Julie and Michael’s Authentic, Handcrafted Family Home

published Nov 15, 2015
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Name: Julie and Michael Martino
Location: Doubleview, Western Australia
Size: 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Years lived in: 17 Years; Owned

Julie and Michael’s home is truly one-of-a-kind. Designed by a Swiss architect and built by a Polish migrant in the ’90s, it is full of quirky features—all of which Julie has embraced with her beautiful knack for mixing antiques and roadside junk finds with modern, handmade pieces. The result is a home brimming with soul and personality.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

The craftsmanship and attention to detail that the original builder put into this home is second to none. The floors are a mix of timber and polished Australian grey granite laid in a “crazy paving” pattern. Timber is also featured on all other surfaces, from the lined ceilings and beams to the window and door frames. The wood never once feels overbearing, though, as Julie has painted all the adjoining walls white, and there are wide-open windows in every room letting in lots of natural light. Those white walls are also a perfect base for all the art that Julie loves to collect. It is her biggest indulgence, she says, but the layers of art on every wall add to the spirit and character of the home.

Julie also loves to add in lots of indoor greenery, which she plants in daughter Poppy’s pots—Julie and Michael are the West Coast suppliers of Pop & Scott products—and displays in almost every room. The plant life works so well against all the timber features, bringing in bright color to every room.

Every single piece in this home has a story. The house feels authentic, and it’s such a beautiful place to relax and entertain in—which Julie and Michael like to do often. They have a large combined family and love nothing better than to have all their children and grandchildren gathered at home for a meal, usually in the converted outdoor patio in the backyard that acts as a second living room. It is decorated just as the other rooms of the house are; there is a mix of sculptures, a vintage wrought iron bed (used as a daybed) brought down from the family farm, thrifted tables and chairs, and pots of cacti and other greenery wherever there is a spare surface.

Julie and Michael have done such a brilliant job adding their beautiful, quirky, signature touch to this handcrafted, well-designed family home. It oozes soul and as soon as you walk in, it feels embracing and warm—and makes it very hard for you to want to leave. I can understand why they have stayed for over 17 years, and I am sure they will be there for many more years to come.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I love authentic, loved, and lived-in houses. I love homes from different cultures and different eras and I believe anything goes as long as you love it and it works for you. I love the serenity that indoor plants bring to a room. I love the life and energy that artwork brings to a home. I also love to find treasures and give them new life.

Inspiration: Cultures that I have visited, colors of nature, old farmhouses, art galleries, gardens.

Favorite Element: Cool granite floors and sawn timbers.

Biggest Challenge: Resisting the urge to paint all the timber white.

What Friends Say: “This house has got soul.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The front verge [a grassy border, as along a road].

Proudest DIY: Painting the outside of the house.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying paintings—I can’t get enough!

Best Advice: Follow your heart.

Dream Sources: Travel, old homes, op shops, Country Style, Vogue Living, and, of course, Pinterest.


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • All walls: Dulux Natural White
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Oak dresser: purchased from the Clough family in Wembley in the ’70s
  • Writing desk: from the family farm in Shackleton
  • Pots: Pop & Scott
  • Bronze standard lamp: roadside treasure
  • Painting: by Mitjili Napurrula
  • Charcoal drawing: by Brian Simmonds
  • Oil painting: by John Oldham
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • T. H Browne dining suite: from Michael’s childhood family home
  • Dreamweaver light shade: Pop & Scott
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Countertop: Corian
  • Oven: Miele
  • Hot plate: Miele
  • Artwork: gift from daughter from Mexico
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Tropical island painting: found on the verge
  • Dressing table and bedside table: from an old farm homestead in Erikin
  • Glass bottles and vases: thrifted
  • Linen curtains: made from linen purchased in Kiev many years ago
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Dressing table: from the family farm in Shackleton
  • Mirror: Bali
  • Painting over bath: by Jessica Tremp
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Tables: thrifted
  • Chairs: thrifted
  • Wooden sculpture: by Russell Sheridan
  • Wrought iron beds: from family farm
  • Pots: Pop & Scott
  • Outdoor swing: Pop & Scott
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Julie and Michael’s front yard is an oasis filled with brightly colored pots and plenty of greenery. (Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

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Thanks, Julie & Michael!