This Small Melbourne Rooftop Apartment Has a Must-See Courtyard

published Dec 19, 2023

This Small Melbourne Rooftop Apartment Has a Must-See Courtyard

published Dec 19, 2023
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After a long career as a visual merchandiser and retail manager, Amy Renou went back to university to become a primary school art teacher. She’s lived in this apartment — a small but mighty space on the top of a building — for two and a half years, and it’s a family affair.

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“My out-of-box-thinking sister had the great idea of building on top of an existing building that was already in the family,” Renou begins. “The suburb would have otherwise been well out of our price range. We worked with architect/ pre-fab builders ARKit to build an apartment for each of us.”

Renou explains that they wanted to build sustainable homes, so they made sure to include solar panels, extra insulation, and double-glazed windows to maximize their energy needs. “We also included rainwater tanks, which are plumbed to the clothes washer, toilet, and used to water the garden. Australia is one of the driest continents on the planet!” she continues.

It wasn’t just sustainability features Renou got to weigh in on; she had a hand in designing the look of the space, and describes her interior style as very personal. Though, she says she did find the exercise of having to choose finishes for her forever home a little stressful.

“My approach is to keep the permanent features neutral and light so my colorful art and accessories create the color,” she explains of how she tackled the design. She’s also added bits of color and personality as she’s lived in the space, like the fun mural she’s painted on the stairs.

And while the home doesn’t have a TON of outdoor space, the little courtyard features plenty of room for both gardening and for Sunny, the rescue dog. The proximity to her sister can’t be beat, either. “We have the ultimate situation where we have our own places that link via a hidden gate in the courtyard,” Renou writes. “It’s perfect for swapping cups of sugar (or wine, which is more likely) and our dogs play together all day.” 



  • Steamer Trunk — Vintage
  • Screen — Fabric, Marimekko
  • Pots — Painted by me
  • Transparent chain — Sourced online 
  • Stair mural — Painted by me


  • Domsten orange stool — IKEA
  • High stool — Intage
  • Fabric pot — Gorman Shop
  • Wicker pots — IKEA


  • Dining table — Terrazzo top is an off cut and base is Marketplace find
  • Urban Chairs — IKEA
  • Skalboda Lounge chairs (not designed as outdoor chairs but I love them) — IKEA


  • Claw foot bath — eBay
  • Table — Flea market 
  • Shaving cabinet — Op shop 


  • Danish leather sofa — Vintage
  • Velvet Armchair — From my grandma
  • Wicker Saucer Chair — Vintage
  • Cork Coffee Table — IKEA
  • Cork Stool side table — IKEA
  • Altar Aaltos Stool 60 — Anibou
  • Low wood stool — IKEA
  • Rug — From my parents
  • Cushions — IKEA 
  • ‘Yes’ cushion — Gorman Shop
  • Cockatoo cushion — Space Craft
  • Footstool — Vintage
  • Christmas decorations — Sourced from various places like Etsy, op shops and even a flea market in Russia. 
  • Disco ball — Kmart
  • Rice paper floor lamp — IKEA
  • Anglepoise lamp — From my grandma 
  • Ice cream pot — Third Drawer Down


  • Table — My grandma
  • Fler fibreglass chairs — Gift from a friend 
  • Studio chair — Vintage
  • Thonet chair — My grandma
  • Odger chair — IKEA
  • Penny Round cushions — Castle and Things
  • Embroidered cushions — Made by my mum in vintage fabric
  • Vintage East German ceramic vase — Gift for my 50th birthday
  • Branch vase — Dinosaur Designs
  • Small vase — Vintage 
  • Amber glass vase — Vintage 
  • Rugs — From my parents



  • Stretched Bottna fabric — Marimekko
  • Componibili bedside table — Kartell
  • Planet lamp — Gift from my parents as a child 
  • Thonet chair — Vintage
  • Ypperlig lamp — IKEA
  • Quilt cover — IKEA
  • Floral Pillow case — IKEA
  • Striped pillow case — Castle and Things
  • Fitted sheet — Target
  • Bench — Replica Furniture
  • Cushion — IKEA
  • Nia Latif Prints of traditional costume paper dolls — @vnialatif 
  • Mirror — IKEA
  • Custom Art — Spin Spin
  • Akira Isogawa Paper doll souvenir (framed) — NGV
  • Dancing Queen Hurdie Gurdie — Abba The Museum
  • Debbie Harry necklace — Vintage 
  • Ladder with Perspex — Made by me


  • Framed print — Deborah Halpern
  • Ladder bedside table — IKEA
  • Bedside table — Vintage
  • Bench seat — Kmart
  • Pretzel Pillow case — Kip and Co
  • Flower pillow case — Castle and Things
  • Quilt cover — From my great aunt’s house
  • Floral Cushion — Marimekko
  • Yellow cushion — Castle and Things
  • Klippan Blanket —Arket
  • Small painting — Vintage
  • Planet Lamp — Vintage
  • Fishing miniature sculpture — @tinkysonntag 


Thanks Amy!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.