Heidi and Ben’s Bohemian, Artistic Rental in Australia

published Nov 22, 2015
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Name: Ben and Heidi Yardley and their cat, Nico
Location: North Melbourne; Victoria, Australia
Size: 2500 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Rented

Heidi and Ben’s home is located down a quaint cobblestone lane that’s slightly overgrown with trees and shrubs. As you enter through the gate, it’s like stepping back in time or traveling to Europe. Many homes in the area have undergone extensive renovation, but luckily for Heidi and Ben, their house has only received minor restoration and a simple conversion from its previous use as a horse stable into an open plan studio and home. It retains a sense of history from its previous use and suits the creative couple’s aesthetic and style.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Heidi is a fine artist/painter who works from home, either at the 1940s wooden desk she found at a secondhand store or at an easel in the light-filled sunroom, and she arranges her works-in-progress on the wall above her desk in the main living space. Her husband, Ben, is a musician and composer; he has a desk alongside Heidi’s where, in his spare time, he creates bespoke leather items.

Whilst their home is on two levels (1248 square feet each), the upper level is open plan and has just the one bedroom with a small balcony deck. It is light-filled, thanks to high ceilings and large arched windows. The stairwell is filled with art that’s often swapped with friends.

The downstairs has a small bathroom and basic kitchen, and the rest of the space works as a combined living room/dining room/office/studio, thanks to an outside shed which provides storage for artwork, paints, and supplies.

Special mention goes to Nico (the cat) for following me around the house and being such an enthusiastic model!

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Relaxed, rustic, a touch of mid-century modern, creative.

Inspiration: Interiors of Europe, New York lofts, artists’ studios, The Great Northern Hotel (Twin Peaks), Native American Indian designs, Danish furniture. Unfortunately, we don’t have a budget to follow our interior decorating dreams !

Favorite Element: The open plan’s spacious feeling for a relatively small home.

Biggest Challenge: The lack of natural light in the main living area, particularly in winter.

What Friends Say: Everyone who walks in says, “Wow, this place is amazing”; it’s because it’s an unusual house, not so much to do with what we’ve done to it! It was once a horse stable and the renovations have been very rough and makeshift. It really appeals to creative minds.

Biggest Embarrassment: Ugly IKEA wardrobe and just general lack of storage for clothes. Also our distinct lack of time to tidy and maintain the courtyard/garden.

Proudest DIY: We haven’t altered the space but we have a unique art collection.

Biggest Indulgence: An enormous bedroom.

Best Advice: Natural light should be one of the highest priorities for a living space.

Dream Sources: The Brooklyn Flea (NY), tarlo & graham, Great Dane Furniture


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Door: bright red
  • Exterior: Jade Green
  • Cream / eggshell / white
  • Mustard / lime yellow
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Vintage trolley: Chapel Street Bazaar
  • Art and painting supplies: Heidi’s
  • Books and ephemera: collected over time
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • 1950s replica chairs with black vinyl: Chapel Street Bazaar
  • Artiflex leather recliner: vintage
  • Bauhaus Mart Stam Cantilever S33 chairs, 1926: gift from friend Jane Burton
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • 1940s wooden desk: secondhand store
  • Lamp: IKEA
  • Artwork: Heidi Yardley
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As you enter from the lane, you are greeted by the red door of artist Heidi Yardley’s sunroom studio. (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

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Thanks, Heidi & Ben!