This Artist’s Australian Home Is Filled With Pattern, Plants, and the Cutest Colorful Pots She Paints Herself
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Name: Julia, husband Nick, 8-year-old son Freddy, 5-year-old daughter Poppy, and our Golden Retriever, Ziggy
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Years lived in: 4 years
After a busy career in television, Julia took time off of work when her first baby, Freddy, was born back in 2012. It was during this hiatus that she started an Etsy store, and a creative career switch was made. Now painting under the brand name Summer Svenson, Julia’s colorful creations range canvas, to baubles, to plant pots featuring energetic abstract patterns and an array of adorable motifs, like tigers, fish, cats, dogs, faces, and much, much more.
Split over two levels on a steep block, the house located in the north western outskirts of Melbourne she shares with her family—husband Nick and kids Freddy and Poppy (and pup Ziggy)—is a beautiful canvas of her vibrant creations as well as the works from other artists she admires.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: It’s a colorful mish mash, print on print, pots and plants, fun and friendly. I’m not so good with perfect styling, but if I love it I buy it, and hope for the best! If things clash, I like that too!
I’ve heard myself joke “this is why we can’t have nice things” many times, so I try not to buy anything I can’t wash, or will worry too much about. It’s important for us, especially with (very messy) children, to not live in a home that feels precious.
Inspiration: Fashion has always been my favorite for color and print ideas; the brighter, the better. Also flowers, vintage posters, children’s books, scrolling Instagram, folk art, and all things Mexico.
Favorite Element: We have a “good room,” known in our house as “The Talking Room.” We moved into this house just before Christmas one year, and we had such an exciting time talking about Santa in the lead up. Our fond memories of “talking in the room,” meant it quickly became known as “The Talking Room.” (Ironically, because of the solitary nature of what I do, I now spend most of my time in here not talking!) This is where I paint at our dining table, beside a bay window that’s bathed in light, basically every painter’s dream. The light in here turns golden around 5 p.m., and it’s perfection.
Biggest Challenge: Having absolutely no idea how to clean exposed beams, which are higher than your tallest ladder/longest broom.
What Friends Say: “Where do I go?” On entry, we have a very strange house layout. Often followed by “nice view” (when arriving at the second entry upstairs.)
Biggest Embarrassment: Everything about the original windows! They’re not exactly crystal clear; the glass is starting to fog and the reflective film has slowly been lifting. The frames are also brown aluminum. Plus spiders live in the roller shutters and love spinning webs across the outside glass. They are on a future list to update for sure.
Proudest DIY: Laying fake turf outside… It was unexpectedly easy.
Biggest Indulgence: For my 40th birthday, I had a commission done by my favorite Australian painter, Megan Grant. It is our newest addition, and I love it! It’s even more special to me as it’s one of the few things in the house I haven’t painted myself.
Best Advice: If you love it, use it. Don’t keep those special pieces just for occasions; the most joy (and best bang for buck) is when you can enjoy your favorite things around you, on a daily basis.
Dream Sources: I love Kip and Co, Sage and Clare, Lovestar, Togetherness, Rachel Castle, Gorman Home, Bonnie and Neil. Next on my wish list is a tiled display plinth from Occasional Pieces.
PAINT & COLORS
- Dulux — Antique White USA (throughout)
- Painted pots/ wall plates throughout — Summer Svenson
- Vintage school table — The Lost Ark Collectibles, Williamstown North (treasure trove of cool stuff!)
- Cane Planter — Kmart
- Mirka Mora Art Teatowel — Heide
- Various wall tiles — Ahoy Trader
- Framed kaftan — Camilla
- Two collage pieces are ones I’ve put together myself, without an intended home, and have wound up at the front door.
- Large painting — Megan Grant
- Wall hangings — Sage and Clare
- Felted llama ornament is — Cat Rabbit
- Cushions are a selection of Gorman, Bonnie and Neil, Kip and Co, and Sage and Clare
- Gingham Throw rug — Gorman
- Shag rug — West Elm
- Charcoal Couches — Freedom Furniture
- Cane Cabinets — Both filled with my paints! both from Xander and Grace
- Frida Vase in yellow dress — Lovestar
- Hot pink floral arrangement — Petal Pop
- Tea towels — All Gorman
- Toaster and Kettle — Smeg from David Jones
- Salt and Pepper Grinders by Norm Architects — Huset
- ’70s style ceramic Cannisters — House of Orange
- Square painting above tiles — Megan Grant
- Fern canvas planter — Gorman (with cake topper stakes; disco ball and letterboard by kiki sprinkles )
- Rug — Etsy
- Mustard Cabinet — Mustard Made
- Framed floral Canvas Print — Castle and Things
- Large wooden Native bird plate — Dana Kinter for Adairs
- Mexican folk art — Pieces collected on honeymoon in Oaxaca, Mexico.
sharing until one feels like moving to the other side of the house
- Poppy’s Pink Bedhead — Mocka Australia
- Freddy’s Black metal Bedhead — Fantastic Furniture
- Bedding (both beds) — Kip and Co
- Cactus Cushion — IKEA
- Funny Face and flower cushion — Kip and Co
- Raibow cake topper (in pot) — kiki sprinkles
- Quilt and extra cushions (on Freddy’s bed) — Gorman
- Coloured in print is one — Sprout and Sparrow
- Artwork — A selection of vintage pieces, pieces of wallpaper from my childhood bedroom, and framed drawings by my kids
Thanks Julia and family!