Australian Homes

Merricks Home – Crystal Leahy and family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 1st December 2010

The Merricks home of Crystal Leahy and family

The dining room – vintage lanterns from Ebay, Nyoman Gunarsa painting from Indonesia.

Antique money tablet – Crystal says these are very hard to find, they were dug up from secret caves when bandits buried treasure chests filled with Chinese coins underground. When they were discovered decades later, the oxidation from the copper made the coins fuse into a solid block. “It weighs a ton!” she says!

Hubby in the kitchen!

Loungeroom… love the lines in that couch!

Details from Crystals beautiful home – antique Thai alabaster disciples (top right), and vintage cameras from Crystal’s collection (she is currently studying fine art photography at the VCA)

Melbourne mum Crystal Leahy started reading The Design Files whilst based in Singapore, and upon moving to Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula earlier this year, was kind enough to photograph her new surroundings for us!

For Crystal and her husband Mark, moving to Merricks was carefully considered (and somewhat drastic!) lifestyle change – each had busy corporate careers in Singapore, (Mark had lived their for the past 20 years!), but last year both quit their jobs to move to Australia, in order to spend more time with their children – boys Sean (11), Finn (3) and daughter Dylan (2). The Leahy’s do still miss the buzz of city living, but Crystal says they were compelled to give their kids ‘the gift of growing up in the countryside, experiencing the four seasons and nature’s abundance’.  Since the move Crystal has stepped away from the corporate world for a while and has returned to University (VCA) to study fine art photography.

The Leahy’s home is a beautiful mud-brick house, built in the 1980s by a bohemian couple who cast the mudbricks and used timber from the trees on the property to construct the lovely rustic beams in the house, all of which are exposed. In the 2001, the property was renovated by Allen Powell – a ‘parents wing’ was added to the house, and all the huge wooden framed windows were installed (previously the original windows and doors were all salvaged and mismatched.)

To complement the rustic, earthy feel of this home, Crystal stocked up on key antique furniture pieces before leaving Singapore, also scouring Ebay and sites like 1st Dibs.  Crystal is Singaporean Chinese and loves asian antiques, as they remind her of her heritage and previous life in Singapore. However, she says shes definitely ‘not a purist’ and has enjoyed adding contemporary and reproduction pieces into the mix for a home which truly reflects the varied influences and personalities of her family.

One of the major drawcards of this beautiful family home also would have to be the amazing garden!  So lush and green and generous!  Crystal even has a little vineyard of about 200 pinot noir vines on the property, as well as a spring-fed dam and veggie patch.  The Leahys love the vineyards and amazing beaches of the Mornington Peninsula – “Every day there seems to bring new surprises,  wild ducks on the dam, cockatoos and eagles, bulbs suddenly springing to life” she says!

Huge thanks to Crystal and family for sharing their beautiful home with us!   Crystal also has a lovely little blog full of pics of her beautiful kids and stunning surroundings… aghh their family life looks so gorgeous (check out their recent Halloween party!) – it sure is a great advertisement for making a sea change!

Living room details

Master bedroom – the antique alabaster monk is from Burma, sitting on an antique Chinese jewellery chest made of Zitan wood.

Bedroom details including Crystal’s most favourite pair of (Chanel!) shoes, and trinkets on the dressing table.

Bathroom details

Dylan (top left) and the kid’s bedroom

Gorgeous Dylan on the hammock with Mark

The garden in the rain!

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 1st December 2010


  • Dyllon 5 years ago

    This house is increadible, congratulations Crystal & Mark, you seem to have created a little piece of paradise.

  • Amie Mason 5 years ago

    This house made me drool! Great post Lucy!

  • Lynda 5 years ago

    Homely, gorgeous setting and yes a haven obviously for all!!!

  • jess 5 years ago

    wowsers. this is amazing.

  • Gabriela 5 years ago

    i think this is one of the most beautiful houses featured in the history of the design files :)

  • emily 5 years ago

    those chairs… all of them… would be a quandry which one to sit in they’re all so great!

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