Bird Portraits, Abstract Paintings, and a Red Kitchen Make for an Incredibly Colorful Australian Home

updated Feb 20, 2020

Bird Portraits, Abstract Paintings, and a Red Kitchen Make for an Incredibly Colorful Australian Home

updated Feb 20, 2020
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Name: Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran
Location: Jan Juc — Victoria, Australia
Years lived in: 7 years, owned

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Editor’s note: Devastating fires are currently ravaging Australia, where this house tour is located. While we shot and prepared this house tour before the fires started, Rowena, the homeowner, told us that she and her home are safe. We know many, many others are still suffering. You can donate to the Australian Red Cross or find other ways to help here: How You Can Help Those Affected By the Wildfires in Australia.

Rowena and Geoffrey made the move from living in Melbourne to the coastal town of Jan Juc full time after buying their early 1980s weatherboard two-story home. Over the course of seven years, they’ve slowly renovated and repainted much of the home.

Their home is filled with incredibly colorful art, much of it their own; Rowena’s works are abstract, brightly hued canvases, while Geoffrey is known for his large bird portraits. Together, their styles blend into a home absolutely bursting with creativity and color.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We have a pretty colorful aesthetic, driven mostly by the amount of artwork in our home. There is lots of texture with textiles, rugs, and natural finishes and an eclectic collection of designer and vintage furniture pieces. The overall feel is pretty relaxed, with a bohemian, coastal vibe.

Inspiration: We are constantly inspired by where we live. Jan Juc (for most of the year) is a pretty quiet coastal town. In winter we hunker down by the fireplace, and in summer we read out on our decks amongst the trees and the birds (this reflects heavily in Geoffrey’s art practice.) We love collecting treasures for our home when we travel, and tend to go with what feels right rather than following the trends. There is a bit of a kooky mash-up to what works for us, like the blue bedroom, red kitchen, and downstairs lounge that I refer to as the sea cave.

Favorite Element: There are so many layers to our home, it’s hard to choose. We love to create special spaces for our guests to stay in, and there are lots of vistas from one room to another, where color and art interact between the spaces. What I particularly love about our home is its relationship to the outside; where you can throw open the sliding doors and there is a flow between the living space and and the tree canopy.

Biggest Challenge: When we bought our home we knew that there was going to be some work in bringing it up to spec, but we didn’t realize the can of worms that we had purchased! There has been ongoing rectification works (and continues to be) but we will get there.

What Friends Say: The general consensus is that our home is pretty relaxed, and people tend to want to hang out at the slower pace that we try and imbue our home with.

Biggest Embarrassment: It used to be the ’80s bathroom, now it’s the stamped concrete driveway and, of course, our store room.

Proudest DIY: There is such a long list of little projects on this house, each one a minor victory in itself. De-beiging the walls and whitewashing the ceilings had a major impact on the space. Ripping out a wall and inserting skylights on the northern roof line also transformed the living space from a dark, south-facing room to being light filled and airy.

Biggest Indulgence: Going all out on our new bathrooms! We initially thought it was ludicrous how much people spent on bathrooms, but had a steep learning curve into how much they really do cost. We of course had to buy the most expensive tiles we could find for the floors, and it spiraled from there… but we absolutely love them and having a bath that we can all fit in at once has been a necessary extravagance with our new baby. 

Best Advice: Take your time in making a space. Invest in pieces that you love as you can afford them and avoid trends. We try and support small business and local makers.

Dream Sources: Traveling, learning, and getting your hands dirty.



  • Goldie Print by Geoffrey Carran available at Martinich Carran
  • Vintage Chair 
  • Vintage Couch – Leonard Joel’s Auctions
  • Channel Islands Surfboard 
  • Wall Colour – Anchorman by Dulux


  • Nook couch – Jardan
  • Bungalow chairs – Coco Republic
  • Yellow Rumped Thornbill painting by Geoffrey Carran
  • Antique Turkish Kilim Rug – Loom Rugs
  • Vintage Light – Found
  • Vintage Mustard Ottoman
  • Wall Colour – Trade White by Dulux



  • Popcorn sculptures by Maddi Child – from The National, NZ
  • Hand painted Platter from our online store Martinich Carran
  • Mud bowl and Takeawei bowl on top of microwave
  • Red Kitchen – Came with the house!



  • Fabbrica Marmi E Graniti in Venice Ivory – Elegance Tiles
  • Vanity – ADP (Architectural Designer Products)
  • Pheonix Hardware – McCanns
  • Freestanding Bath – McCanns


  • IKEA bed, painted by Rowena
  • Southern Skies Cushions from Martinich Carran
  • Pillow Cases – Rachel Castle & Feliz
  • Woodblock Bed Throw – bought on holiday in Rajasthan
  • Kartel Lamp – Space Furniture
  • Vintage bedside table – bought at a country clearing sale
  • Lamp – IKEA



Thanks Rowena and Geoffrey!