This Artist’s Australian Home Has a Wonderfully Open Kitchen and a Lush Outdoor Courtyard

published Dec 15, 2020

This Artist’s Australian Home Has a Wonderfully Open Kitchen and a Lush Outdoor Courtyard

published Dec 15, 2020
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Name: Paula Mills and family
Location: North Melbourne, Australia
Size: 3 bedrooms
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

Artist and illustrator Paula Mills had initially dismissed even going to look at this house—a three-bedroom, double-fronted brick Edwardian built in 1916—because it’s located on a busy street corner in North Melbourne. However, once she stepped inside during an open house, she could see the potential in creating a private sanctuary for herself and her family of five. Before moving in, they removed one internal wall in the kitchen/living room, exposing the brickwork in the kitchen and creating an open yet cozy living area. Paula had all the interior walls painted in a creamy, bright off-white, opening up the rooms even more. They also installed wooden plantation shutters on all windows and added a cute wood burner in the living room. It was then ready for this creative artist to move in and make it into the magical space it is today.

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

“I paint things I love to look at, often flowers, as I am drawn to their vibrant color, organic shapes, forms and lines,” reads Paula’s website. “I mostly work from observation, in my home studio, in a variety of mediums.” Her home is filled with vintage furniture and decor (alongside lovely artwork by Paula) but also a lot of collections—such as the old blue and white delft tiles incorporated into their kitchen, various kilim rugs, and more, which no doubt support her artist endeavors. Paula’s home studio was once located in one of the home’s smaller rooms, but that’s been converted into one of her daughter’s bedrooms now. Instead, Paula cleverly created an area just inside the back door to work from. But truthfully, the entire home is an inspiring space to create art (and to live!) in.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic vintage

Inspiration: The Bloomsbury Group

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Favorite Element: High ceilings

Biggest Challenge: Space—[there’s] no garage

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

What Friends Say: Unique, beautiful, character filled home.

Biggest Embarrassment: Amount of dog hair everywhere!

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Proudest DIY: Our urban jungle courtyard.

Biggest Indulgence: White plantation shutters on windows throughout.

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Best Advice: Don’t be in a rush to buy furniture or anything for your home, rather go without than buy something that you don’t love.

Dream Sources: Vintage flea markets in Paris!


Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


  • Dulux — Off white throughout; sorry can’t remember the actual name
  • I mixed my own shade of gun metal blue for the wall with the wallpaper
Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


  • Lounge — Zoological Bird Wall hangings from ErstWhile Co
  • Large Protea painting — Paula Mills
  • Persian rugs — From markets 
  • Grey ottoman — Brosa 
  • Small oil painting of Protea — Cape Town, South Africa
  • Vintage artwork — Junk shops 
  • Turquoise lamp — Freedom
  • Blue cushion — Lyn Gardener’s shop in Albert Park
  • Other cushions — Etsy
  • Flowers — Casa Verde flowers in North Melbourne
  • Black side table in lounge — Metta Chai
Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


  • Fireplace — Nectre N60
  • Flowers — Casa Verde flowers in North Melbourne
  • Kilim rugs — The Home. 
  • Pinky wooden stool next to leather couch — Collaboration Paula did with Zaishu stools. 
  • Large aqua blue and green framed print — Ali McNabney-Stevens
  • Large dark Protea framed print — Ali McNabney-Stevens
  • Black and white screen print on floor — Cassie Byrnes 
  • Black and pink print — Flatearth Studio on Etsy
  • Tan leather couch — bought second hand from a friend 
  • Picasso Cushion on leather couch — The
  • Cushions — Etsy
  • Red velvet couch — Junk shop and reupholstered years ago
  • Red Tulip painting — Paula Mills
  • Wallpaper — House of Hackney – ‘Midnight Garden’ via Wallpaper Direct
  • White half circle lamp in living room near window — Metta Chai
Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


  • Pink hutch — Bought from Salvos store (painted pale pink by Paula) 
  • Red Protea Painting on top of pink cabinet — Paula Mills
  • Hanging plant and Botanical wall hanging — Casa Verde
  • Blue and white delft tile collection from wherever — Mainly junk shops and markets. 
  • Botanical wall hanging and hanging plant — Casa Verde
  • Black fruit bowl on kitchen table — Metta Chai
Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


  • Vintage Rum Sign — Camberwell Market
  • Moroccan blue and white pot under photo wall — Nyary Store
  • North Melbourne red scout banner above photos — Cottage Industry
  • Courtyard outside white furniture — Bunnings
Credit: Natalie Jeffcott


Thanks Paula and family!

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This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.