A touch of Europe: artist Sue Horacek’s piece of Florence in the inner city
Artist Sue Horacek found a little piece of Florence in her inner-city warehouse home and loves every corner, she tells Hande Renshaw.
When artist Sue Horacek first stepped into her current home after property searching in the summer of 2009, she instantly knew she had stumbled on something pretty special. “As soon as I walked in, I was practically ready to move in,” she says.“For me, it was the perfect space. It was like stepping back in time with layers of history and charm, even though the fit-out was only a few years old.”
Built in 1920, the property was once a jute packaging factory, focusing on paper, hessian and linen. “Funnily enough, as an artist, these are my favourite materials – I am currently painting and printing on recycled hessian coffee bean sacks, so it feels like I truly belong in this space,” says Sue. Her youngest daughter, Evie, who is completing her PhD, is sharing the home, along with her two Burmese cats.
Located in the bustling Melbourne inner suburb of Fitzroy, the home is moments away from great dining destinations and galleries. “Ideally, I can enjoy the silence behind the timber doors and solid walls, and also walk out for a noisy distraction any time of the day,” says Sue. “It’s hard to say this without sounding clichéd, but sometimes it feels like I am living in Barcelona or Florence.”
The interior of the open-plan warehouse-style space has expansive high ceilings and cleverly divided spaces within. “From the Pompeiistyle Venetian glass mosaic tiles on the bathroom floor to the internal courtyard which opens up to the sky, there is something to love in every corner,” she says.
The metal-framed glass doors and walls around the courtyard have been painted in a soft blue-grey, while the rest of the home is in a palette of sunny yellow, apple green and warm grey and brown. “My favourite part about this space is the soaring high ceilings,” she says. “For such an expansive space, there is also clever division and a sense of intimacy.”
The main focus when decorating her character-filled property was for the interior to feel warm and homely, and to be “filled with childhood and family memories, and many artworks on the walls,” Sue says.
Inspired by locations, textures and materials, she arranges objects in her home in tune with its combinations of light, colour and texture. The walls are brimming with many of her own paintings and those of other artists she admires.
“I have little collections, in corners and on benches, of things that I have collected – they are an inspiration for future artworks and still-life studies,” she says. “So, really, I am inspired whenever I turn.”
Sue has given the former factory a real sense of warmth, filling it with artworks and souvenirs of her childhood and family. She is inspired by locations and materials in her decorating style. Subtle splashes of colour are used to enhance the warm wooden hues, not distract from them.
Above: The mosaic features on the floor adds great character to the bathroom. Left: Sue and daughter Evie enjoy the internal courtyard which opens up to the sky. Right: The walls are like an art gallery.