Australian Homes

Adam Lester, Caro Toledo and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 22nd August 2012

The Brisbane home of Adam Lester, Caro Toledo and family.  Artwork (left) in dining room by Caro Toledo.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View from loungeroom to dining room.  Rock artwork by Justine Wake, globe lamp by Maren Kohlwage.  Arkie the dog lounges in the doorway!  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room details.  Artwork clockwise from the top left –  Photograph by Bella Seib, Print by Maria Meagher, Photograph by Maren Kohlwage, collage by Caro Toledo, print by A. Cieslarc, diorama and collage by Caro Toledo, artwork on top of the door by Justine Wake. Queen of Benin bronze head bought in Cameroon. Paper polygons Caro Toledo, Douglas Snelling chair (FOUND ON THE STREET in Sydney!! – not recently I hope!).  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Due to popular demand today we FINALLY have  brisbane home to share…!  I made a little trip to Queensland a month or two ago and was lucky to shoot three beautiful homes with immensely talented Brisbane-based photographer Jared Fowler, and today is the first we have to share!

This amazing character-filled timber home in Brisbane’s West End is home to artists Adam Lester (originally from Melbourne) and Caro Toledo (originally from France) and their children, 8 year old twins Chilli and Arlo – plus Arkie the dog and PP the cat!  It’s a typical rambling and charmingly wonky Queenslander, sitting right on the banks of the Brisbane river amongst overgrown greenery.  The main living areas of the home are raised off the ground in typical Queensland style, and the large ground level ‘basement’ serves as Adam’s art studio.  Amazingly, despite proximity to the river, Adam and Caro’s home miraculously escaped damage during the 2010 / 2011 Brisbane floods.  Incredibly lucky.  The river is literally metres from the backdoor!

Though their home is rented, the colour palette here couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for Adam and Caro’s eclectic collection of artwork, furnishings and trinkets.  The family have been here just over two years, and in that time have certainly put their creative stamp on the place – artwork by both Caro and Adam fills the space, as do many pieces by clever creative friends.

There’s something uniquely special and kind of weirdly ‘familiar’ about this home, and after reviewing these shots just now, I think I’ve just realised why that is.  It feels just like a film set.  I think this has to do with the larger than life colour palette (peppermint green never looked so good!), aged to hazy perfection on all those amazing timber panelled walls.  There’s just something so rich and layered about this home – it perfectly reflects the creative family who live here, yet also has a unique history and character all its own.

Adam has recently exhibited at the Melbourne Art Fair with his Adelaide gallery (Hill Smith Gallery) and is working towards solo shows in Sydney and Adelaide next year.  Stay tuned for a series of screen prints and a new Adam Lester website, coming soon!   He is represented by Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane, who very kindly put us in touch for this feature.  Thankyou Jan!

Massive thanks to Adam and Caro for sharing their home with us today!


Loungeroom details.  Dotty Dots (gold) by Chilli Toledo Lester, embroidered leather diver by Maren Kohlwage and motorbike painting in bedroom by Adam Lester.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Artwork in Arlo’s bedroom – ‘The Pacesetting Superbikes’, 122cm x 122cm, mixed media on canvas, by Adam Lester.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The faded tropical sunset poster in the kitchen is one of Caro’s favourite treasures – ‘because it makes me happy to look at it every time’ she says.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sweet details, including collages by Caro Toledo.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Artwork on green wall by Jonathon Oxlade, vintage Négresse Verte print (right hand wall). Trophy sculpture by Chilli Toledo Lester and wire ‘Love vessel’ by Maren Kohlwage.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Artwork by Adam Lester. Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Adam’s studio under the house.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Adam’s  studio pinboard.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Adam’s studio.  Red painting titled ‘en su tinta’,  122 x 150 cm, mixed media on truck tarp by Adam Lester. Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Adam in his studio – painting behind is a work in progress.  Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Work in progess in Adam’s studio… I love this one!   Photography – Jared Fowler, Styling / Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 22nd August 2012


  • Gaz 4 years ago

    So interesting to see an artist’s workspace. I have liked Adam’s work for a while and Caro’s work is beautiful.. Regretting painting over our peppermint VJ’s now!! Thanks for giving us a Brisbane home, Lucy!

  • Jessamy 4 years ago

    This place is too cool!

  • Laura 4 years ago

    I love seeing creative homes like this! Not styled within an inch of it’s life, yet everything is perfectly and naturally displayed. Good one!

  • Cathg1g2 4 years ago

    Love seeing this authentic looking family home and the artist’s workspace.

  • Estelle P 4 years ago

    So good to have a return to the slightly imperfect, but oh so interesting and lovely home of a creative couple. It might be a bit more Selby than Vogue Living but for me, these homes decorated around limited resources or rental restrictions (I too live with mint green walls) are infinitely more interesting than their more contrived counter parts. More homes like this one PLEASE!

  • Tara Stara 4 years ago

    Thankyou very much for taking us into the home of a wonderful creative duo! I am immediately put at ease by such an inspirational home. Adam and Caro, thank you for letting us into your real and creative, comfy space – i love it. More like this please Lucy!

  • Kath W 4 years ago

    I’m with Estelle P. There’s much to love about the wealthy styled homes, but it’s very inspiring to see what people can do on the ground with limited resources and their own-made creations. And I know from having lived in many of these Qlder homes that it’s a big challenge to work around relentless lines on walls and coloured glass windows. Love Adam’s work-in-progress.

  • jas 4 years ago

    love the timber panelling and you’re right aged peppermint green never looked so good. Such a nice home, so cosy and funky!

  • beci 4 years ago

    i love this house! thanks lucy!

  • caitlan 4 years ago

    Love the quirky details and relaxed style!

  • Bron 4 years ago

    Love his artwork. Very cool!

  • Margaret Marks 4 years ago

    Pastel colours are perfect for the Queensland climate…so so cool! Very creative Artwork throughout and such a welcoming family feel. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wiggy Saunders 4 years ago

    Great to see such love and attention lavished on a rental. Shows too the power and transformational ability of creativity in transforming any house into a true home. However Adam and Caro be warned. Similarly inclined as this pair, on three separate occasions I found owners deciding to not renew the lease and determining instead to put the properties on the market having declared the place “never looked so good”. Still, a great opportunity for the dedicated homemaker to work on a whole new project!

  • julie @ tractorgirl 4 years ago

    man, I LOVE those green walls! and the handrail on that staircase…. and all the artworks! Such a comfy, inviting space :)

  • evie 4 years ago

    i love this home! so charming and oh those peppermint walls – a colour addiction of mine. what a wonderfully inviting, creative home. i’m loving that this isn’t overly styled and polished too – echoing some of the above comments. looking forward to seeing the next home from qld!

  • Sim 4 years ago


  • Claire 4 years ago

    Love seeing this home. Whilst Loom rugs and Hans Wegner furniture are all very nice, homes like this are so interesting!

  • Brooke 4 years ago

    Is the boat for sale painting for sale???

  • Gifts Australia 4 years ago

    Absolutely amazing! Each piece has a story and is attention grabbing without comprimising on being a practical house. Sensational!

  • Mel@GatherKids 4 years ago

    Stained glass windows…reminds me of my childhood home and makes me smile:) Thanks for sharing guys x

  • Phoebe 4 years ago

    I never thought I’d say this, but you’re making me homesick for Brisbane Lucy! I can almost feel the breeze flowing through the house on a languid afternoon in that second photo.

  • gemma 4 years ago

    i adore this home!

  • Donna 4 years ago

    This is a dreamy looking home. The colour collection and trimmings are too sweet!

  • Nath Toledo 4 years ago

    Superbe…. impression de calme, de douceur, de sérénité en “visitant” virtuellement votre maison. J’aime beaucoup les styles mélangés, certains objets qui me sont familiers (tête de femme noire, un scaphandrier pieds-lourds, la malle de voyages !!!!!!! ….), j’y retrouve, Caro, tes couleurs (verts d’eau, acqua ?), tes oeuvres, les toiles d’Ads, les photos des enfants, le skate d’Arlo ? le mélange des époques…. On a envie de rentrer, de visiter, de s’assoir, de boire un verre, de vous voir évoluer à l’intérieur. Je vous imagine sans peine d’ailleurs. L’atelier d’Adam j’adore !!!! tabouret haut, bureau “comme il faut”, La chienne allongée dormant prouve que cette maison respire le calme et qu’elle s’y sent bien. Cet intérieur vous représente, mais représente bien l’image des foyers australiens que l’on en a en France. J’adore ! Je m’inscris pour la visite réelle !!!!!

  • lizzie 4 years ago

    ahh.. finally an inspiring house tour that I can relate to!! And it’s magic is… no not being like a film set. more being like A REAL HOUSE for REAL LIVING PEOPLE. what film sets try and evoke. places filled with memories, make-do cosy and meaningful and spaces that can hold you throughout moods and seasons. Thank you for sharing a refreshing take on website-worthy living x

  • Margie 4 years ago

    this is a good one Lucy! It makes me nostalgic for my old Brissie homes… And that concrete crazy paving downstairs! Perfect.

  • mr jason grant 4 years ago

    CONGRATS lucy this is the BEST house you have featured i LOVE everything about this place and its been shot beautifuly!!!

  • Corrie Macdonald 4 years ago

    I know Caro and Adam and have visited their home and it is indeed a lovely place to be. It’s partly a testament to the beautiful things they have created and collected, and partly a testament to their ability to arrange them in gorgeous ways. As well as being an artist, Caro is an interior stylist, and I think you can see her touch in the way things are grouped and displayed. Like so many others, I’m really delighted to see such an authentic home being featured.

  • Simone Patterson 4 years ago

    Would LOVE to see more homes like this on TDF, just so honest, real and creative. :)

  • mariana 4 years ago

    i think you’ve described it perfectly lucy..
    a film set! this just proves you don’t have to own a home to make it ‘your own’.
    beautifully creative, warm and inviting.
    love everything about it.

  • Lakshmi 4 years ago

    A house that feels like a home – one that’s live in, whee memories are made and shared on the walls, one that is not staged or styled and yet perfect as it should be. Can’t take my eyes off Arkie – a stunner :)

  • Annie H 4 years ago

    This takes me back to eating scones in my great aunt’s house in Brisbane, looking out at her mango tree. I love it. It takes artistic flair to make mint green so loveable. It could be nowhere else other than Queensland. Just got a set of chairs that are almost exactly the same from a secondhand shop in a NSW south coast town – although they smell of old RSL

  • Hayley 4 years ago

    Love it!!!

  • Dion 4 years ago

    Ah yes, the “rambling and charmingly wonky Queenslander” what would Brisbane be without them?

  • David Kidston 4 years ago

    Awesome balustrade detail to the stair.

  • Jana Flohr 4 years ago

    LOVE this.

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