A Cozy Century-Old Coastal Cottage in Australia

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Name: Kirsty Davey and Simon Taylor and their daughter, Mali
Location: Victoria, Australia
Size: 180 square meters (1,672 square feet)
Years lived in: 7 years; Rented

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Kirsty and Simon moved to Victoria’s coast from Melbourne when they realized they were spending nearly every weekend there to feed Simon’s addiction to the Australian surf. It’s been a love affair ever since, with weekends spent cooking, surfing, gardening, and enjoying the relaxed coastal lifestyle. Their daughter, Mali, has only ever lived on the Great Ocean Road, and now they can’t imagine going back to the city. Their home is a tapestry of textures, fibers, and gathered natural and vintage ephemera and is a tribute to their dedication to sustainability.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

So much of the furniture is reclaimed or restored, and the couple’s love of nature is evident at every turn. It’s also a gallery of sorts, full of works by local and overseas artists and makers. Kirsty’s gift of curation continues at her thoughtfully stocked online shop, Otis & Otto, that’s full of beautiful handmade items—some of which also feature in her home!

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Kirsty tells me the house has some interesting history to it. Over 100 years old, the original cottage was trucked across the state from Ballarat in the 1950s to its current location in Jan Juc. It had a long-term owner who made some interesting (read: unconventional!) additions, put down statement carpet, and created the quirky space that Kirsty and Simon have lovingly embraced and styled for the last seven years.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Simon actually still sees the original owner around town, and they often talk about the house. The current landlord is located in another state and, happily for Kirsty and Simon, is very comfortable with them making big changes like painting walls, ripping up old carpet, and hanging art from walls and even a swing from the roof. Despite their home’s quirks, Kirsty and Simon love the place and are only ever tempted to move in the depths of winter, when its lack of insulation drives them a little insane. But then spring eventually returns, and the magic of this place casts its spell on them once more.

(Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Relaxed. Eclectic. Sentimental.

Inspiration: Natural light, fibers, and phenomena.

Favorite Element: The kitchen/living/dining area. It’s an open space for gathering, feasting, reading, listening to vinyl, drinking tea, and building cubby houses.

Biggest Challenge: Living economically. We have limited storage!

What Friends Say: What’s for dessert?

Biggest Embarrassment: Amassing dirty dishes!

Proudest DIY: Rescuing our lounge chairs from the sidewalk and restoring them.

Biggest Indulgence: Indoor Plants/Cookbooks/Fromage

Best Advice: Respond to the integrity of a dwelling by embracing and repurposing its original features, quirks, and flaws…

Dream Sources: Endlessly inspired by Donald Judd’s Las Casas in Marfa, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, Claire Basler’s Château de Beauvoir in France, and University of Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard



  • Wellington boots: Hunter Boots
  • Plant stand: vintage
  • Acoustic guitar: Maton
  • Balinese tapestry: antique
  • Tambourine: antique
  • Tree: Fiddle-Leaf Fig
  • Wooden rocking horse: vintage
  • Toy barn: handcrafted via Wild Earth in Torquay
  • Armchairs: vintage
  • Mini cane chair: vintage
  • Dollhouse: Sevi, Italy
  • Rosewood coffee table: Danish via Grandfathers Axe in Northcote
  • Leather sofa: Danish via Angelucci 21st Century in Collingwood
  • Rattan basket and tray: vintage via Coastal Trader in Portarlington
  • Magazine rack: Jorge via Gauzak
  • Stripe bench seat: vintage
  • Amplifier: vintage Yamaha
  • Turntable: vintage Rega
  • Timber vessels: Andrea Shaw
  • Paper vase: Nobitsutsu from Mr Kitly
  • Ceramic vessel: Tara Shackell
  • Carved boab tree, nut, and eel catcher: Australian Indigenous artifacts
  • Artwork over the fireplace: Don Pwerle
  • ONE / TWO / THREE Artwork: Emmelene Victoria



  • Smeg Fab 28 refrigerator: a wedding gift—thanks, Mom!
  • Terracotta water filter: Stefani
  • Hanging mini fig tree: High Swan Dive in Newcastle
  • Wooden mortar and pestle: ICI Antiques in Midi-Pyrenees France
  • Hanging ceramic bowl: Kat & Rodger via General Store in Venice
  • Copper saucepans: vintage via French flea market
  • Bar: vintage
  • Fan: vintage Revelair
  • Straw market tote: French flea market
  • Ceramic vessels: Bridget Bodenham in Hepburn Springs
  • Splatter mugs: Peter Shire via Third Drawer Down in Fitzroy
  • Coffeemaker: Chemex via Intelligentsia in Los Angeles
  • Japanese kettle: Hario Buono via Market Lane Coffee in Melbourne
  • Espresso maker: Bialetti Moka via Queen Vic Market in Melbourne





  • Honey Bears artwork: Jae Copp in Melbourne



  • Desk: DIY with plywood from Bunnings Warehouse and trestle legs from IKEA


  • Vintage fly fishing basket: a gift—thanks, Dad!
  • Skateboard: ALVA
  • Surfboard: Chilli
  • Outdoor table and chairs: vintage via eBay
  • Little red wagon: Radio Flyer
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The house, a rustic weatherboard cottage, is over 100 years old; in the 1950s, it was moved from the country to its current location. (Image credit: Sophie Timothy)

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Thanks, Kirsty & Simon!