Kirsten’s Creative & Quirky Melbourne Apartment

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Name: Kirsten Perry
Location: Preston — Melbourne, Victoria
Size: 140 square metres
Years lived in: Owned 4 years

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Ceramic artist and educational designer Kirsten lives in a one floor apartment in a suburb of Melbourne. Built in 1979, the brick apartment is filled with quirky ceramic artwork, decorative objects and totems, as well as planters to house her amazing collection of indoor plants.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Like many creative homes, it is filled with Kirsten’s own artwork and that of other’s—often swapped or bought at exhibitions. Over the four years Kirsten has lived in the home, she’s also left her mark by overhauling the bathroom with modern white subway tiles and matte black fixtures. It’s this aesthetic and Kirsten’s collection of objects that make it such a textured and fun home. Recently, she converted her garage into a home studio where she can create her ceramic art. You can follow Kirsten on Instagram to see what she is creating and when she’ll be exhibiting next.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, arty, ’70s indoor plant, Mongolian yurt wannabe. My unit is quite small so I only have room for things I really love. I’m a big fan of texture and tactile objects. Mixing it up gives a sense of warmth and cosiness, especially when you are using natural materials like ceramic, wood, wool and plants. I love to collect antiques and other special things on my travels. My indoor plant collection keeps growing, influenced by my favourite shop in Melbourne, Mr Kitly. I have a lot of my own artwork not because I’m a narcissist but because either: 1) It’s broken; 2) I don’t want to sell it because it took me too long to make; 3) I needed a pot for a plant; 4) no one wanted to buy it.

I like to keep all the walls white because there is enough going on with the objects (probably too much). My bedroom in a lot more subdued and peaceful with my very favourite pieces. It’s so nice to wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night looking at things that make you feel good. I’m into Feng Shui, so I am always moving stuff around, trying to get the best feel for things in the room.

Inspiration: If I need something, I usually make it but I also love going to antique stores when I am travelling overseas. I’m running out of room but will always find a place for something I love, even if it means getting rid of something I don’t love as much. I like making the ‘right’ pot for a plant. Making ceramics allows you to let go; I’ve broken so many things over the years. I’m not allowed any pets so I see my indoor plants as my pets. I actually like taking care of them and get nerdy excited when new shoots emerge.

Favorite Element: The plants. It’s a 1979 unit so I like the big windows. I’m into floorboards, too. I love the feel of the floor porcelain tiles in my bathroom on my bare feet.

Biggest Challenge: It’s a small space so finding room for everything is a challenge.

What Friends Say: There is so much to look at. I say, ‘I guess I don’t see it anymore’. But I’d love to cull more stuff and go more minimal. I need a bigger place perhaps.

Biggest Embarrassment: Kitchen. I can’t justify renovating it yet as it works perfectly fine and updating it would be pointless. Who chooses peach as a kitchen? Someone who saw a peach kitchen on sale, I guess. Not even white tiles go with it. I’m stuck with it for a while. I’m not going to even mention the kitchen floor tiles.

Proudest DIY: I converted my garage to a studio. I put in my own skylight, rendered walls, laid down a floating floor and have just bought a kiln. I spend a lot of time in there, so I wanted it to have good light and look half decent.

Biggest Indulgence: Art work — Brendan Huntley ceramic and painting. I try to buy an artwork at least once a year. My bathroom too I guess. It’s so nice compared to the crappy one I had before.

Best Advice: Buy from local artists and makers or make something yourself. Especially if you want your place to look original and not a design magazine. There is a backlash against mass consumerism which means that people are attracted to the handmade. Handmade objects have soul. Some things are worth paying extra for.

Dream Sources: I’m going to Japan next month so I’ll hunt down some antique stores. I still have a vivid memory of a massive antique store in India 16 years ago that had rooms full of post colonial English/Indian antiques. That weird rusty, round, beaded thing on my zig zag wall is from that store. I have no idea what it is, but I like it. It keeps me guessing, that’s fun.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Painting – Brendan Huntley
  • Ceramic Seal – Vintage
  • Face painting – Rob Mchaffie
  • Chesterfield lounge – Vintage
  • Storm cloud foot stool – Kirsten Perry
  • Pyramid bean bag – Kirsten Perry
  • Ceramic yoga people – Kirsten Perry
  • Indian beaded wall hanging – Antique
  • Ceramic seagull – Vintage
  • Ceramic pyramid – Kirsten Perry
  • Perspex mirrors – Kirsten Perry
  • All other ceramic pots and wall hangings – Kirsten Perry
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Orange retro light – Planet
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Ceramic face sculpture – Brendan Huntley
  • Shingle wooden plinth – Kirsten Perry
  • Japanese wooden Tara bodhisattva – Antique
  • White porcelain vase – Leah Jackson
  • Pyramid bean bag – Kirsten Perry
  • Painting on perspex – Anna White
  • White asterix wall hanging – David Neale
  • Emu feather basket – Tjanpi Desert Weavers
  • Skull and banana sculpture by Toby Pola
  • Beaded African doll – Antique
  • Ceramic building light – Kirsten Perry
  • Eye cushion – Veronica Bartleet
  • Zig zag wood plinth – Kirsten Perry
  • Ceramic Tracksuit plant – Kirsten Perry
  • Japanese Kabuki mask in wooden glass box – Antique
  • Painting above bed – can’t remember sorry but I love it
  • Heaps of jewellery by local makers mostly – Craft Victoria
  • All other ceramics – Kirsten Perry
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Doona cover – BFGF
  • Concrete face sculpture on wheels – Kirsten Perry
  • Framed photograph of old swimming pool – Penelope Hunt
  • Love watercolour – Kirsten Perry
  • All ceramics – Kirsten Perry
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


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You enter the apartment into the open plan living, dining and kitchen. (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

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Thanks, Kirsten!