Name: Diana, Mik and baby Harper (15 months)
Art director, Musician/lighting designer, Captain of playtime respectively
Location: Thornbury; Melbourne, Australia
Size: 2 bedroom, one study, living and dining
Years lived in: 16 months
Di is an art director in the advertising world, so it should come as no surprise that the home she's made with musician/lighting designer Mik and their baby Harper is ornamented with treasures from the most whimsical of places. There's a surprise around every corner.
The family have only lived here a year, but Di and Mik being suckers for punishment, decided to renovate straight after buying the place, giving themselves four weeks to update the house before little Harper was born. Whether it was nesting gone crazy, or a sense of wanting the house to be "just right" before they settled in, they've achieved a lot in a short space of time, although Di says there's "so much more" she'd love to do.
One to see the potential in anything, Di is keen to repurpose and give a home to many items others would simply do away with. An old workbench is done up as an entry table, a dead tree is spray painted silver and decorated with a sequined bird, old Reader's Digest books are turned into a towering book sculpture, and top hats turned into lamp shades... the list goes on. This family of lateral thinkers knows how to turn the ordinary into treasure, as well as having a keen eye for statement designer pieces and unique artwork.
A real bower bird, Di has salvaged retail displays from her favourite stores to bring a larger-than-life feel right into their home. A typographic die-cut "wonderful" watches over visitors in the hallway, while a cut out lamp made to look like it's straight out of Narnia adds a magical touch to Harper's nursery.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic partnering of unique pieces old and new, with a nod to industrial. I try hard to avoid jamming a room full of multicoloured hues, but sometimes it takes time to find their place.
Inspiration: I would say visual merchandising (window displays), industrial junkyards, outdoor design such as bill posters, shop fitouts and restaurant spaces.
Favorite Element: There’s never just one but I do like how the bowler and top hat lights tie in with the Sir Arthur Brambles (fox) mural and the Narnia-inspired lamp. I spend a lot of time playing in this room with Harper because of its great feel.
Biggest Challenge: The first hurdle was getting the basics of the house changed in 4 weeks before we moved in. We got the keys, renovated the bathroom, turned the third bedroom into an ensuite and walk-in robe, ripped up the carpets and moved some walls. Then had a baby 3 weeks later! I have a million ideas for what I want to do with this house and feel like I’ve only just started.
Now the challenge is making enough space for statement pieces to breathe while accommodating the grabby hands of a tiny human running around.
What Friends Say: There’s so much to look at!
Biggest Embarrassment: All mistakes lead to an eventual resolution so you shouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s just a little respite on the way to the end result.
Proudest DIY: Dark feature wall in the bedroom. This was painted as you would a canvas. It consisted of several glazed layers with subtle horizontal strokes of lighter paint behind. Dark edges defined the perimeter and the whole wall was overlaid with a metallic shimmer to bring all the colours together.
Biggest Indulgence: Valkyrie Spitfire desk by Timothy Oulton.
Best Advice: Stop and have a second look. It’s easy to glance around and appreciate something momentarily, be it an environment or an image, but it's best to really take a moment to pull it apart and check out the details that made it gel.
Take big changes slowly. We have been here a year and a half and there are still so many things I want to change bit by bit.
Lastly, use Pinterest. It’s sensational for gathering ideas and finding the common elements in the images you discover. My bathroom is a great example of how a board can translate into the real thing. Thanks to my architect SIIN Architecture for extrapolating the key elements based on the look I'd pinned.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
I moved into this home with the idea of making a black and white house filled with beautiful and coloured things. We settled for varying shades of warm greys and charcoals to allow the contents to stand out. This has been a challenge as I’ve been partial to bright murals in the past.
- Blackwash floors, custom colour by Fairmont floors
- Paint in entryway and child's bedroom: Taubmans "Centurion"
- Paints in bedroom: Taubmans "Centurion", Taubmans "Hi Ho Silver", British paints "Onyx Luster", Dulux "Steel Shimmer"
- Workbench - my father built for his shed
- Horse hooks - Lock, Stock & Barrell (now closed)
- Wooden box - former wine bottle storage crate from a restaurant
- Deer antlers - friend's deer farm
- “Wonderful” - retail display salvage
- Robot arm light - Light in the Box.com
- Artwork - Dennis Ropar
- Japanese anime lamps - sourced while travelling in Bali
- Antique chair - family heirloom
- Light - MRD home
- Artwork - "Cornelia" - Angelique Houtkamp
- Glass cabinet - ex-industrial Revolver, Chapel St, Prahan
- Skyscraper sculptures on mantlepiece - Betty Pritchard
- Gun artwork above fireplace - Dennis Ropar
- Rainbow coloured books - Reader's Digest books from a thrift shop
- Crystal vase - 19th Century Bohemian Lustre Vase - family heirloom
- Linen - Adairs
- Custom fox mural - "Sir Arthur Brambles" - Monster City
- Narnia lamp post - retail salvage
- Teepee - a gift
- Egg armchair - Interior Secrets
- Horse - retail salvage
- Top hat lights - Lucretia Lighting
- Artwork - Kozyndan "Grey Hares (Winter Bunnies)"
- Artwork - Kozyndan “The bunnies fall”
- Couches - custom designed
- Mirror - Dare gallery
- White lamp near mirror - MRD Home
- Red and white "Alice" lamp - MRD Home
- Siver painted tree near playpen: started life as a Mop Top Standard in a planter box outside.
- Flirty cowgirl artwork - Dennis Ropar
- Squirrel nut cracker - gift
- Tray on table: Salt & Pepper
- Artwork - Dennis Ropar
- Desk - Timothy Oulton
Thanks, Diana, Mik and Harper!
• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.
Updated daily with fresh tours full of photos for you to pin & enjoy!