A Big Fun Colorful Maximalist Mashup in Melbourne

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Big Fun Colorful Maximalist Mashup in Melbourne

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Trish Martin (And Harriet the Greyhound)
Location: Preston — Melbourne, Australia
Size: 645 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 and a half a years, owned

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Trish Martin started her vintage journey during her early days as a blogger eight years ago. In this time she opened an online store, two brick-and-mortar vintage shops in Melbourne, an online magazine called The Vintage Post, and eventually sold them all to become a digital marketing specialist. She may have moved on to pursue something new career-wise, but her love affair with vintage is still very much a part of her. And this passion is evident in her beautiful apartment in Preston, Melbourne.

“I bought a basic modern new shoebox apartment with no character whatsoever,” Trish tells me. “This was something I never thought I’d do as I’m a vintage girl through and through and always saw myself living in a falling down, beat up, 1950s weatherboard home, so I definitely needed to add my own character.”

There is certainly plenty of character here. Trish has filled her home with interesting and one-off items she’s picked up everywhere from treading through someone else’s garage to the garbage. Every item she owns has a story, even the sign behind her front door. “I dug this out of the ground at an old zoo that was near where I grew up (A country town called Marysville). The zoo was in the weirdest place for a zoo, a town called Buxton with a current population of just 233 people, but we used to visit as kids. Anyway I was driving past one day a couple of years ago and the now plant nursery was selling lots of antique things…as you do! So naturally I did a massive u-turn and drove in slightly sweating with excitement. I bought a few boxes of china mostly but as I was leaving I saw this sign sticking half out of the dirt. It was their ‘you’re welcome’ sign for when people left the old zoo. As it was such a nostalgic place for me, and well, an awesome metal hand painted sign…I needed it. It cost me $1 and it now hangs on the back of my front door for friends leaving my house to see.”

As well as shopping vintage, Trish is also a big fan of Australian design, especially Australiana, Australian art and Australian pottery. “We live in such an amazing country filled with amazing creativity and I love to be surrounded by things that local people have spent time and love creating, quirky ideas that haven’t been mass-produced, and items with stories and character.”

Even though she didn’t get to buy the period property she imagined she would be getting, “I finally had the ability to do whatever I wanted,” Trish tells me. “I could bang nails in walls and paint questionable wall colours…So I did! They aren’t major renovations, but it definitely made it feel like it was my home for the first time.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: It’s a “big fun maximalist colourful mash of eras and styles.”

Inspiration: I’m inspired by all things colourful and all things Australian. Having owned my own store and understanding the value of small business, I love to keep much of what I own sourced locally, whether it be bought from local designers, independent retail stores, trash and treasure markets, etc. I know it’s helping someone who will appreciate it, but it also means that I have something unusual that not everyone has!

Favorite Element: My favourite element is the orange wall in the bedroom. I bought a basic modern new shoebox apartment with no character whatsoever. This was something I never thought I’d do as I’m a vintage girl through and through and always saw myself living in a falling down, beat up, 1950s weatherboard home, so I definitely needed to add my own character. I spent my four month settlement working out exactly what sort of character to add, what would best represent my personality and make me smile in every direction I looked. If you’ve seen my Instagram (@itschromatical) I’m forever posting photos of the new objects I find, so backdrops for styled vignettes to photograph was important and white walls definitely weren’t going to cut it. This wall has already been used for so many different shots and I lovvvve it!

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge would have to be moving. My gosh. You can see the amount of things I own, and moving all of that to an inner Melbourne apartment where there’s no real parking access for a removalist, lots of steps up to the ground floor, and then a lift with no sensor to hold the door open to load up, moving day was quitttte unfun haha. Not to mention the crazy Melbourne weather that hit us on that day, too!

What Friends Say: Friends always say “it’s very you!” which is the biggest compliment I could ask for. I love having friends over as they’re always fascinated with the stories behind all my treasures. The store I mentioned I owned was a vintage shop! So my days used to be spent digging through people’s garages, clearing out houses, and purchasing amazing furniture and homewares. I’ve always loved the unusual, so being able to discover items with amazing stories and history as my job meant my home was also filled with many curios. Friends are always curious about what new weird items I have, where I found them, and what the stories are behind them.

One of my favourite stories that I love sharing is a vintage travel poster advertising a clothing fabric to wear on planes. I love it because I went to a lady’s house to purchase some of her homewares, where I spied tucked next to her wardrobe a roll of posters. Of course, always being interested in items that weren’t for sale I asked what they were. She pulled them out, unraveled them, and revealed a bundle of all the same poster. I loved them—a lot. But why did she have them and in such a great quantity? I asked if she’d sell any and she wondered why on earth I’d want them as she saw no value. I told her that they were actually valuable given the subject matter, and she was shocked. She said: “I can’t believe it. See that girl in the picture? That’s me!” She was storing them because they were a part of her history when she did some child modelling. That to me was an awesome story and she was generous enough to let me buy one—the rest she understandably wanted to keep for family. I would never have sold it as I loved the story and that’s what my house is, a collection of stories.

Biggest embarrassment: My biggest embarrassment would be…well I guess maybe not an embarrassment, more so just a funny. So I was doing research on the best height to hang artwork as I have so much art I wanted there to be some sort of consistency. Dad and I had it all mapped out; we did so much math (which is not at all our strongest talent) to hang each piece at the right height so that the centre of the art was at the same level as each other. And because every piece is a different size and the wire on the back is a different length there’s no batch maths, every piece is different. We were doing these maths until we realised on the millionth artwork that the middle of each piece sat exactly at the tip of our noses. So we pushed aside the measuring tape, got our lazy on, and started essentially using our noses as a form of measurement. I wish it was recorded seeing us walking up to walls and lifting up the art until it sat at our noses as the other held up the picture to mark the hook spot. So ridiculous but it worked!

Proudest DIY: I’d love to take credit for the circle wall in my bedroom but it was actually my dad who did the handiwork. I had no idea how actually hard it was to freehand paint a circle and suspect it’d have been quitttte a disaster if I had. If you look closely in my bathroom and dining room you’ll see why. I can confidently say I’ll never be a painter. Even if I blur my eyes I can see all the mistakes haha. So I’m glad I had dad to do my favourite wall.

Biggest Indulgence: Ohhh my biggest indulgence would have to be my Smeg kitchen appliances. Only because of the timing. So I paid too much for my apartment with money I didn’t have and couldn’t get…Good start hey? So I made it an extra long settlement so that I had enough time to save and basically sold my soul online to try and rake up the cash. Buying Smeg shouldn’t have even been on my radar PLUS, I already had a functional toaster and espresso machine, so these definitely weren’t things I needed…at all. BUT even though I had thousands of dollars to save, I still went out and splurged on the Smeg appliances as it had been years and years of coveting them and felt that owning my own home was when (self-manipulation coming) I “needed” them. My amazing mum understood my “needs” and bought me the kettle as my housewarming present to match. I’m still hanging out for the fridge though. Aren’t we all?

Best Advice: My best advice would be

  1. Don’t follow trends and to just buy what you love. Building your home style based on magazine styles will mean that even in six months your home could look dated. Buying items that you love from any era or style won’t date because you bought it because you love it, and it’ll all go together and match because the theme is that you love it. Many of the items I have in my home I’ve had for 10 or so years and slowly built upon as I go. I didn’t just think one day I wanted my house to look like this and pop out to the shops to buy it all. Just buy what you love not what you think will look good or what other people will value.
  2. Adopt a rescue dog!! They make a house a home.
  3. Buy second hand. Even many of my modern designer items were found second hand for a tiny price of what it’d cost new. Second hand definitely doesn’t mean falling apart and dated. Even many of my plants come from local growers at markets or on Gumtree. Which leads me to my last point of course…
  4. Buy plants. Buy lots of plants. Lotssss of plants. Did I mention plants? Plants.

Dream Sources: I actually don’t have anything I’m coveting at the moment. Oh wait, a Smeg Fridge. Ohhh and a beat up ’60s punch buggy to park out the front. It’s my birthday in May! Hmm.


Orange Bedroom wall — Haymes ‘wow’

Coffee Table — Nebulab custom made with local timber in Melbourne
Sideboard — ’60s primary school library trolley found on the side of the road
Large painting behind couch — Yosi Messiah
Cowskin rug — Vintage from Gumtree
Pink chair — Fenton and Fenton
Mid Century wall unit — Ebay
Pair of paintings behind pink chair — Self portraits of Australian Artist Greg Irvine
Cushion on pink chair — Gorman
Light house lamp — 1950s from Ballarat swap meet
Half circle vase with Australian gum nuts and gum leaves — Stix and flora

Chairs and table — vintage Russell Woodard fibreglass set – Gumtree
Display cabinet — Opshop find (Or thrift store in other countries)
Silkscreen print — Australian Artist Greg Irvine – Market purchase
Pottery — Ellis pottery – Been collecting for 10+ years – Made in Melbourne in the 50s-70s
Abstract Painting — Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz – Australian Polish Artist – Gumtree
Hat stand — From an auction house – Taken from an old police station
Pink paper vase on table — Octaevo

Smeg treasures
Painting — Australian artist John Young

Lamp — Fenton and Fenton
Bedding — Adair’s, Sage and Clare
Side table — original Kartell found on hard rubbish
Black vases — Dinosaur Designs bought on Facebook groups & Markets
Chair — Vintage Clement Meadmore – Found on hard rubbish
Art — Victoria Mary Talbot (faces) – Australian artist, vintage poster, other piece was found on hard rubbish
Tallboy — Vintage shop find – Smith St Bazaar

Shelves — local hand made from raw local timber artist
Prints by Paula Mills — Australian artist

Thanks, Trish!

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