A Peek Inside an Australian Interior Designer’s Apartment

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The living room with artwork by Hannah Fox and armchair by Arflex. (Image credit: Eve Wilson)

Name: Lauren, Phil and their daughters Indigo and Coco
Location: Parkdale, Australia
The basics: 3.5 years, owned — 68 square meters/731 square feet

Lauren and her husband Phil, interior designers by trade, have updated their apartment to create a stylish and functional home for a family of four. As you might imagine, they’ve become storage and organization masters, but that doesn’t mean the space is lacking in fun. Bright and colorful, their apartment feels tastefully homey.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our cozy home is located by the bay in Melbourne. It’s a humble home that we renovated to suit our family. My husband, Phil Li, and I run an interior design business Sisalla, and we have two girls, Indigo (4 years old) and Chloe (3 years old). We made some changes before we moved in, of course I was seven months pregnant, so there was somewhat of a deadline there! The house had the original 1970s kitchen and bathroom so it was time to go.

Often with these small spaces the first instinct is to remove the wall between the kitchen and living area, however we like being able to separate the spaces. With cooking smells and noise, it’s nice to be able to slide across a door. Also it’s nice relax in the living room and not see mess and dishes in the sink. I think that there is a realization coming about that open plan living isn’t as great as it seems.

We took out the laundry, which was part of the kitchen and it opened up the dining area and allowed for more daylight in the space. The laundry was relocated into the bathroom as a European laundry, which was once a linen cupboard in the hall.

We installed a new kitchen and chose green cabinetry and mixed it with a stone bench top, handmade tiles and had a bench seat custom made to maximize space for dining.

We also renovated the bathroom and managed to include a double vanity. We also added ‘V Groove’ paneling to the kitchen and living room walls for some texture and installed a sliding barn door to separate the living area from the bedrooms, which was important with little ones sleeping.

Gradually we added wallpaper, painted and have really made it our home.

What is your favorite room and why? The kitchen is a beautiful space to be together as a family. The afternoon sun filters in though the tree branches outside. The kitchen cupboards are a light turquoise, it’s such an uplifting color.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? It would be great to have a larger courtyard, ours is tiny. It means that we go out to parks and the beach a lot.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We recently painted our bedroom dark green. It was a bold move, but we really love it. It feels so cozy and anything brass looks beautiful next to it.

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Mr. Potato Head would be most at home in our little place. He is great at storage and keeps his things right there inside his body. We have become great at storage too. There is a place for everything. Shoe storage at the front door, kids books on ledges and a huge cabinet for stuff.

Lauren’s words of wisdom: Don’t be afraid to go for a colored kitchen. We used IKEA cupboards so if we want to change them, it’s so easy. Avoid a bland white kitchen at all costs! Also use paint and wallpaper for a huge impact.

Thanks, Lauren !

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