This Melbourne Home Is a Fantasia of Colorful Forms

The dining and living areas occupy opposite ends of the same room. In the dining room, a table made by Sarah’s uncle takes center stage, flanked by chairs by Dowel Jones. Bi-fold doors sweep the length of one wall, opening out to a deck and backyard. The pink-framed painting is by Beci Orpin.

For Sarah and Matt (the architect, not the husband), pandemic-related setbacks included the continual unavailability of timber. “In the 10 months it took us to secure it, our home sat gutted and lifeless, which was extremely frustrating and expensive,” shares Sarah. Once things did start moving in early 2022, architect and designer ran into a few more challenges, including an attempted break-in, a wrong staircase design (which was ultimately rectified), and graffiti on the freshly painted garage roller door. “Basically, anything that could delay things, did,” Sarah observes. What was projected to be a nine-month build ended up taking over two years.

Overarched by a skylight, the entrance is anchored by a tiled console by P0ly Designs. The vestibule further leads to a staircase and a hallway to the kitchen and living area. “While the walls are white, our collection of tchotchkes and objects is what brings our home together,” says Sarah. The turquoise painting is by Ken Done. Charlotte Swindon is the artist behind the collages.

As far as decor goes, Sarah didn’t have nearly as many problems, maybe because she worked backwards, instead of starting afresh. In a bid to re-home beloved pieces the family had collected over the years, she sought out nooks and corners to give them pride of place. The midcentury buffet went under the television, while a large table made by her uncle took center stage in the dining room. Likewise, her childhood bed, first inherited by her son, was passed on to her daughter. It wasn’t just the furniture that upended the rulebook. For the floor, the couple decided to eschew carpet in favor of solid hardwood oak. “Some people find it weird, but it’s so hard-wearing and easy to clean, and it also adds character to the space,” says Sarah, who also sourced two long-coveted vintage Featherston Numero IV chairs to complement the family treasures.

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