Every piece in this beautiful space reflects its owner’s love of traditional storytelling craftsmanship
In a house full of boys there is something to be said for good old-fashioned order. Anticipating a household of rough and tumble, Isabella Patterson had the foresight to plan her renovation to make sure the end result would help the household run as smoothly as possible, all the while still celebrating beauty.
“The house is full of lots of little practical things that I love,” says the Melbourne mum who, when she is not running after Robbie, 10, and twin boys Archie and Oliver, 8, runs homewares label Home By Tribal.
Those little practical things are plentiful and include a laundry chute from the boys’ upstairs bathroom, an indoor firewood box that can be stocked from outside, and an individual locker for each boy’s school bag, footy boots and all the other bits and pieces.
There is even a hidden pull-down staircase that leads to a small rooftop deck, perfect for enjoying the views on warm evenings.
When Isabella, with her husband, Scott, bought the brick Victorian-era house almost a decade ago, it had a distinct 1970s vibe.
“There was a lot of mission brown with orange ceilings and cork floors,” Isabella recalls. “We thought it might be too much to take on but it had so much potential and we loved the high ceilings in the front rooms.”
After living in it for several years, the couple did a 10-month renovation, with a downstairs extension, and an upstairs addition where the boys now have their bedrooms, bathroom and rumpus room.
A pool, put in just before the renovation began, is within view of the kitchen window, while a television hanging in the pool house means Isabella is left in peace while the boys watch sport as they float in the pool.
But although the house is incredibly efficient, this practicality doesn’t impact on its stunning aesthetic.
In fact, the seamless flow and uncluttered spaces only heighten the drama of the exotic pieces that fill Isabella’s home.
As the owner of Home By Tribal, which got its start as an online store and now also offers a Hawthorn shopfront, Isabella has access to some of the world’s most beautiful handmade pieces. Sourced from the storytelling cultures of India, Africa and South East Asia, the pieces feature traditional craftsmanship.
Isabella likes to source natural and textural items, from artwork to beaded jewellery, and her favourite piece at home at the moment is an authentic African canoe from the Zambezi River region that makes a striking decor statement in the formal living area.
“I like treasures in my house that tell a story,” she says, adding her pieces create a “modern bohemian” look to her home.
Having chosen a classic neutral palette throughout, Isabella admits she doesn’t often use colour, preferring to let textures and layering create the interest.
A canoe from Africa’s Zambezi River region makes a creative sideboard in the formal living area (left); Isabella Patterson (above) describes her look as “modern bohemian”.