You Haven’t Seen Quirky Until You’ve Seen the Crocodile Coffee Table in This Melbourne Townhouse
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Name: Fenella, husband Lee, two sons Finnian and Otter, and pugs Reginald and Joyce, (named after Fenella’s grandparents)
Location: Brunswick East — Melbourne, Australia
Type of Home: Townhouse
Size: 1350 square feet
Years lived in: Under a year, renting
“We’d been looking for a new place (to rent) for a while before we found this place,” begins designer and creator Fenella McGowan. “We arrived early and watched as what felt like about 30 other couples lined up behind us. I remember this one person in particular who was really trying their hardest to psych us out, but the minute my husband and I walked into the space, we just had a gut feeling that it was going to be ours! It instantly felt like home.”
The house, which they have been renting for just under a year, is only 1350 square feet, but Fenella says it feels “deceptively large.” The downstairs features a bright and sunny open plan kitchen, living room, and dining room, all lit by an inner courtyard, which also does a great job of brightening the inner rooms upstairs, too. And tall ceilings on the second floor give an air of spaciousness to those spaces.
“I think what really sold it to us was just how comfortable the place made our toddler. He ADORES the space, both inside and out,” Fenella explains. And let’s face it, life is sooo much easier when the toddler is happy! He’s forever trying to lure people upstairs so they can race with him through the hall to our bedroom. Many of our friends have now fallen victim to this game — what can I say; he’s convincing!”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Minimalist Maximalism, I guess?!
Inspiration: My inspiration changes from day to day. Our space is forever changing with us — what inspires me one day will change the next, but I can tell you what drives me to design our space. All I really try to do is create a fun, happy, nurturing space for my family to live in.
Favorite Element: My favorite element would have to be our blue Kroko coffee table. We really broke the budget on this item. It was made in Germany so the freight was almost as much as the coffee table itself, but I love it with all of my heart and think it was worth every penny. It provides such a presence to the space. His little face is so beautiful and there’s a storage unit in the middle making it functional! I’m still waiting for my son to name him but I can confirm he feeds him from time to time. I’m often finding grapes or blueberries in his mouth.
I found the Kroko via a DM on Instagram. Someone whom I’d never met sent me a link to Art Can Break Your Heart’s page saying that they think I’d love their work, and I did! I clicked on their website and fell in love with every single item! If I could I’d buy more items but I think we need a bigger space before I dare suggest this to my husband!
I do have to mention how fabulous Art Can Break Your Heart are to deal with. It was such a lovely transaction — I can’t recommend buying something from them highly enough! You wont regret it!
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is forever trying to cater to my champagne taste on our beer budget! Haha. We’ve made some huge splurges on our big ticket items but aren’t afraid to go to IKEA or Target or wherever has a good deal for other pieces. I treat an interior as I would my wardrobe; you spurge on some items and go cookie cutter for others. It’s all about balance! That is, until I’m splash with cash.
Proudest DIY: Right now it would have to be the ABC poster I made for my son’s room — I really love it! He’s going through a massive alphabet phase so I was hunting around for something that would both suit his room as well as his current loves but was coming up short — so late one night I cracked open the computer and whipped something up myself!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I think our home is unique in how we source our items and then subsequently style it. We don’t actively follow any trends or labels, so each piece has been chosen to complement its surroundings. I’d say the main thing we try to do in our space is have fun! On reflection, there seems to be a running theme of faces and animals?! If it makes us smile, there’s a good chance it’s coming home!
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: As far as organizing goes, try and do it from the start and be methodical. Not the most groundbreaking advice but it’s tried and tested.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I always ask my clients how they’d like to “feel” in a space. Do you want to feel “relaxed” or “happy” or ‘calm’ or ‘excited’. It’s a simple question but, more often than not, it gets you to think about how you’ll move through your space, and unveils hidden desires (be they textures, colors, patterns or items) that help you create your dream space.
- Dog vase — Katie Kimmell
- Photography artwork — Me
- Glass vase and flowers — Vintage find
- Arianna Sofa — Oliver Birch
- Checkered Rug — Etsy
- Krok Coffee Table — Art Can Break Your Heart
- Floor Lamp — Didi Dora
- Trolley — IKEA
- Tulip Vase — Etsy
- Family Portrait Drawing — Rikki
- Blue/Green Mohair Rug — Temple & Webster
- Wall Sun — V.Happyco
- Smilie Face Plates — Lawn Bowls
- Aztec face — Louise Kyriakou
- Artwork — Melanie Macilwain Original
- Large squiggle light — Fisch Designs
- Small squiggle light — Etsy
- Fruit Bowl — Kaz Ceramics
- Liquorice Allsort Man — Ebay
- Cabbage Container — My Gran
- Dining Table and Benches — Vincent Designs
- Red Chairs — Curated Spaces
- Large Rock Artwork — Me
- Breakfast Artwork — Me
- Breakfast Artwork OrangeFrame — Etsy
- Breakfast for Dinner plate — James Lemon
- Cactus figurines — Clay Booty
- Round light — IKEA
- Blue Rug — Etsy
- Cake Stand — Etsy
- Banging Hangin Hanger — Bangin Hangin
- Bed Frame — Facebook Market Place
- Bed Cover — Halcyon Nights
- Bed Sheet — Kip&Co
- Bedside Table — Replica Furniture
- Sunny Rug — Myer (sold out)
- Cloud Lamp — Ebay
- Wall cloud lights — IKEA
- ABC artwork — Me
- Bookshelf — IKEA
- Giraffe — South Melbourne Market
- Wall Lion — Rumi & Fae
- Polar bear head — Monster Threads
- Large Dog Artwork — Me
- Colorful glass plate — Lawn Bowls
- Orange glass bowl — Etsy
- Resin sculptures — Dinosaur Designs
- Antique glass jug — My Gran
- Antique Fish candle Holders — Vintage Store in Malvern
- Mexican Dog sculpture — Etsy
- Bookshelves — IKEA
- Mirror — Katie Gillies
- Bed Frame — Curated Spaces
- Bed Sheets — Adairs
- Pillow cases — Kip & Co
- Side table — IKEA
- Lights — Etsy
- Burl timber plinth — Condo Objects
- Antique Chair — Curated Spaces
Thanks Fenella and family!
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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