Two Doctors Filled Their 450-Square-Foot Rental With More Color Than Most Larger Homes

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Credit: Daniel North
Our massive bookshelves filled with books and plants are the first thing you see when you walk in.

Name: Gayle Garcia, my partner Dan, and our two pugs!
Location: Richmond — Melbourne, Australia
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 450ish square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting — but we will be moving to a new house two weeks!

Credit: Daniel North
The phrenology bust was a gift given to me by my partner when we were both in medical school. The puzzles have kept us occupied during isolation weekends.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live here with my fiancé and our two black pugs, Ted and Rose. We are both doctors and our home, now more than ever, is an important sanctuary for us during these crazy times. I’ve made it my mission to fill our home with color, and firmly believe there is no such thing as too many plants!

Credit: Daniel North
One of our gallery walls, next to our record player. The yellow rattan cabinet was a secondhand find. Dante our fiddle leaf fig is starting to take up all the space near the window.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, curated jungle—with pugs!

Credit: Daniel North
Our dining room has a mid-century table that used to belong to my partner's father but they weren't using it and gave it to us instead! When I ran out of room on the sideboard, I started hanging plants above it using renter-friendly hooks.

What is your favorite room and why? Definitely the living/dining room. It is full of our art, books, and plants, in particular, our tall fiddle leaf fig who I’ve named Dante. He was a Christmas present—my partner tried to hide him from me, and spent three days taking Dante in and out of our garage to give him sun, but finally gave up because our neighbors started to think he was crazy, looking like he was perpetually carrying a fiddle fig around. We spend a lot of time in this room listening to music, reading, and just generally unwinding after a long day with the help of our dogs.

Credit: Daniel North
The gallery wall in our dining room is a mixture of collected art that was gifted to us (mostly by family), photos, Society6 prints, and things I drew myself. I love how the frames add to the colour as much as the pieces themselves. Our monstera is getting gargantuan and starting to usurp the space though!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Hmmm… The last thing I bought for our home is not actually for this home but for our new place. I commissioned a piece by Melbourne artist Octavia Tomyn who has created a beautiful painting that will hang in our bedroom. She is an amazing artist and I think it’s important to support the arts and local/small business during this time. Not to mention how amazing the piece looks!

Credit: Daniel North
Our bedroom is cosy and definitely a sanctuary. I like to change the mood by changing the bedding—right now the mood is bright and cheerful as it is winter in Melbourne, and this is my attempt to banish those dreary winter days.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I agree that a home you love takes time, but it’s okay to experiment and continue to edit! It’s how you find what works and what is your aesthetic. The best homes look lived in, and I like that you can reflect your personality by the objects you surround yourself with! And dogs. Dogs are great. They can make any house a home.

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