Abbie davis lives with her husband tristan and sons johnny and richie in a neon-lit, bayside abode in melbourne’s south-west.


What do you do for a crust? I’m a photograph­er and creative director who goes by the name Mrs White.

Describe the house you live in. It’s a 1970s time warp, and a testament to my creative mind and love of all things colour and fun. It’s also my husband’s perfect spot to house his many bikes. It’s a lot of everything at once at all times – my poor kids! It’s 100 metres from the beach and around a kilometre from where I grew up, so everything has a familiar feeling and a sea breeze. It’s the kind of home that’s instantly familiar and warm.

How long have you been there? Just over two years. After the birth of my second son Richie, we were looking for a bigger place that was still close to the water – we found this on one of our walks.

Tell us about the house itself. It was built in 1973 by the original owners, maintained beautifull­y and left in its original state – then, luckily, handed over to us. It has three bedrooms, curved edge corners, wood panelling and three different shades of floral wallpaper. Heaven! The breakfast bar in the kitchen is a great spot to sit on a summer’s morning. We can’t get over the fact the original owners raised two kids here without a scratched panel or damage of any kind. Not even any stickers! It makes us want to preserve it, too.

What have you done to the place since you moved in? Nothing structural­ly. It was maintained so well, there was no need to change a thing. I’ve just added more colour and a Vegas level of neon. I’ve also tried to educate myself on a bit of gardening – I’m trying my best not to undo years of care.

How do people react when they walk through the door? They gasp! It’s a time warp and familiar feeling, like a visit to Nanna’s when you were four years old. My dearest friends tend to shake their heads and say, “Subtle.” We joke that we should get the fondue set out, or a key bowl.

How would you describe your decorating style? Maximalist to the bone. I love toys, fun and vintage finds, and bold colours that wake you up in the morning. We have little ornaments that remind us of travels, and portraits I’ve taken of the boys, printed poster-size to build a healthy sense of vanity! My eldest son has customised his bunk with black texta and stickers, and though we have concerns about him doing it while "asleep", we commend the expression.

What about the colour palette? Very strong. Lots of red, pink, gold – you name it, it's here. I blame The Wizard of Oz – it was the first movie I ever watched and I think my aesthetic got stuck there. I’m surprised by how much red I use. It can be polarising, but in this vintage space it tends to work. I recently painted my dining chairs peppermint green, which adds the illusion of more space and freshness.

Where has your furniture and décor come from, generally? I live for the hunt! For couches and toys, especially. I tend to want to change the décor completely and often, just so I can find more. We just got a 100-kilo marble table from Facebook Marketplac­e for $80! There’s also a checkerboa­rd rug from a Moroccan Etsy store. The neon signs are by Electric Confetti, and my mother-in-law has kept most things from my husband’s childhood, so I like to incorporat­e them into the boys’ toy room and bedroom.

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