A Mosaic Artist’s Minimal & Modern Melbourne Cottage
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Name: Claire Plummer
Location: Brunswick — Melbourne, Australia
Size: 2,034 square feet
Years lived in: 15 years, owned
It might be surprising to learn that Claire Plummer — a telecommunications analyst by day, mosaic artist by night — is a self-confessed minimalist when it comes to decorating her home. But it’s precisely this conscious decision to keep it simple with furnishings that’s allowed the amazing, one-of-kind mosaic art she creates to shine.
Built in 1890, the three-bedroom terrace house has a long hallway, culminating in a modern kitchen, dining and living area that opens onto Claire’s backyard and her stunning wall of mosaic art.
Claire has decorated her home with artwork created by artist friends (Gemma Donnellan and Paloma White), as well as many pieces sourced on Etsy. The furniture is a combination of vintage, store bought and made to measure, like the custom Murphy beds in the two spare bedrooms, for friends and guests who stay over. Claire can open the cupboard-like structures and simply fold the beds down.
However, it is her amazing mosaic artwork — on view from her living room and kitchen — that truly makes her home. Claire’s been doing mosaic work for ten years now, and she creates her giant mosaic compositions out of mostly recycled materials like old plates and mirrors in her spare time outside of work hours. Large pieces can take three to six months each. Unfortunately, Claire has recently found out that the boundary wall on which she’s created her mosaic masterpieces is marked for demolition — due to the proposed re-development of the building next door. Fingers crossed that her mosaics can be saved from destruction!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: In this era of over consumption of resources I’m passionate about reducing my carbon footprint, so my style is definitely minimalist.
Inspiration: Light, air, comfort, art, greenery, living simply, and affordability.
Favorite Element: The light-filled lounge room and my private backyard.
Biggest Challenge: Currently it is about the loss of my wall of mosaics and artwork, due to developers proposing to build a 10-story building next door. My Victorian terrace house was built in 1890 and has a heritage overlay, and I can’t see how a sheer rise of a 10-story building immediately adjacent to my single-story terrace house could be considered in any way respectful. I’m very supportive of the site being developed, but not with the current plan.
What Friends Say: My friends love my backyard.
Biggest Embarrassment: My cheap homemade curtains looked cheap and homemade; I’m so glad I’ve raised the bar and moved on.
Proudest DIY: I project managed the renovation of this house 10 years ago and to ensure it was affordable, I was always the craftspeoples’ spare pair of hands. Plastering was the worst job, but I always felt very proud after doing such industrious work.
Biggest Indulgence: My Tempur mattress, which fosters cuddling and snuggling in bed. It’s true what they say, cuddling kills depression, relieves anxiety and strengthens the immune system.
Best Advice: Create a style that matches who you are and makes you feel good. If you live in a small space it’s worth owning a measuring tape and paying the extra money for customised furniture. Lastly, wait — most things go on SALE.
Dream Sources: I love homes that express people’s uniqueness and individuality.
PAINT & COLORS
White Watsonia by Dulux on the walls and Barrister White by Dulux for skirting, cornices, and the powder coated glass doors.
Furniture — King Living
Artwork — from friends Gemma Donnellan and Paloma White; Etsy; and second-hand shops
Handmade cushions — Bursaria Workshop on Etsy
Rug — Milk & Sugar
TV cabinet — Freedom
Lamp – retro second-hand find
Magazine table – retro second-hand gift from my friend Amanda
Foot stool handmade from recycled timber — Jamie Gaunt, Red Hill market
Curtains — Price Right Blinds
Peter Dunne is an amazing landscaper who has no online presence, all his work is sourced from word of mouth. He transformed my backyard and carport into a private outdoor entertaining space, and has hung many of my mosaics.
Mike Makatron did the amazing artwork in the outdoor entertaining area/carport.
The mosaics were made using mostly recycled materials: old plates and mirrors from Savers; Op Shops; and garage sales.
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