A Minimal, Handmade Melbourne Rental House

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Minimal, Handmade Melbourne Rental House

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Aliça and Antony + Teti (dog) + Claudia and Sybil (cats)
Location: Thornbury — Melbourne, Australia
Size: 2800 square feet
Years lived in: 3 months! Rented

Aliça and Antony have only quite recently moved into their cute rental home in the northern suburb of Thornbury in Melbourne. Unfortunately for them, their stay is short lived; the house is due to be demolished and the land redeveloped at the end of the year. However, this has not stopped them from creating a peaceful, creative and comfortable place to live and work from. Aliça is a multidisciplinary visual artist, collector and maker with a love for materials and objects and creates art and ceramics under the name of Rara Studio.

As you enter through the front door of the cream brick home you can see their love of indoor plants in the living room — they have some beauties. The house is great for two creatives who work at home; Aliça and Antony both have their own office and studio space. These types of homes were initially built in the 1950s and into the 1960s — the layout is separated by a corridor that divides the home through the middle.

Though it’s only been three months, the couple has already had a big impact on the home’s look. When they moved in, the kitchen had nothing but a sink and stove, so they brought in all the shelves and cupboards. They also added antique charm with the kitchen table, a family heirloom. Aliça’s grandparents and parents are all English and the table is an English antique that was once used in the laundry room of Aliça’s Grandma Laura’s — her mum’s mum. “When she died my mum inherited it and she took it to France. Then a few years ago they sold their home and moved back to Australia and my mum gave it to me.” It has a little drawer at the front with a brass knob where Aliça keeps tea towels.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Minimal, vintage, homely, handmade

Inspiration: I’m inspired by nature, minimal design, handmade objects and textiles, travel, and my time living in Europe and Indonesia.

Favorite Element: The large north-facing windows — such lovely light throughout the day. Also that it has three little bedrooms so we can each have our own spaces in the house — a studio for me and an office for Antony. And the big fruit trees out the back.

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen has no cupboards! There was just a sink and stove when we moved in. Luckily we had lots of wooden sideboards and shelving that fitted perfectly.

What Friends Say: “Feels like a cute country cottage.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom! Don’t look behind the shower curtain — it needs some work :/

Proudest DIY: When we ripped up all the carpets to find lovely hardwood floors. Also Antony and I built the wooden/brick shelves in my studio using salvaged wood from an old house that was being renovated nearby.

Biggest Indulgence: Indoor plants! I can’t stop — it’s an addiction.

Best Advice: Only buy and keep things you really love! My mum brought me up to be thrifty and try to repair and reuse things. We think the best pieces are preloved and have character. Also, move things around. I love rearranging every now and again — it brings a freshness to the house without having to keep buying new things.

Dream Sources: I love Pinterest for images and ideas. I get a lot of great things from garage sales, op shops and occasionally off the side of the road during hard rubbish. I love European/Australian antiques and vintage pieces. I also love doing art swaps with friends.


Sofa — Merimbula op shop
Linen throw on sofa — Kiosk
Cushions — Some handmade by me, cactus print by Amelie Mancini
‘OUT’ wool wall hanging — Woven by me during a residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop
White ceramic vase — RARA Studio
Terazzo Painting on mantelpiece — Lizzy Sampson
Wayang Puppet — Bought when travelling in Jogjakarta, Indonesia
Plants — Garage sales, Mr Kitly, Loose Leaf, Lygon St Nursery
Vintage turkoman rug — Gumtree
Baskets — Vintage and IKEA

Antique wooden dining table — It was my grandmother’s – from England.
Ceramics on the table — RARA Studio and vintage pieces
Flowers and fruit — Foraged from the garden
Hardwood Sideboard and shelves near stove — Shelves gifted, sideboard saved from the side of the road
Hardwood Sideboard and shelves — Shelves thrifted and sideboard was a gift from my mum when Antony and I first moved in together
Wool rug — Garage sale
Crystal glasses — Vintage, from our wedding

Ceramic studio of RARA Studio
Round wooden table with brass legs — Douglas & Bec
Hardwood shelves — Salvaged and put together by Antony
Framed photograph — ‘In Plain Sight (Pink)’ – collaboration with Lizzy Sampson
Illustration of Aliça and pets — Seth Searle
Weaving — Ria Green
Haws brass plant mister — Mr Kitly
Baskets — From France, Africa and Australia
Wooden stool — Estate sale

Wooden chest of draws — Garage sale – I added the brass knobs
Hand-woven Rug — From travels in Oaxaca, Mexico
Ceramic vase and jewelry dish — RARA Studio

Rubber plant — From the best garage sale ever
Vintage Metal horse — Dug up in the back yard while gardening

Vintage USSR Map — Thrifted at a garage sale by my mum as a gift to Antony
Hardwood desk — Thrifted. An original work table from Melbourne University – where Antony is currently doing his Masters.
Brass box — Mr Kitly
Painting above desk — Painted by me in 2012

Dried chilies — Grown by my friend Georgia

Thanks, Aliça & Antony!

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