the din­ing area tie back nicely to the lounge cushions and throws.

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