Madeleine & Karl’s Colorful and Creative Melbourne Home

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Name: Madeleine and Karl Stamer
Location: Caulfield; Melbourne, Australia
Size: 110 square metres (1,184 square feet)
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned for 10 years

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The minute you walk into this wonderful family home- filled with color and beautiful artwork, much of it created by Madeleine- you wish it was your own. The mixture of vintage, new, and handmade/handcrafted has been collected over time and is well thought-out and displayed so effortlessly.

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Maddi Stamer in the living room with Hug the cat (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Madeleine, of Little Circus Design, is a visual arts teacher and practicing artist/illustrator, whilst Karl runs Lantern Printing, a boutique printing and scanning studio. They bought their home 10 years ago and rented it out until a few years ago, when they renovated the single front Edwardian brick home in inner-city Melbourne. They have most recently converted the roof attic into a children’s retreat for their two daughters, Wilhelmina and Ada, and Hug the cat (who joined me up there).

They decorate and fill their home with colorful artwork created by their two daughters as well as work from other artists, designers, and friends. They support many local and small businesses here in Melbourne, displaying a talent for combining vintage items with new. Madeleine has a love of Mexican folk art and trinkets, which can be seen decorating the master bedroom. She creates her own artwork at the dining room table and anxiously awaits the refurbishment of the outdoor shed into a studio.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Old meets new with a dash of cluttered chaos.

Inspiration: I love browsing through Green Magazine for a dose of sustainable design porn.

Favorite Element: The view to our giant liquidambar tree from the back room plus the added roof windows in the attic, bathroom, hall, and kitchen. We now have an abundance of natural light.

Biggest Challenge: Squeezing a bathtub into our teensy bathroom. We had to chisel out some of the bathroom wall to slot the bath in. It was a real life Tetris scenario.

What Friends Say: “It’s bigger than I expected.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitty litter tray and what lurks behind the laundry doors.

Proudest DIY: Installing the main bedroom fireplace mantle and concreting the hearth. I’m also proud of our little kitchen garden patch in the front yard.

Biggest Indulgence: The roof windows and ducted heating.

Best Advice: Stick to your budget and aim for quality over a quick fix.

Dream Sources:: I’m always on the lookout for more art (or swaps!!!!!). I’m dreaming of owning a Miranda Skoczek painting one of these days. A girl can dream…


“We’re certainly not design snobs and appreciate all things Ikea through to our more sentimental pieces. Everything has its place in the scheme of things.”

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


“We painted every room using trade white paint. Not very exotic, sorry… Except for the pink wall in the living room, which is Cherish by Haymes paints.”

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Light shade above table: Ikea
  • Vanitas print: Bjorn Wiinblad
  • Framed Pear print above mantel: Marimekko fabric
  • Sunflower sculpture: Madeleine Stamer
  • Candelabra by Zicarda
  • Wall of art: including artwork by Mirka Moira, Rob Ryan, Friends with You, Matte Stephens, Catherine Campbell, Madeleine Stamer, and Shepard Fairey
  • Felt South Melbourne Pennant by Cottage Industry
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Industrial kitchen island bench: Nook
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


  • Quilt framed above the bed: David Bromley
  • Cushions: Donna Wilson
  • Mexican and vintage crucifixes with mini art: Ashley Goldberg
(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)


(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

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Thanks, Madeleine & Karl!