In the leafy suburbs of Melbourne, Lucy and James found a newly renovated rental that became the perfect canvas for their family.
Bright, colourful and surprising, Lucy’s fun decorating style makes this renovated Melbourne rental a prized family home.
“WHEN YOU’RE RENTING a home you know in the back of your mind that circumstances can change in the blink of an eye and there’s not always much you can do about it. That was certainly the case for us two years ago. The girls were seven and five years old, and all of a sudden we had exactly 10 days to move out of our home, find a new house to rent and move in – it was action stations to say the least! Luck was very much on our side though, as we immediately stumbled across a gorgeous little house that had just been completely renovated. Within a week we had moved in and have called this place home ever since.
THE RIGHT LOCATION
The location of the house was the first ‘tick’ in what we were looking for.
I grew up in the area, in Melbourne’s inner east, and have always loved the leafy streets and the mixture of old and new houses. Being so close to so many of our friends and family was also important to us. We can walk to our favourite cafes and shops and I can even hear the girls’ school lunch bell from my kitchen, which is a really nice feeling. It’s a lovely and quiet street as well, unlike the nearby major roads, so that was another big plus.
OLD VS NEW
The house is a single-fronted Victorian weatherboard. Inside, the only period features that remain are the ceiling roses in the front two rooms. Everything else has had a complete overhaul, transforming it into an open, spacious and light-filled modern family home.
We were lucky enough to be the first tenants in the house after the renovation had been completed.
I’d never lived in what was effectively a brand new house before, so I put a lot of thought into how it had been designed and where everything should go to make best use of the available space while also keeping it interesting.
I like to think that we use this house just as it was intended. The main living space is a huge area that we all love. We can all be doing something different – cooking, homework or relaxing on the couch – and still have a chat.
The main living area is home to a few of my favourite things. First, the black cockatoo artwork by Geoffrey Carran; it has so much detail and colour, and I never get tired of looking at it. Second, my constantly expanding collection of coffee table books; I love adding to my collection but I must admit it’s not very often I get the chance to sit down and flick through them. Last but not least, my mix-and-match assortment of plates and bowls; they bring a sense of fun to the dining table and are always a feature any time we’re entertaining or having breakfast as a family at the weekend. It’s no surprise that all of these things pack a punch of colour
– I can literally throw some colour into anything and everything!
I studied visual merchandising and have spent much of my career as a homewares buyer, so I love to see all the trends come and go and pick and choose what I like. Along the way I’ve developed my own style.
I do admit to having a few favourite go-to online stores like Jumbled and Anthropologie, but nothing beats actually browsing around a store where you can touch and feel the things you’re looking at.
MADE FOR FAMILY
At this point in our lives this house works perfectly for us. It really is built for bringing the family together in the main living area but at the same time, as the girls grow older, there is ample space for everyone to do their own thing and branch out as well.
Our little courtyard out the back is a zero-maintenance space – the bamboo hedging is well-contained and flourishes all on its own giving us privacy without blocking any sunlight. Entertaining out there in summer with the doors pulled wide open is one of our favourite things to do.
Living in this house has also further inspired my dream of having something myself one day. I would love to take on a little, old house of my own and really put my stamp on it.”
Touch-to-open cupboards give an uncluttered look.
Tough love The front garden is home to hardy Australian natives that require next to no attention.
Pretty bird “Joseph Banksii” by Geoffrey Carran is one of Lucy’s favourite artworks in the home.
Bringing in blues The multi-tonal blue rug and artworks define the dining zone.
Family friendly Sheer curtains let in light but create privacy in the main living area. The patterned rug is from Eb&Ive. BLUE HUES Folk Pad printed serving bowl in Flowers, $20, from West Elm. Transparent stools balance out the colourful palette.
LOVE POMPOMS Coco throw in Blue, $129.95, from KAS Australia.
PRETTY PATTERN Boho bowl in Shibori, 12.5cm, $5.95, from Maxwell & Williams.
TASSEL FLAIR Tribe throw, in Natural/Blue, $69.99, from Ezibuy.