Bec & Kit’s Musical and Creative Retro-Style Home in Australia

published Dec 14, 2015
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Name: Bec Smith and Kit Warhurst, their 3 1/2-year-old Alfie, and Peggy the cat
Location: Preston — Melbourne, Australia
Size: 122 square meters (1,313 square feet)
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned

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Bec and Kit moved slightly north of Melbourne five years ago after many years of renting in the inner-city. Their new location has afforded them a great family home filled with the treasures they’ve collected over their years together. Bec is a UX designer, graphic designer, and artist, and Kit is a musician and composer (he’s recently stepped out from behind the drum kit and launched himself as a solo artist), so it’s no surprise that their home is filled with bright, graphic artwork and musical instruments.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

With a shared love of retro ’60s and ’70s modernist design, Bec and Kit have found many interesting pieces together—in particular artwork, often found in vintage stores. They have two graphic woolen tapestries in their living room that were found years apart at two different stores, and they have yet to find out the creator. Other feature pieces include the large-scale paintings in the living room and main bedroom; they are treasured artworks painted by Kit’s dad, Eddie Warhurst. Both Bec and Kit grew up in rural Victoria, and these paintings—along with the Mildura cushion from Cottage Industry on the bed—truly reflect their history. The couple also often work from home and have a shared studio workspace converted from a shed in their yard.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Easy minimal ramshackle vintage. An unconscious collection of ’60s and ’70s furniture, found modernist and handmade objects, old and new art, with some street finds and DIY items thrown in. We have magpie eyes for design-relevant pieces, but we try not to overdo it.

Inspiration: Our knowledgeable friends are a never-ending source where we eagerly learn about architects, designers, makers, products, and handmade items. Also traveling of course—where others live and how they choose to live.

Favorite Element: Our artworks and objects that have a significance of place, time, and people.

Biggest Challenge: We both work from home and since the house is actually quite small, it needs to operate well. Things like storage and functionality are becoming higher priorities to us now. We are considering overhead cupboards for the kitchen, bathroom (the bathroom is a trouble spot), and laundry. And finally, where in the world are we going to put Nanna’s piano!

What Friends Say: We have no idea what friends say!

Biggest Embarrassment: The fridge situation is a bit weird. When we bought the house, the fridge was in the middle of the dining room, so we cut down an outer kitchen bench [counter] and moved the fridge into that place, on a plinth, that has the ducted heating beneath it. It’s unusual to put a fridge on a pedestal, but there you have it.

Proudest DIY: We have two: 1. The studio was a bare studded bicycle shed that was transformed by an architect and builder friend by using plywood walls, skylights, and polished floors (floors by another friend). It’s a small but well-implemented space which is soothing to work in. 2. When Kit and Alfie were away for a couple of days, I painted the kitchen tiles. Then our friends at Pop & Scott Workshop cut down and replaced the two-tiered laminated chipboard benchtops [countertops] with a single-leveled Victorian ash wooden benchtop [countertop]. We retained the cabinets as they were but replaced the laminated doors with made-to-measure plywood. It looks awesome, and the difference we feel when using the space is vast.

Biggest Indulgence: The Astra Walker kitchen tap was arranged for us by Eve Stambolis from The Good Room interiors, and is a stand-out winner.

Best Advice: We admire the expertise of people who know what they’re doing with their craft, and their time is worth every cent. Also, go your own way on decoration. I’m very aware of what’s on offer in the way of interior design, and I’ve certainly introduced brand new things into our mix of stuff for sure. But in the end, it’s the story imbued into the belongings that matter to me the most.

Dream Sources: Pop & Scott Workshop in Northcote really does have the most inspirational showroom of furniture and locally made home wares. In addition, as we aren’t ones to discriminate, we will stop at any and every op shop, secondhand store, and transfer station (the tip!). The Boroughs in East Brunswick is a reliable place for more beautiful locally-made things and is my go-to shop for presents.


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Front door (above): Dulux Space Odyssey
  • Interior walls: Dulux Natural White
  • Inside doors: Dulux Alabaster
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Large pot: The Rosso from Pop & Scott in Northcote
  • Concrete trough pot: MAXIMALISM (a secondhand store in Thornbury)
  • Vintage pink pot plant stand: Coburg Treasure Market
  • Wirely pot stand: The Boroughs in East Brunswick
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • ’60s bookshelf: vintage
  • Polaroid and Super 8 cameras: collected over time from thrift stores and Tyabb Packing House Antiques
  • Vintage Space Invaders game consoles: thrifted
  • Ceramic trees: Robyn Phelan
  • Baskets: Preston Market in Preston
  • Orange plastic retro lamp: thrifted
  • Long red Murano glass vase: family heirloom
  • West German vase: thrifted
  • Tessa armchair: thrifted
  • Bongos: Music Swop Shop in Carlton
  • Black stool: IKEA
  • Coronet guitar amp: Music Swop Shop in Carlton
  • Vintage drinks trolley: family heirloom
  • Vintage turquoise lamp: thrifted
  • Curtains: custom-made by Flashback in Westgarth
  • Lounge suite: used for The B Team TV show set, then found a home with us!
  • Ottoman: family heirloom
  • Fold-out stool: Sit Stay Go
  • Vintage teak desk: thrifted
  • Vintage teak coffee table: Camberwell Market
  • Large rug: Armadillo&Co
  • Ceramic bull: Gus McLaren
  • Bauhaus postcards: Tate Modern exhibition
  • Tapestry artworks by unknown artist: thrift stores
  • Large owl artwork: Eddie Warhurst
  • Medium landscape artwork: Eddie Warhurst
  • Small artwork: 13 by Chris Evans
  • Small abstract artworks: Bec Smith
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • ’60s sideboard: eBay
  • West German vases: thrifted
  • Colored bowls: family heirlooms
  • Orange Murano glass vase: family heirloom
  • Horse head bookend: thrifted
  • Plant: North St Botanical in Thornbury
  • Dining table: Smith Street Bazaar
  • Dining chairs: secondhand store
  • Pendant light: Philips
  • Abstract painting: Bec Smith
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Benchtop: Pop & Scott
  • Zillpa placemat: Finders Keepers Market
  • Tap: Astra Walker
  • Marimekko teapot, bowls, and various cups: all gifts
  • Vintage Mikasa coffee cup set: family heirloom
  • Blue bowls by Brooke Thorn: a gift
  • Ceramic vase by Tara Shackell: The Jam Factory in Adelaide
  • Saeco coffee machine: a gift
  • Black and white tea towel: Marimekko
  • Botanical tea towel: Utopia Goods
  • Various ceramic kitchen bowls, utensil holder, and trivets: thrifted, gifts
  • Abstract painting: Bec Smith
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Coffee table used as side table: thrifted
  • West German vase: thrifted
  • Teak drawers: thrifted
  • VOX guitar amp: Music Swop Shop in Carlton
  • ’60s Blue Yamaha Hollowbody guitar: eBay
  • Orange desk lamp: thrifted
  • Bed: IKEA
  • Quilt set: Aura by Tracey Ellis
  • Mildura cushion by Penelope Durston: Cottage Industry in Fitzroy
  • Kartell side table: thrifted
  • Bisotti Italian lamp: thrifted
  • ’60s sideboard used as vanity: Tongue in Groove in Collingwood
  • Round piecrust mirror: Lost & Found Market
  • Yellow pedestal bowl: thrifted
  • Red Murano glass pedestal bowl: family heirloom
  • Blue faces painting by unknown artist: thrifted
  • Large river painting: Eddie Warhurst
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Cot/daybed: made by my dad 20 years ago!
  • Doona: Rosenbergcph
  • Ken Done pillowcase: family heirloom
  • Round cushion: Jumble
  • Small lion cushion: Jonathan Adler Junior
  • Blue and red blanket: Sunday Ganim
  • Felt stars bunting: a gift
  • Orange high-backed swivel armchair: part of set
  • Telephone table: eBay
  • Philippe Starck Ghost Chair for kids: a gift
  • Djembe drum: Byron Bay
  • Green toy box: IKEA
  • Baskets: Preston Market
  • Vintage canisters used for art and craft bits: family heirlooms
  • Plywood drawers for art and craft bits: Officeworks
  • Framed vintage memory game cards: Natalie Jeffcott
  • Teak drawers: thrifted
  • Rope basket: Zillpa
  • Vintage grey donkey: family heirloom
  • Green mushroom lamp by Heico: Big Dreams in Northcote
  • Rug: Armadillo&Co
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • ’60s vinyl record cabinet: thrifted
  • Orange swivel armchair: part of set
  • ’70s tile side table: secondhand store in Thornbury
  • Tessa armchair: thrifted
  • Rug: IKEA
  • Etching artwork: Miranda Leighfield (a NYC-based Australian)
  • Enamel hanging: Victoria Mason
  • Guitar pedal painting: Bec Smith
  • Landscape abstract color study: Bec Smith
  • Large print by artist Giancarlo Isola: Anglesea op shop
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Pot: Pop & Scott
  • Blue stool: Fryerstown Antique Fair
  • Wooden table: street find
  • Small ceramic pot: Bridget Bodenham
  • Blue swivel chair: Sebel
  • White bookcase: IKEA
  • Small kids drum kit: gift
  • Art deco bookcase: tip shop
  • Large rug: from Grand Bazaar in Turkey
  • Small green stripe rug: IKEA
  • Artwork: Bec Smith
  • Rocket Science (one of Kit’s bands) poster: original artwork by Gemma Jones
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Bright blue front door (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

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Thanks, Bec & Kit!