Vintage reno: a run-down Victorian home is transformed
Lynn Clay used her keen eye for antiques and design to transform a run-down Victorian home.
For fashion store owner Lynn Clay, the home she shares with her husband Geoff is a tranquil escape. “We’ve lived here for just over three years and it still feels like I’m on holiday,” says Lynn. “Our street is so quiet, yet just around the corner there are buzzing cafés and restaurants, and the beach is only 10 minutes away.”
The couple purchased the home in a leafy suburb in Melbourne after falling in love with its original vintage features. The house had been left untouched for generations and was begging for some special attention
– a real renovator’s dream.
“The kitchen had an original old gas cooker and there was no heating or indoor toilet,” says Lynn. “We fell for the simplicity of the property, with its beautiful leadlight windows in the entrance and the fact that all the lovely original features were intact.”
Since moving in, the couple has made many changes to the twobedroom house, starting with replastering many of the walls to make them completely smooth and free of cracks. “We painted the walls straight out of the tin without any tint – painters hate doing this, as you need many more coats,” she says. The tip was passed on by an interior design friend years ago. “The look is just fabulous and we love it.”
The renovations also included adding hydronic heating, removing the old carpet (and discovering glorious wide timber floorboards in the process), adding an internal bathroom and updating the kitchen. “We left the kitchen’s original walls and tiled it in subway tiles. An industrial sink was added and a Bertazzoni stove was
installed into the old fireplace there,” she says. The kitchen is the room Lynn spends the most time in, and the wall of artwork behind the dining table is her pride and joy. “Each art piece has a special memory; they were all found on different occasions,” she explains. “I bought them from markets, op shops and antique stores.”
For Lynn, simplicity is at the heart of all her decorating decisions.
“[Nineteenth-century English textile designer] William Morris once said: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ – wise words indeed. We don’t have anything we don’t love in our house,” she says.
“Owning my store, Scarlet Jones, gives me my inspiration and keeps me up to date,” she adds.
The interior is a mixture of the old and the new, with many unique vintage pieces in the mix. “I adore vintage, quality design. It’s ageless and you can see that someone has cared and taken pride in their work.”
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The new bathroom is beautifully understated; drawers made from 1930s tin cans; vintage detail.
TOP: The kitchen was updated with a new sink, stove and white tiles. ABOVE AND LEFT: Vintage and antique finds.