A “Tired Old Shack’s” Incredibly Colorful, Head-to-Toe Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019

A “Tired Old Shack’s” Incredibly Colorful, Head-to-Toe Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Kate and Mal Heppell. With their three boys, Zig (6), Fern (2) and Viv (4 months)
Location: Point Lonsdale — Victoria, Australia
Years Lived In: 3 years, but owned for 12

A few months ago we toured the vibrant Melbourne home of Alex McCabe, one of the co-founders of Australian modern bedding and home decor brand Kip&Co. Today, see inside fellow co-founder Kate Heppell’s home. It’s as enviously colorful as Alex’s, but Kate and her husband Mal’s style has a moody, rustic vibe to it, too. What they both have in common (besides founding a company) is the amount of energy and life their homes exude.

In Kate’s own words: “We purchased this house almost 12 years ago. Well I say house but it really was a tired old shack ready for knock down, or a full head-to-toe reno. The bones of the house were what we loved and so we jumped head first into the latter.

We renovated the house for about five years, then did holiday rentals for a bunch of years before moving here from the city, making the sea change three years ago. The community here is gorgeous and we love having friends for drinks and nibbles in the garden. Our garden is full of fun for the kids so while they tap into their inner wildling, the adults can enjoy a tipple and kid-free conversation — while still keeping an eye on them all.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: The natural light of the house is probably what sets the tone throughout. It is light and bright. The same as our style. Lots of wood, concrete and colour, combined with a coastal feel that is certainly amplified by the soft coastal breeze that you can smell and feel throughout every corner of the house and property.

Inspiration: We are foremost inspired by this kooky little coastal town that we live in. It is rich in Australian native plants, in particular moonahs, which are everywhere and they certainly influenced the woods we used to clad the exterior of the house. In every house we have ever renovated we always bring the outside in as much as we can. Whether that be through decks (which virtually surround our house on both levels) or big windows, which are positioned and angled to look only onto trees and tree tops (only tiny glimpses of our neighbours) or indoor plants. The garden is our family happy place so we do what we can to have it work its way in to our living spaces as much as we can.

Favorite Element: When it comes to the actual house our favourite detail would have to be the bluestone arch in the boys room. For years this double room was just a studio for Mal and I and in the last six months we have transformed it into a double bedroom for Zig and Fern to share. While Fern hasn’t yet moved in yet, the two boys love this space so much and spend most of their time in there playing on the floor or jumping between the beds. It stays beautifully cool in summer, and with hydronic heating it is gorgeous through winter too. So finally, after years of barely using this part of the house it has become a central place for a lot of fun and family activities.

Biggest Challenge: This house has very very limited built-in storage. Mal and I are both notorious “collectors” (well, me mainly) so recently we had wardrobes added to three of the bedrooms, which has made a huge difference, but we also utilize three huge chests which are in different spots around the house to store all sorts of things.

Proudest DIY: Mal and I single-handedly (well, mainly Mal) built and clad in bluestone the arch in the boys’ room.

Biggest Indulgence: I would have to say our art throughout. For the last decade we have celebrated our most important occasions (births, deaths and marriages) with a special piece of art. Our two Ryhs Lee paintings were a gift to Mal for his 30th, our Minnie Pwerle painting was to celebrate the birth of our first son Zig, our popcorn sculptures were purchased on our honeymoon and our favourite Piggy painting in Fern’s bedroom was purchased on a trip to France.

Best Advice: Indulge in some colour. White on white houses can be lovely, but add a splash of colour and feel your house transform. The same can be said for real wood detail and a splash of concrete gives a really stylish feel.


Paint – Porter’s Mango
Kip&Co bedding, throws and cushions – Kip&Co
Rhys Lee painting – Nicholas Thompson Gallery

Paint – Porter’s Nova Scotia
Kip&Co throw, rugs and cushions – Kip&Co
Lots of vintage finds
Metal chest for storage
Dining chairs from Bali
Firewheel made by Malcolm – DMS Landscapes

Paint – Porter’s Banana leaf

Paint – Porter’s Cupcake

Kip&Co rugs, bedding, throws and cushions – Kip&Co
Lightning bolt mirror – Bride & Wolfe
Minnie Pwerle painting
Corn Cob stoll – Third Drawer Down
Banana neon light Kip&Co x Electric Confetti
Lighting from About Space
Keyboard from the Mill Market

Kip&Co rug – Kip&Co
Piano – a gift from Mum and Dad for my 8th birthday
Painting purchased overseas – artist unknown
Lots of treasures from travels.

Rug –Kip&Co
A heap of hats and things collected on travels all over the world.

Paint – Porter’s Jaguar

Concrete sink — DMS Landscapes

Kip&Co Rug, throws and cushions – Kip&Co
Swimming girl photo by Eugene Tan – Aquabumps
Minnie Pwerle Painting
Vintage metal chest for storage – from a vintage market

Messmate wood sourced locally
Hammocks – Hammock Shop
Isa Brown chooks – sourced locally
Chicken Run – built by Mal

Thanks Kate and family!

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