This Architect’s Australian House Has a Light-Filled Courtyard with a Colorful Mural by a Local Artist

published Dec 7, 2020

This Architect’s Australian House Has a Light-Filled Courtyard with a Colorful Mural by a Local Artist

published Dec 7, 2020
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Name: Anna Castles and family
Location: North Melbourne
Size: 950 square feet (90 square metres)
Years lived in: 3.5 years, owned

Anna Castles and her family live in an inner-city suburb of Melbourne in a brick, single-fronted, two-bedroom home. Originally built in the late 1800s/early 1900s, it was previously renovated in the 1980s with an addition of an internal courtyard—allowing natural light into the home—and a living and kitchen area added to the rear. But Anna added her own upgrades to the space when she and her family moved in three and a half years ago. An architect, Anna designed need space-maximizing elements, such as the coat and picture rack in the hallway, as well as the shelving and storage in the two bedrooms. She collaborated with local Melbourne business Like Butter to create these space-saving pieces.

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Along with filling the home with her own designs, she also loves to support local artists and creative businesses, which can be seen in the art and decor featured throughout their home, including the colorful mural seen in their courtyard by Melbourne Artist Carla McRae. Anna also has a passion for increasing the “awareness of the impacts of the fashion industry and our tendency to over consume,” which you can find her sharing on her other Instagram account, Slow Wardrobe.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Relaxed, bright, welcoming—a collection of things we love.

Inspiration: I love reading magazines, books, and online publications to be inspired by what people are doing in their homes. I love spaces that reflect the people who live there.

Favorite Element: Our house is designed around an internal courtyard. This means we have natural light flooding our living area all day; we can look out at our beautiful mural and feel connected to outside.

Biggest Challenge: Single-fronted terrace houses always have problems with natural light somewhere. For us, the difficulty is trying to get light in to the girls’ bedroom and the long hallway.

What Friends Say: It is welcoming and light and full of love!

Biggest Embarrassment: Not really embarrassing just frustrating to have a large ’80s corner spa bath in a small house; I could really use that space better! 

Proudest DIY: Oh we are not DIY at all, but I have been most proud of the pieces I have designed to fit in to our home and make life a little easier. The hallway coat rack/picture shelf and the girls’ shelving/fold down desk are my favorites, beautifully made by Like Butter.

Biggest Indulgence: Our mural by Carla McRae; I cannot imagine our house without it. 

Best Advice: If you are trying to live in a smaller space, look at how you can layer activities in spaces. We basically have three rooms in our house and a bathroom. This means our bedroom is also my office, the girls’ room has a fold-down desk, the keyboard, and a little reading spot, and the lounge room is everything—dining area, play area, lounge area, craft corner, sleepover spot and the list goes on…

Ceramic jug by Claudia Lau

Dream Sources: Supporting local designers, makers, and artists is really important to us and luckily there are so many talented ones, particularly around Melbourne. 



  • Dulux Natural White





  • Tretford Petrol Green carpet
  • George Nelson Bubble lamp – Living Edge
  • Antique iron bed frames handed down from my sister’s kids
  • Ply shelving / fold down desk – Design by Anna, made by Like Butter
  • Footstool – IKEA
  • Wall hanging by Grace Lee – Nestling Collection by Lamington Drive
  • Bedding – Halcyon Nights, Arro Home


Thanks Anna and family!

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