An Artist’s Creative, Art-Filled Australian Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Name: Robyn Rich, husband Jonathan, and daughter Abbey
Location: Frankston, Australia
Size: 145 square meters, (1,560 sqft)
Years lived in: 11 Years

I stumbled upon Robyn via her Facebook page one night when I was probably avoiding doing other things. I’d “liked” one of my artist friend’s newest pieces and old Zuckerberg and pals asked if perhaps I’d like Robyn’s work too? Well, I think I would, thankyouverymuch. And down the rabbit hole I went, into a charming world of fabric vegetables, found object sculptures, and delightful portraits…

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The gracious and amazingly talented Robyn (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)
(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Robyn’s home is warm and inviting, bright and humble. Bathed in sunlight, creations in various stages of completion and pots of colour greet the lucky guest as they step inside.

I linger as long as I can in the front rooms without being rude, visually feasting, before joining Robyn and Jonathan in the kitchen. A fresh cake has been baked and sits cooling on a rack next to crafted herbs and a felted pot of peas. There are tendrils on the ceiling and a very realistic cabbage sculpture on the bench. A smile plays on Robyn’s lips as she serves me my drink with a slice of cake ( do I eat it or admire it? ).

Very cheeky, I can tell it’s a bit of a favourite game to keep people on their toes.
The cake is delicious and very real by the way. Which is good.
Nothing worse than a bit of felt stuck in your teeth.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, arty, vintage.

Inspiration: Being an artist I am a very visual person, and a lot of my inspiration comes from everyday life, the things we surround ourselves with: color, texture, light, artwork, people, friends, magazines like Anthology, Kinfolk. and Country Style, blogs like SF Girl By Bay, The Design Files, The Room Illuminated, Apartment Therapy, and a mishmash of everything on Pinterest.

Favorite Element: My studio which sometimes but very rarely is a dining room. Being able to work and create from this light-filled room is a real pleasure. Quite often I will be working on an oil painting at my easel and Abbey will be printing at the table- it is a welcoming creative place to be.

Biggest Challenge: Never having enough wall space to display all of our favorite things, plus all the usual things that come with an old house, like keeping it warm, uneven floors, cracks- but that all adds to the lived-in feel.

What Friends Say: Usually they enter the house and then there is a pause, a little giggle, and then a “yep!” We are known for totally changing things in between friends visiting and they usually take a few minutes to work out what has happened, if we have taken a wall down, added a wall, changed rooms around, added a piece of furniture, or painted over old paintings with new ideas.

Biggest Embarrassment: Friends asking if the food I have put out for afternoon tea can actually be eaten. I make fabric food sculpture and quite often have a plate or two of that out, so it can get a little bit confusing.

Proudest DIY: I don’t think I could really name one. I love that the three of us create so much in our home. I paint, draw, and sculpt, Abbey is a textile designer, and in his spare time Jonathan builds furniture or renovates bits and pieces in the house.

Biggest Indulgence: We don’t really tend to indulge in things, nearly everything in our house has come from hard rubbish, secondhand and op shops [charitable thrift shops], garage sales or friends. We like it that way, it allows our house to change and grow and when we are finished with a piece, we then pass it on to someone else. When I really think about it, my paints and the linen I paint on are probably my biggest indulgence.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with the things you love, the things that make you happy. Don’t be afraid to be different, don’t stick to any so-called rules when it comes to making a house your home and let it grow with you.


(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


  • Painting: Robyn Rich
  • Hall table: garage sale
  • Bowls: op shops
  • Sculpture (found objects): Robyn Rich
  • (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


    • Bronze sculptures, pencil drawings, oil paintings, and aluminium cabbage – Robyn Rich
    • Woven vessels: Artist Samantha Menzies
    • Chest of Drawers (early Australian): a neighbor
    • Mirror: We sold our baby car seat to be able to afford to buy it when we very young from a second hand shop in Crib Point.
    • Old Fire Extinguishers: hard rubbish
    • Coffee table: Jonathan made it from an old dining table we had which was made from packing crates and scrap timber from Chisholm TAFE
    • Lights: Beacon lighting
    • Smaller leather couch: freedom
    • Larger couch: hard rubbish, Moran brand
    • Blue doors: eBay, originally from an old church, for our new house we are about to build
    • Work bench: saved from neighbor’s house before it was demolished
    • Cushions: hand-printed and -made by textile designer Abbey Rich
    • Print: Artist Kristina Davidson
    (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


  • Oil paintings, drawings, and fabric sculptures: Robyn Rich (The fabric sculptures were made for an exhibition at The Johnston Collection Decorative Fine Arts Museum in East Melbourne.)
  • Dining table: garage sale
  • Dresser top: made by Jonathan Rich out of packing crates
  • Lights: Beacon
  • Pink chair: hard rubbish
  • Map drawers: the side of the road
  • Pantone tin: Mag Nation
  • Dress maker’s dummy: Spotlight
  • China: collected garage sales, op shops, gifts, Tyabb antique shops
  • Standard lamp and shade” the base came from Jonathan Rich’s dad and the shade was one of Abbey’s year 10 textile projects
  • Parallel palette: bought from artist David Kassan, USA
  • White easel: made by Jonathan Rich
  • On the easel: a painting of Abbey wrapped in her handprinted scarf by Robyn Rich, oil on board
  • Timber easel: Robyn Rich
  • Artwork on cabinet next to dresser: by Miso
  • Print of girl sitting: by Julia Trybala
  • Print of girl in animal costume: by Kareena Zerefos
  • Print of girl and guy on bike: by Ghost Patrol
  • Plant Feelings print: by Sarah McNeil
  • Zine: by Gemma Topliss
  • (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


  • Radio: Bush Digital from Good Guys
  • Kitchen cabinets: Laminex
  • Chandelier: from bin at Toorak College grade 6 production of Annie
  • Paintings and drawings: Robyn Rich
  • Fabric cabbage, saucepan of peas, and felted pea vine: Robyn Rich
  • Island bench: built by Jonathan Rich
  • (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


    • Bed – made by Jonathan Rich
    • Taller bedside table: hard rubbish
    • Shorter bedside table: Target
    • European cushion cover: Spotlight
    • Doona cover: Adairs
    • Quilt: Rosewood Designs
    • Lamp bases: turned by Jonathan Rich before we were married 23 years ago
    • Lamp shades: Target
    (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


    • Pantone Thursday photos: Abbey and her friend Loulou dress in their favorite Pantone colors each week at RMIT, where they are studying Textile Design
    • Pantone color postcards: Heide Museum of Modern Art
    • Fish and bird artwork above the bed: by textile designer Abbey Rich
    • Pillowcases: by Abbey Rich
    • Raincoat behind door: by Abbey Rich
    • Textile prints on the wall and table: by Abbey Rich
    • Beanie: by Abbey Rich
    • Pantone tin: Mag Nation
    • Lamp: garage sale
    (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)


    • Oil paintings: Robyn Rich
    • White oval long bowl: Provincial
    • Cabinet above toilet: Ikea
    • Vanity and basin: Bunnings
    (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

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    Thanks, Robyn!