This creative director’s colourful and eclectic pad reflects her “more is more” mantra
A print- and colour-packed Melbourne cottage.
THE SIMPLE WEATHERBOARD FAÇADE OF
Bonnie Ashley’s cottage in the Melbourne suburbs belies the caravan of colours and patterns that fill every square inch inside. Along with husband Neil Downie, Bonnie founded the design studio and homewares line Bonnie and Neil, so the sweet two-bedroom space is packed with plenty of pieces of their own making. “A lot of props from our shoots find their way into our home,” explains Bonnie. A new acquisition is the bedhead, covered in the brand’s latest creation, printed fabric, which is sold by the metre and handcrafted by Neil. The giant canvas, hand-painted by Bonnie, which takes pride of place above the green velvet sofa in the living room, was also originally commissioned for a Melbourne Cup marquee.
The pair’s highly covetable, often-colourful wares are sold in the most beautiful boutiques and reside in chic homes all over the world, but nowhere have they found a more appropriate spot than in their own cottage. When you see the vivid prints, flora and fauna motifs and clashing tones en masse, it’s near impossible not to crave a little more colour in your own life. “Our business is all about creating beautiful products that people would want in their homes, and our own home is no different,” says Bonnie. “We love pattern on all surfaces – textiles, walls and floors – complemented with boldcoloured furniture, decorative objects and plenty of plant life for good measure.”
The part of the home – which the pair share with dogs Rosie and Foxy, and Possum the cat – that gets the biggest workout is the shared kitchen and dining space, with its conversation-starting tiled walls and floor-to-ceiling bookcase. “One of our favourite things to do is host our friends and family for dinner parties, so we love the open-plan dining area where we cook, make cocktails and socialise,” says Bonnie. “It features our printed timber tiles on one wall, plenty of natural light and flows out to our garden. The table is always set with napery, flowers and decorative pieces.”
Not content with just influencing how your home gets dressed, this couple’s next trick is going to be to infiltrate your wardrobe. The pair have founded a resortwear fashion label called La Bonne Souer (labonnesouer.com.au), compiled of dresses, slips and robes in vintage-inspired shapes and sporting handpainted prints. There is also their second collaboration with T2, consisting of painted china and linen napery, set to arrive in stores this month.
“Inspiration comes from our travels – we love exploring the world and seeing how interior design translates in different places,” explains Ashley. “I love collecting and researching historical textiles, but also keep up to date with interior and fashion design. Whatever is seasonally happening in our garden and the floral world plays a huge part in how our home looks – fresh flowers and greenery are always on display.”
“WE LOVE PATTERN ON ALL SURFACES, COMPLEMENTED WITH BOLD-COLOUR FURNITURE, DECORATIVE OBJECTS AND PLENTY OF PLANT LIFE”
TAKE A SEAT: These Grazia and Co stools are customised with Bonnie and Neil’s linen
Coffee table, $1,000, FENTON & FENTON, fentonandfenton.com.au Stool, $350, FENTON & FENTON, fentonandfenton.com.au TREASURE HUNT: The ceramic tiger – on one of Neil’s cabinet creations – was found at an antique market in Geelong, Victoria Sofa, $2,095, CLICKON FURNITURE, clickonfurniture.com.au Touch lamp, $59.95, LUCCI DÉCOR, beaconlighting.com.au
Stool, $350, FENTON & FENTON, fentonandfenton.com.au Artwork, $300, BONNIE AND NEIL, bonnieandneil.com.au Sheepskin, $319, SOCIETY OF WANDERERS, nathanjac.com.au TESSELLATED TONES: The bedhead – another of Neil’s handcrafted pieces – features the duo’s mosaic fabric
Cushion, $200, BONNIE AND NEIL, bonnieandneil.com.au
Cushion, $130, NATHAN + JAC, nathanjac.com.au
Artwork, $300, BONNIE AND NEIL, bonnieandneil.com.au
Candle, $60, NATHAN + JAC, nathanjac.com.au Bowl, $189, KRISTINA DAM, theminimalist.com.au