A Handmade, Homemade Australian Home

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Name: Kirsty and Noel Shorten
Location: Hilton, Western Australia
Size: 150 square meters (1614 square feet)
Years lived in: 3 years

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Fremantle is well known for being a little quirky. People from all over Perth flock there, especially on the weekends, attracted to its laid back vibe and inviting atmosphere. Kirsty and Noel’s little home perched just above all the action, in the neighboring suburb of Hilton, fits right in. It is evident that this couple loves using handmade, re-purposed and re-loved items to fill their home, from the copper-pipe air plant holder hung beside the dining table, to the upcycled coffee table in the living room—made by Noel using vintage tulip boxes they picked up from Amsterdam.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Kirsty is creator of Second Nature Botanicals, where she makes 100% natural products for the home. Noel is a helicopter pilot working in the agricultural industry. It makes sense then, that due to their connection and commitment to the environment, they have endeavored to decorate their home with almost entirely thrifted, handed-down, and handmade furniture and accessories. What this home lacks in new stuff, it makes up for in cozy, loving presence.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

The back balcony is where the couple loves to catch the morning sun. It is also where they love to hang out with the neighbors in the summer. Kirsty and Noel say there is a real community vibe here; puttering around in the front yard can easily lead to a few hours chatting with anyone strolling by. The neighbors have become great friends—the three-year-old that lives next door excitedly comes over every few days to feed Kirsty’s only “pets”: 1000 worms that live out back in a purpose-built worm farm!

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Vintage, quirky retro, industrial and rustic.

Inspiration: We draw inspiration from our creative friends, all vintage / secondhand stores, Spaces (Frankie Mag), The Free People Blog, Instagram of course and anything and everything in life!

Favorite Element: We love the old rustic 1950s style cottage feel of our home including the beautiful wooden floors, the brick fireplace in the kitchen and the fireplace in the lounge. And the detailing on the ceilings.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to agree on new pieces for our home—it took us over 12 months to agree on a rug for the lounge! (He’s the fussy one, not me!).

What Friends Say: Friends when visiting say that they can feel the warmth and it’s full of love and soul.

Biggest Embarrassment: The crumpled shed! I was driving home, left the car in the driveway, went inside, then watched my car crawl past the window and crash into the shed! I left the handbrake off, oops.

Proudest DIY: Using a drill by myself for the first time to do the picture cluster that’s in the lounge above the couch (I broke my husband’s drill bit but he’s since forgiven me!).

Biggest Indulgence: We love quirky art so collect pieces from all over the place.

Best Advice: Spend your days doing the things you love because how you spend your days is how you spend your life.

Dream Sources: Ahhhh dreams are free—the beautiful vintage stores in Guildford, Perth!!



  • Walls: Dulux Natural White
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Polaroid Wall: Instax camera, images taken by Kirsty
  • Bunting: handmade by friend
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Rug: Freedom
  • Mirror: Prime Liquidations
  • Coffee table: Noel upcycled from vintage Tulip boxes from Amsterdam
  • On wall: Whale- Sofie Seyah; Not all those who wander- Spokenshop; Rapunzel- Natalie Briney; Vintage World Map- Eumundi markets
  • Blue draws: vintage find
  • Suitcases: vintage
  • Heart art: Jessica Rykers
  • Vintage Typewriter: vintage
  • Rope balls in fireplace: Etsy
  • Flower head (above book shelf): Paige Leeder
  • Stool: IKEA
  • Plant in corner on stool: Masters
  • Plant at fireplace : Kmart
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Woven rug: IKEA
  • Dining Set: thrifted
  • Wine rack: Noel upcycled from old pallet
  • Cooper air plant feature: handmade by Noel
  • Girl with llamas art: Kozyndan
  • Macrame hanging: handmade by Kirsty
  • Brown leather chair: vintage find
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Pots: Scanpan
  • Knives: Global
  • Spice rack: Noel upcycled from a set of old draws
  • Pot hanger: Noel upcycled from a second hand ladder
  • Sound Bowls: Blue Buddha
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


  • Cow hide: IKEA
  • Bed setting: The BedShed
  • Mirror: vintage
  • Wardrobe: second-hand off gumtree
  • Frame Cluster above bed: Lion and world map- Shan Leach Design; Hearts-handmade by Kerri; Whippet- vintage
(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)


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Thanks, Kirsty and Noel!