Australian Homes

Bonnie and Neil of Bonnie and Neil!

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 14th December 2011

The colourful Brunswick cottage of Bonnie Ashley and Neil Downie of Bonnie and Neil.  LOVE Bonnie’s amazing vintage tapestry wall!  All photos by Armelle Habib, styling by Lucy Feagins and Bonnie Ashley.

Dining details – close up of the amazing Tapestry wall!  Also one of Armelle’s signature overhead shots(!) – handcrafted coffee table by Neil Downie, plywood placemat by Bonnie and Neil, handpainted ceramics by Bonnie!  All photos by Armelle Habib.

Dining room.  All photos by Armelle Habib.

Today I am super excited to share a gorgeous local home I have been chasing for some time – the colourful cottage of Brunswick-based design duo Bonnie & Neil!

Bonnie Ashley and partner Neil Downie have lived here for around 7 years – that makes these guys true Brunswick veterans!  Given their design credentials – Bonnie as a textile designer and screenprinter, and Neil with his handy carpentry skills, it’s not surprising this creative couple have made a few cosmetic changes to their place.  When they first moved in Bonnie says ‘every surface in the whole entire house was covered in pale blue paint – skirtings included… oh and the bathroom AND kitchen were bright yellow/electric blue. So gross!’.  Needless to say, they re-painted!  The house also needed re-stumping,  and a new kitchen was installed.

Bonnie says the attraction of this house initially was it’s amazing light and beautiful established trees, including large jacaranda, fig and olive.  ‘Plus we love Brunswick!’ Bonnie adds!  I shall try to maintain some kind of impartiality here but you know being a fellow Brunswickian I can only share Bonnie’s enthusiasm for this much loved and ever eclectic Northside suburb!

Favourite household possessions for Bonnie include her impressive tapestry collection, brilliantly displayed on one entire wall of the dining room. Artwork by Sally Smart, a close friend, is another fave – I was seriously impressed by this one!  Paintings from Bonnie’s Grandmothers house, and furniture Neil has made over the years also score a mention :)

Massive thanks to Bonnie and Neil for sharing their home with us, and for generously feeding us Phillippa’s pecan brownie during our shoot! Thanks also and to Armelle Habib for coming down at the drop of a hat, photographing the home for us and turning the shots around in record time!  Thanks Armelle!  So speedy!

Loungroom details.  LOVE that cushion!  (We still have a few available online at TDFOH until end of this week !)

Loungeroom details

Sally Smart original artwork in the loungeroom – tres posh!

Mantle details

Loungeroom details – gorgeous rug!

Bedroom, showcasing Bonnie & Neil’s stunning shadow boxes on the wall

Bonnie & Neil’s shadow boxes

Bedroom and one of my favourite spring flowers – gorgeous DOGWOOD (in season now!)

Guest bedroom details. Cockatoo lamp from Bonnie & Neil

Gotta love a man who lets his wife paint the front door pink!

Back patio details

Back patio looking through backdoor – cute cushions again by Bonnie and Neil!

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 14th December 2011


  • Donna 5 years ago

    Love the interior shadow boxes and the back patio shots.
    I heart saucer chairs!!!
    What a gorgeous home.

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    The homes are always my favourite.

  • librarygirl 5 years ago

    Like Sarah, the homes are my favourite, esp. the melbourne ones!
    The tapestry wall is wonderful.

  • Imogen 5 years ago

    Love that bedroom with the shadow boxes and plants! The whole house is beautiful!

  • Kat 5 years ago

    Love the lights on the back patio. Anyone know who makes them?

  • Adam 5 years ago

    I have never been happier since moving to Brunswick. I love these shots – the shadowbox details are really nifty.

  • kirra 5 years ago

    Love it all!

  • Gaz 5 years ago

    Love all the plants and the tapestry wall. Sally Smart is one of my favourite artists

  • jas 5 years ago

    I’m in love with the hanging plants in the bedroom in the shadow boxes – stunning!

    Congrats on holding such a fabulous event with the Open House – and for having gluten free brownies! nom nom nom!

  • Simone Patterson 5 years ago

    Oh my god, you’re killing me……..

  • Elyce 5 years ago

    Love Brunswick, nice to see the north side represented on the Design Files .. think it is time to show a home of the inner west, the areas of Melbourne people don’t appreciate as much heheh. Love the decoration (super Jealous at the moment!)

  • Lucy 5 years ago

    Aww so much love for this cute cottage. Well deserved I say. Thanks for all your lovely comments guys! x

  • Clare 5 years ago

    Loving the Australiana. I want one of those galah lamps so bad.

  • Ben 5 years ago


  • Sophia Lambadaridis 5 years ago

    I love the way you’ve juxtaposed the art, tapestries and shadow boxes in a really nice arrangement. A very clean stimulating environment with nostalgic comforts. There’s a lot of life in this home. Thanks for sharing guys and girls!

  • Kylie 5 years ago

    Another lovely house to add to my favourites. I always look forward to Wednesdays Lucy x

  • Carly 5 years ago

    Wow, one of my favourites! I am a sucker for Australiana, floral, prints, wood and light, and I LOVE that cockatoo lamp!

  • daisy 5 years ago

    totally gorgeous…really love it. love the flora and fauna touches…so fresh and Australian.
    B&N make beautiful things I am not surprised their home is also just as stylish and pretty.
    and the pink door….gee whizz i really love this house! i think this rates as one of the best i have seen on TDF.

  • Miss Polly 5 years ago

    Love the front door. I tried to get a painter to paint our front door pink but he wouldnt do it without a letter of approval from my partner.
    I recently purchased three of the fab B&N cushions for the farm with cockatoos and hydrangeas and they make it. I LOVE THEM>
    Well done!

  • BusiChic 5 years ago

    Another one in love with the artwork, shadow boxes and hanging plants – wonderful!

  • Shell McClure 5 years ago

    Lovely, inside and out!

  • SonyaMath 5 years ago

    You can see that a lot of love goes into that home. Those tapestries would require not only creativity but heaps of patience.

  • aunty linda 5 years ago

    well well well you are such a talented pair ny design gene must be missing so proud of you both xxx

  • Belinda 5 years ago

    I love the pale grey walls – anyone know the colour?

  • Caroline , David and Gran 5 years ago

    I know we are very so slightly biased, but you are both so fabulously talented and deserve everything great in life for all your hard work and bringing new and inspirational ideas to each season. You have created a beautiful home . xxxx Mum

  • Jenny 5 years ago

    love it – so comfy and stylish.

    would it be nutty to ask what colour the walls in the bedrooms are painted? it’s a nice, not GREIGE colour.

    and I love the front door – fortunately, I don’t have to ask permission, but my Mum said it might “send the wrong message”. Not sure quite what she means!

  • Margie 5 years ago

    ahhh I love those family comments – how beautiful are they?
    Someone has a very green thumb too – such a lovely use of the boxes with the plantings.
    And that linen bedspread – who made that??

  • Yellow Cockatoo 5 years ago

    Stunning, amazing, wow. Such talented people. The one and only Bonnie and Neil made that bedspread Margie!! – Check out their website …. stunning.

  • Bonnie Ashley 5 years ago

    Thankyou all for your lovely comments! (the family too!!)
    @Jenny, we mixed the bedroom paint colour ourselves, and tinted it a warm greyish colour.
    @margie, yes, we make the linen bedspreads, which are available through some of our stockists.
    Thanks again
    Bonnie xx

  • Rebecca Wolkenstein 5 years ago

    Can we find out from Bonnie what the plants are indoors? I know the heart one but the other alongside it?
    Need some indoor plant inspiration and I think I found it!

  • Thank you for some other excellent post. The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

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