This Colorful Australian Home Is Bursting With Art

updated Dec 19, 2019
the world at home

This Colorful Australian Home Is Bursting With Art

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Square feet
Sq ft

Madeleine Stamer and family
Gardenvale — Melbourne, Australia
400 square meters
Lived in 2 years

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We visited artist and illustrator Madeleine Stamer‘s previous home four years ago; it was full of vintage finds, colorful decor, and a lot of her beautiful art pieces. She and her partner Karl have since moved into a larger renovated home to accommodate their two daughters (and two cats Hug and Otto) in the Melbourne suburb of Gardenvale. The surroundings may have changed, but their keen sense of style is here in the new home, as well as plenty of art again. But though you may recognize a few of the same elements in this house tour as in the last one, this isn’t a stagnant space. “I love the idea of living in an interactive, ever-evolving informal art gallery,” writes Madeleine below.

Gorgeous fluffy cat Otto.

Along with creating art, Madeleine also teaches it as an art educator. Karl runs a boutique printing business called Lantern Printing. You can also follow Madeleine on Instagram where you can see more of her latest artworks and design style.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I love the idea of living in an interactive, ever-evolving informal art gallery. I am a color, pattern, and texture nerd who appreciates both maximalism and minimalism, so the struggle is real when I attempt to de-clutter. Our home is filled with art, vintage textiles, plants, beloved kids’ treasures, oddities, family mementos, and a gentle nod to the seriousness of silliness. 

Inspiration: Soulful and sustainable architecture that combines recycled and reclaimed materials that’s immersed with art and nature. Think Robin Boyd meets Frida’s Casa Azul!

Favorite Element: There’s so many lovely architectural elements and hidden gems peppered throughout the house. It’s hard to choose just one favorite element but if I had to narrow it down it would be the ’70s style earthenware tiles in the ensuite shower. The tiles are a perfect blend of blue and green creamy glaze, almost identical if not the same as these pretties

Biggest Challenge: Getting furniture in or out of my daughter’s attic bedroom. The only accessible point is via a very tight spiral staircase. Thank god for flat-packed furniture and rolled up mattresses! 

What Friends Say: “Can I please live in your attic?!” It’s such a great space. It’s the perfect teen retreat and cat hideout plus it’s almost the full length of the house! 

Biggest Embarrassment: Slime stains; it’s the bane of my existence! My daughter’s bedroom carpet is covered in it, no exaggeration. Best not to discuss it actually or I’ll be reduced to tears. Some parents will understand. Oh, and sporadic cat fur clumps from Otto.

Proudest DIY: The garden. When we purchased the house, the garden had a heap of potential but lacked personality. We’re super eager green thumbs so we installed a couple of herb gardens and planted a bunch of edible plants. After it rains the mixed aroma of mint, rosemary, curry bush, and basil becomes a sensory treat! On the Northern side of the house we planted Boston Ivy which serves as a most excellent passive cooling system during the warmer months. It’s a visual delight in autumn and grows like gangbusters, so win-win! We’ve also added drought tolerant species, indigenous plants, and mini gums to help attract native birds, bees, and little beasties. After two years, the garden is starting to take shape, fingers crossed we’ll have a verdant growth spurt this coming spring.

Biggest Indulgence: Making the house more energy efficient has been our biggest goal. We replaced all the downlights with energy saving LED globes and in the attic (my eldest daughter’s bedroom) we installed two big roof windows and a whirlybird for ventilation. The roof windows instantly added much needed natural light and better air circulation making it a more usable and healthier space to live in. In the darker parts of the house, particularly in the hallway we installed a couple of ‘sun tunnels’ allowing for natural light passages in otherwise dark and dingy areas of the house. We’ve certainly cut down on our electricity bills as a result!

Best Advice: Have an eco-friendly, long-term vision for your home, whether you own or rent. Invest in vintage, roadside finds, hand-me-downs, and secondhand pieces that you connect with and will stand the test of time. Celebrate your children’s artistic endeavours and display them proudly. 

Artwork tip: Save up to get work professionally framed, you’ll appreciate it in the long run. Lastly, we’re certainly not design snobs and appreciate all things IKEA through to rickety old sentimental pieces and the odd classic designer piece or two. Everything has its place in the scheme of things. 



  • Haymes Trade White throughout with the exception of Haymes blackboard paint in Madeleine’s studio and Ada’s bedroom. 


  • Lunar Wrass painting by Katie McKinnon
  • Hand me down old ‘meat safe’ cabinet.
  • Cosmic Might print by Kirra Jamison
  • Glass vessels made by Renée Marie
  • Mirka Mora print
  • Miho storage Beetle from One Girl Studio
  • Giant pencil from Third Drawer Down


  • Colourful Indigenous painting by Betty Mbitjana Pwerle
  • Black and White Indigenous painting by Mitjili Napurrula
  • Stretched Pear fabric by Marimekko
  • Mid century coffee table sourced on eBay AU
  • Mid century chairs bought off Gumtree which Madeleine had recovered. 
  • Rug from Ikea collaboration with Seulgi Lee
  • Pink Dove painting by Madeleine Stamer
  • Small budgie with florals painting by Michelle Fogarty
  • The antique Australian colonial sideboard was gifted to Madeleine by her mother.
  • Small geometric painting by Anna Cole
  • Black ceramic sunflower by Madeleine Stamer
  • Vintage West German pottery 


  • Vintage G Plan chairs by Kofod Larsen
  • The old farm table was passed down to Madeleine from her family
  • Kilims imported by Madeleine from Turkey
  • Golden floral garland from West Elm
  • Candelabra from Keep Store


  • IKEA kitchen
  • Cockatoo painting by Geoffrey Carran
  • Salon Wall: Colourful Life (Skeleton Hand) by Maurice Golotta, Nicole Durling ceramic ‘Love Me’ lolly, Giant ceramic hair clips by Ebony Postma, children’s art, paint dripped platter by Rowena Martinich, Black and white ceramic faces by Louise Kyriakou.



  • Antique cast iron bed head bought off Gumtree
  • Mid century drawers bought off eBay Au
  • Book shelf found on the side of the road
  • Chair from Ikea
  • Blackboard wall (Haymes blackboard paint)
  • Sweet Cheeks painting by Madeleine Stamer
  • Pear and Apple prints by Elizabeth Dunker (Fine Little Day)
  • Cloud cushion by Homework Textiles
  • Blue Face cushion by Beci Orpin 


  • Flat pack furniture from IKEA
  • Nopah blanket from Sage & Clare 
  • Floral bedlinen from Kip & Co
  • Vintage bedside table was a roadside find
  • Rugs from Ikea and Bunnings (!)
  • Lip mirror from Bride and Wolfe
A new artwork 'Acacia' by Madeleine hangs in the bathroom.




The wonderful orange washing machine and dryer are from Gorenje - they were on sale as no one seemed to want orange appliances!



  • Acapulco Chairs from Amor y Locura

Thanks Madeleine and family!

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