Australian Homes

Paul Bonnici and family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 4th August 2010

The South Yarra home of Paul Bonnici and family.  Above image – the dining room, looking into living room. Artwork – Whip to Forest by John Wolseley.

Dining room details – an impressive collection of beautiful candles, cherry blossom on the dining table.

Dining room – patchwork rug by Loom Rugs of course!

Living Room – beautiful open fire…!

Living room details… love that beautiful stone coffee table.
Ooooh it’s a little more David Bromley! Butterflies. SO beautiful in the main hallway.  And another Loom Rug.

Oooh la la… in case you didn’t notice, today’s Melbourne Home is a little bit posh :) This is the South Yarra home of Paul and Wendy Bonnici, and their kids Ben (8) and Toby (2).   Isn’t it GORGEOUS!?

Paul emailed me a little while ago with a short but sweet little note which went a bit like this –

Hi Lucy, LOVE THE Design Files… I would like to offer my home for you to look at…
Would love to chat sometime,
Cheers Paul.

Of course I am always excited when a boy is reading (a very valued 9% of my readership, ahem), and I must say I did also appreciate the CAPS and general enthusiasm of Paul’s email!  Paul is a well established and highly respected local creative brain – he’s the ex-marketing and creative director of Myer, and in 2009 went out on his own, launching retail creative strategy consultancy Create & Communicate 2c.

SO of course a few weeks after our initial emails I found myself dashing about Paul’s beautiful home, photographing every angle (and there was a lot to cover!).  When I met Paul I was kind of expecting a ‘suit’ who would have to dash off to work within minutes of our meeting, but instead he was so casual, super friendly, and said he hasn’t worn a suit for about 2 years since leaving Myer!  He was more than happy to let me run around his pristine home with my camera whilst he worked away in his office… ahhh it was quite blissful.  Because whilst I really and truly love meeting new people every time I photograph a gorgeous Melbourne Home, I do sometimes struggle to hold a conversation and take half decent pictures at the same time!  – Thanks for being low-maintenance Paul!

Paul, Wendy and their kids have lived here for 2 years now, after moving from a smaller home in the same area.  They’ve made a number of cosmetic changes to the interior – painted the walls white, re-done the beautiful pale timber floors, and added beautiful soft lighting throughout.  Paul says ‘it was all about de cluttering the house – its got great architectural features and a lot was not seen due to the heavy decoration.  It was about removing layers that had been added over the years.’  The result is a beautiful, generous family home, simple and unfussy in it’s style.  The overall look is classic but restrained – and full of lovely details such as the Loom Rugs and that stunning Butterflies painting by David Bromley in the hallway! Swoon!

One of Paul’s favourite features of the home is the garden.  When they moved in the garden was ‘very cottage style not quite us’ says Paul – he now describes it as ‘unstructured structure!!’.  I love the raised garden beds with lots of vegies growing, and the beautiful outdoor seating area with that chunky rustic timber tables and those fab Tolix chairs!

HUGE thanks to Paul and his family for sharing their very special home!

Paul’s study.  Tiny artwork near the lightswitch – School Boy by David Bromley , Good Boy by Chelsea Gustafssorn.

Light-filled master bedroom

Artwork in the master bedroom – Botanical Gardens Melbourne Dusk and Dawn by Jenny Ryan.

Kid’s playroom upstairs!


Playroom / kids bedroom details (love those paper creations!)

Toby’s bedroom – screenprinted artworks above the bed by Sydney-based Me & Amber.

Ben’s bedroom faces the street and has ‘the best view in the house!’ says Paul!  Artwork by David Bromley.

Ben’s bedroom details

Upstairs landing – artwork is Buy, Sell, Trade 3 by Sara Hughes

The kitchen/dining area is a huge bright atrium… 6-panel artwork is Cow Study by Neil Williams

Kitchen / Dining details – artwork on the left is Bird by David Band

Gorgeous garden – paved outdoor seating area, lots of shade, raised garden beds for vegies, and a little greenhouse down the back!

Exterior of the back of the house.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 4th August 2010


  • Camila 6 years ago

    All that art is amazing! so very jealous.

  • Fourth Crusade 6 years ago

    Awww what a brilliant article… garden looks like the perfect place for a Christmas party Paul ;)

  • Lauren 6 years ago

    There must be a mistake here. These people are living in MY house!

    I wish…. *sigh*

  • Clare 6 years ago

    Oh man, how beautiful! Thanks for sharing Paul! I especially love how much artwork there is around, and that the playroom is cosy and kid-friendly without being too twee for adults.

    Just a note though, the artwork labelled as being by John Worsley? I’m pretty sure it’s by John Wolsley. An unusual surname, but a marvelous artist. I adore his stuff no end.

  • Virginie 6 years ago

    Stunning! This is the most inspiring home I have seen in a long time. I would love to see more – please!!!

  • Oh wow, j’adore! Such a gorgeous home!

  • Estelle 6 years ago

    OUCH! That is one sharp interior.

  • Wendy 6 years ago

    Ohhhhh, i would love to know how to (suddenly) acquire an art collection like that. Can you tell me – is it piece by beautiful piece over the years? Do Paul and Wendy have a gallery (or galleries) that they love?

  • shannon 6 years ago

    Really beautiful. What a lovely art collection. I love it when the collection reflects the personality of the collector.

  • Ray 6 years ago

    What a great post and such a georgous home. Art is so important in a house. It defines it.
    Your photos are always beautiful – what camera and lens(es) do you use?

  • alex sunday 6 years ago

    whoa, beautiful home. and such an art collection! something to aspire to….

  • Diane Bergeron 6 years ago

    Absolutely love this house, the artwork is amazing!

  • Soph 6 years ago

    LOVE THIS HOME. Museltov to Paul and Wendy for being so clever.

  • Barb Fisher 6 years ago

    Oh wow, this house is truly gorgeous. So peaceful. Don’t you just want to be there? Love it.

  • Lucy 6 years ago

    Barb thanks so much for this and all your other recent comments! YES it really was super peaceful! (Perhaps less so when the kids are home..!). They really have created something special here :)

  • Lucy 6 years ago

    Hey Ray oh GAWD thankyou! I am really not particularly genius with the camera, there is often quite a bit of photoshopping and cropping afterwards!

    But for what it’s worth I use a Canon 500D (ie not professional, just a regular digital SLR), sometimes I use the lens it came with (not very good), sometimes I use a Canon 10-22mm wide angle lens I bought not long ago which is really useful for grand places like this (and tiny places too!). I reeeallly want a good 50mm now.

  • Lucy 6 years ago

    Hey Clare… thanks so much for your comment and YES I think you are correct about John Wolseley… I think it should be this guy?-
    thanks for the tip-off eagle eye! I shall amend it now… :) thankyou!!

  • craig 6 years ago

    So fresh, with a good eye for detail … let me know if you’re looking for more artwork Paul : )
    Glad to be one of the 9% Lucy

  • Russ 6 years ago

    Great place, and photos! I’m also in the 9%. Didn’t know we were so scarce!

  • Lucy 6 years ago

    YAY for the 9% !! Thankyou gentlemen :) much appreciated!

    (those stats are 6 months old now.. maybe there are a few more of you now!..)

  • Peter 6 years ago

    You are being very modest about your photography. Great review and really lovely images. Especially love the art work. Showed my wife and now she wants a rug from Loom.

  • Mummageorge 6 years ago

    OOoooh too much Bromley. Enough now!

  • ryanjames 6 years ago


    i used to work with Paul at Myer – very stylish guy. small world!
    didn’t know he was so adept with his interiors though. this place is gorgeous!

  • shelley t 6 years ago

    to use an over-used term, but can’t think of another, ‘the bones’ of the house are standout to me. the bonnicci’s have done an incredible job of letting the angles, panelling, windows and features of the actual house itself sing. i absolutely adore this home. simple and beautiful. good work, lovely lucy. x

  • paul 6 years ago

    Hi Wendy ,
    Thankyou for you lovely comments.
    We have been collecting our Art for a few years.
    We have a few favorite Galleries, Australian Galleries in Collingwood ,Sutton Gallery in Fitzroy,Scott Livesey Gallery in Armadale and Pomme in Mornington.

  • Lucy 6 years ago

    Jonathon and Mummageorge, thanks so much for your comments but please keep it constructive! :)

    Clearly in this home Bromley’s artwork is a beautiful choice, and as Paul has kindly opened his home for us all to see I would ask you to be respectful of his choice.

    The ‘Butterflies’ painting you see here is one of the nicest and most painterly examples I have seen of Bromley’s work. I think it looks beautiful in this home.

    Like him or loathe him, Bromley is a respected and prolific local painter. He does get a lot of press, I am not sure whether that’s good or bad, all I can say is that The Design Files is a reflection mainly of my own personal tastes, and I like his aesthetic a lot!

    You know I spend hours hours hours on this site every week trying to make it super beautiful for everyone to enjoy! It makes me feel a bit sad to see negative comments pop up unless they are constructive…

    Thanks so much for your understanding! x

  • Virginie 6 years ago

    Like pretty much everybody else I LOVE the artwork but what I can’t stop thinking about is the floor boards!? I’m a little over the darker wood floor that seem to be everywhere. Can you tell me what the wood is and are the boards original? Thanks!!!

  • Linda I 6 years ago

    Wow, this house is perfect and the art work is droolworthy!! Love it so much and am just a little envious, hopefully one day my house can look like this, it is exactly my style. The furniture is simple yet elegant, its uncluttered but doesn’t look clinical – it looks full of life and love.
    Thanks Paul for opening your doors and letting us into home.

  • Mandy 6 years ago

    What a great home, love their art collection !!!

  • Erica 6 years ago

    Can anyone tell me where I can see more paintings by Jenny Ryan. Paul Bonnici has wonderful taste…..beautifully executed home.

  • Kade 6 years ago

    Do you know where those poufs In the lounge room are from? Thank you!

  • fishing 4 freedom 3 years ago

    I tend not to leave a response, but I read a few of the
    remarks here Melbourne Home – Paul Bonnici and family | The Design
    Files. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s
    allright. Is it only me or does it seem like a few
    of these responses look like they are left by brain
    dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting at
    additional online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post.

    Would you make a list of every one of all your social community sites like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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