Colorful, Low-Key Retro Style in Melbourne

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Name: Chris and Neil Bellamy
Location: Bayside Melbourne — Victoria, Australia
Years lived in: Owned 15 years

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Chris and Neil Bellamy with their two children Denie and Rhys live in a quiet bayside suburb of Melbourne. Chris is a full time artist who also dabbles in interior design and styling. Neil works in building and finance. They designed and built this house together—living in the home while they renovated, with small children in tow. A challenge in itself!

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Chris and Neil bought their home in 2001. It was originally a tan brick home built in 1949. It had another story added in the early seventies and was renovated again in the later seventies. It was apparently not a pretty house to look at and was surrounded by what seemed to be a jungle!! It needed a lot of work and the house was barely visible from the street. Most of the original 1949 features had long been lost but they kept what they could and renovated their home in a sympathetic way to its original build. Chris has tended to the garden adding succulents and plants over time. Whilst Neil also loves the wood fired oven he built in the backyard. Chris works and paints from home in her a fabulous studio adjacent to the family living room which also overlooks the garden. Chris is also an avid thrift shop buyer, with much of their furniture, decor and trinkets all found through her regular scouring of local shops and small vintage markets. She also has a love for pottery and the cake stands in the pantry are for cakes she makes for her side business: Gwen + Grace Cakes.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Low key retro with lots of natural light and found objects and art

Inspiration: ‘50s, ’60s and a touch of ’70s

Favorite Element: Art and pottery and I can never have enough of either!

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Biggest Challenge: Living without a proper kitchen and bathroom for three and a half years whilst renovating

What Friends Say: They like the art, space and light and that it is a welcoming home. I love to have people feel relaxed when they visit.

Biggest Embarrassment: The make-shift kitchen that we lived with for over three years before finally finishing the current kitchen!

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Proudest DIY: My garden I designed and have grown from scratch with very little money. I adore succulents and having a drought tolerant garden. Another passion is to rescue and restore many pieces of our furniture.

Biggest Indulgence: Art. Almost everything in my house is from the thrift shop, hard rubbish or second hand so every couple of years I buy from an artist I love.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with things that tell your story or give a reflection of yourself.

Dream Sources: Thrift shops, second-hand stores, garage sales, hard rubbish, artist studios, Dinosaur Designs, Chapel Street Bazaar, Mt Waverley Bazaar, Kongwak Markets, Art Galleries.


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)
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The open plan living room. Resin vases by Dinosaur Designs. (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Thanks, Chris and Neil!

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