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.

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