Australian Homes

Emma and Damon Rickards

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 9th January 2013

The Seddon home of designer and school teacher Emma Rickards, and her partner Damon, a carpenter.  Custom built steel doors and windows by Fusionworks. Pendant lamp by David Trubridge, from Tongue and Groove.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Nifty storage (and dog house!) under the stairs, featuring Iris the Dachshund!  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Stair / dog house detail. Peace screenprint by Ghostpatrol, Seeking screenprint by Heather Moore, Loves U pen drawing by Tali Antonina, Jizz (from Birding) photograph by Nick Stephenson. Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Love the simple, scandi style of this kitchen.  Cabinetry constructed in formply by Damon.  Pendant lights from Industria (formally of Gertrude Street, Collingwood) Benchtop made from an old Essendon bowling alley, sourced from Urban Salvage.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

My trusty editorial assistant Lisa Marie Corso was mighty chuffed when she scored this home for a TDF feature – because it belongs to her former high school art teacher!  Lisa reckons ‘Miss Rickards’ was the coolest teacher ever…  and if her fabulous little family pad in Seddon is anything to go by – we reckon she’s pretty cool too!

Emma is a designer and teacher/lecturer of art and design, whilst her partner Damon is a carpenter.  Their little house is home to a very busy little family, which includes two year old Hector, one year old Hazel, and Iris the dachshund!  AMAZINGLY, Emma and Damon have managed to squeeze four bedrooms and two bathrooms into this modest Victorian cottage on a corner block in Seddon, in Melbourne’s inner West.  Here’s how they did it!

Emma and Damon purchased their home twelve years ago. At the time it was a run-down, two bedroom single fronted terrace, and had undergone several ‘hotch potch and just-plain-weird renovations’ (to quote Emma!) – where sadly all original features had been removed.

After living in the house for about 6 years whilst saving for renovations, Emma and Damon approached architect Glenn Irwin of Loop 8 to create a new extension that would maximise the tiny block (24 x 4.5 metres) and accommodate a growing family. ‘Glenn’s design of a caravan-like timber and metal box with wraparound windows really complemented our modernist sensibilities, while adding 2 more bedrooms and a second bathroom to the space’ Emma explains.  I must say, it certainly is a genius use of space – this home unfolds to reveal clever cabinetry and space-saving details in every nook, and whilst the internal spaces are small, the layout is so carefully considered and the ‘flow’ of the home so effortless – efficient design as its best!

Damon and work partner Hilary Logan built the rear extension in 2008, which includes custom-built steel windows and a balustrade by Fusionworks, exposed structural steel columns, formply cabinetry and hardwood timber finishes sourced from Urban Salvage. Two years later, Damon renovated the original rooms in the front section of the house, whilst the most recent addition is the under-stairs joinery, including a walk-in storage space.  ‘Stage Four will be the garden!’ says Emma.

While the home and its furnishings are very much inspired by Emma and Damon’s love of Scandinavian and mid-century design, this design-savvy pair were also very keen to create a distinctly Australian aesthetic, using a colour palette of desert orange and gumleaf grey/green, and features such as Bonnie and Neil’s cockatoo screenprint in the bathroom (custom made at Emma’s request!).  Creating a home that was clever in its use of space, and that could be easily lived in with small children, was of course also a top priority.

Massive thanks to Emma and Damon for sharing their beautiful home with us today – it’s so inspiring once again to be reminded how clever design can transform a teeny tiny space into a comfortable, functional family home, even on a modest budget.

I should note too, the home is filled with framed artwork created by Emma, I particularly love the illustrated family portraits and posters in the kids spaces – she is SUCH a talented illustrator!  You can see more of Emma’s design and illustration work on her website.

Downstairs front bedroom – Hector’s room.  Large framed poster – ‘A Delicate Balance’ by Emma Rickards.  Circus letterpress print by Chamo, part of the Wilkintie project. The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Tonia Composto, from the fabulous Fairytales for Hope project. Sleepy Dog pillow by Robin and Mould, Geometric cushion by Thirtyfive Flowers.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs front bedroom – Hector’s room.  Handmade quilt by Emma’s sister Georgia of Itty Bitty Oak.  Illustrated family portraits on left wall by Emma.  Wishbone bike.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs bathroom – cabinetry by Auld Design, featuring inset screenprinted cockatoo panel by Bonnie and Neil.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Love the modernist-inspired wraparound windows.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Screenprinted artwork by Spacecraft Australia.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs bedroom – Hazel’s room.  Ikea rocking chair, covered in an Ikea fabric.  Geometric cushion by Thirtyfive Flowers. Kiwi toy from New Zealand. Shelves and storage boxes made by Damon. Paper mobile made by Emma as a decoration for Hazel’s 1st birthday party.  Fandeck pendant lamp by Yellow Diva.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Emma’s study (second bedroom, ground level).  Artwork from bottom left – Monster Cookie by Wendy June, Gocco print by Catherine Campbell,  Man with a Hat by Dean Bowen, Papercut from a Sydney beachside market.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Exterior showing rear extension and general tiny-ness!   Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 9th January 2013


  • Jane 4 years ago

    This is one of the “best of”.
    Love the idea of making small spaces work. Would love to see more details of this, if possible.
    Lots of inspiration here.

  • Barbara Fisher 4 years ago

    Oh I love, love, love this home! So clever and creative and gorgeous.

  • Jenna Valkenburg 4 years ago

    Lovely house “Miss Hawkins”!
    Top job as always Lucy and Lisa :) xx

  • Melanka 4 years ago

    Please can I buy your house if I ever decide to ditch the UK and move to Melbourne? Its fabulous.

  • adam 4 years ago

    would love to get resources for the bathroom fixtures, cabinetry and the crib.

  • Elizabeth 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this – it’s looks fantastic and must be a pleasure to live in. love the big chair in Hazels room – is it an Ikea? Would you tell me where you sourced it please. thank you

  • Ben 4 years ago

    Amazing house. Well done!
    Amazing illustrations too.
    Adam, I think the cott is a Stokke.

  • Anne 4 years ago

    A lovely space. Could you please supply details of the drawers in Hector’s bedroom?

  • Helen Morley 4 years ago

    This is creative, clever and must be such a pleasure to live in. I especially love the colour palate. Please please re visit when the garden is done, I would love to see what this inspirational pair do with that!

  • Penelope 4 years ago

    What a gorgeous home!! A small suggestion that I would love to see on these home tours is a flat plan to show the flow of the rooms and space, as it is often about the clever architecture as well as the stunning interior design. It doesn’t have to be too detailed – I find the ones in Real Living magazine very helpful for ideas and imagining the space properly!

  • Michelle Kohek 4 years ago

    Beautiful home! such an inspiring space x

  • Amy Prior 4 years ago

    adorable! a lovely real mix and balance of textures and materials.
    The family portrait in Hector’s room is gorgeous and I love that is made by the owner.

  • letitia 4 years ago

    Amazing renovations, such a great and clever use of space! Love little Iris the beautiful daschund, and all the artwork! x

  • Diane 4 years ago

    I absolutely love this house – it’s gorgeous! Well done Emma and Damon!

  • Stephanie Gall 4 years ago

    Amazing space. I love the carpentry work, the stairs look so well crafted.

  • Kimberly 4 years ago

    Gorgeous house in a great neighbourhood! Love the wrap around windows. I’d also ove to know where they got the great pendant light in the first couple of shots.

  • Caroline 4 years ago

    Hi Lucy

    I have just subscribed to your site and love it
    One of the best of these types
    I sometimes look at “The Selby”
    Great to have an Australian version

    Thanks for all the hard work

  • Johno 4 years ago

    Ripper home!

  • Kaye 4 years ago

    Adam, the bathroom joinery is by Auld Design –

    Emma & Damon – a gorgeous home! I love that you have used your own talents and that of local artists and craftsmen.

  • lara 4 years ago

    What a brilliant home, and so much inspiration, such a clever couple. love Emma’s art! Could you please tell me the supplier of the table and green chairs in the kitchen please?

  • Emma Rickards 4 years ago

    Hello! Thanks for the lovely comments.
    Please note that the bathroom cabinetry, while attributed to Damon, is actually the work of our dear friend Jack Auld of Auld Design. The sink fixtures are from good old Bunnings! The sink, hmmm, a place in Hoppers Crossing that’s since closed down. The crib in Hector’s room is a Leander while the drawers are from Ikea. Hazel’s chair is also Ikea. The pendant light in the first couple of shots is by David Trubridge, sourced from Tongue and Groove in Collingwood.

  • Emma Rickards 4 years ago

    Lara, we picked up the mid century teak dining setting at a local junk shop (now closed) for $200!

  • Kylie 4 years ago

    This is why I love Wednesdays! A perfect home to kick-off Australian Homes 2013. Love it (and the old signage down the side).

  • Kath W 4 years ago

    Yes, Wednesdays. What a beautiful start to the year. This is superb: one of the best. Thanks so much for sharing. Still hungry for shots of the garden (if there is one).

  • Rebecca 4 years ago

    Goregous home! Beautifully renovated and love the decorations!!

  • Lucy 4 years ago

    DOH sorry Emma R, have amended those captions now…!

  • Manuela 4 years ago

    Hello, what a beautiful home. Could you please tell me where the quilted bedspread in the master bedroom is from? Thanks

  • Clare 4 years ago

    I agree with Penelope that it would be great to have a little sketch of the floorplan of featured houses, please.

  • Fiona 4 years ago

    I love all of it. I love to see people displaying their amazing talents in their own home. Happy sigh -Wednesdays are back.

  • Cara 4 years ago

    Beautiful home which totally matches the style of Emma’s beautiful family x

  • gemma 4 years ago

    this is so inspiring! and i just love the last shot of the exterior. an amazing home!

  • Sally 4 years ago

    Such a beautiful home, with so many unique details. Just gorgeous.

  • Lauren Mahoney 4 years ago

    Simply beautiful!! And yes well said Lisa Marie, Emma is the coolest teacher ever and wonderfully creative in every way. Hi Emma!

  • Love this, particularly that it shows that gorgeous and liveable design can be achieved on a budget!

    Also sidenote: I LOVED bumping into my highschool art teacher at the TDF Open House! Hiya Moz, if you’re reading the comments :)

  • anna 4 years ago

    Elizabeth, the chair in Hazel’s room is the Ikea Lillberg rocker. Unfortunately they discontinued that line a while ago! They sometimes pop up on Gumtree and eBay though.

  • Linda 4 years ago

    wonderful wonderful home and will be using lots of ideas for our own pending reno .. and does emma sell prints of her illustrations? just lovely

  • Rachel 4 years ago

    Lovely to see a Fairy Tales For Hope print in the children’s bedroom Emma. Thanks for supporting such an important cause. If anyone would like to check out the rest of Tonia Composto’s limited edition prints for this charity project, please go to

  • Sarahb 4 years ago

    What a fabulous home- and in my hood! I would love to know the name of the paint colour in the children’s bedrooms, I have been on the hunt for a good grey!
    Wonderful post- keep up the good work Lucy et al

  • Ellie 4 years ago

    Sensational home! I love the details in the joinery, flooring, interiors/exteriors… Everything about it!

  • Elyce 4 years ago

    I am a fellow inner west-sider and saw this house just the other day! Was pointing it out its awesome extension to the person I was with. Little did I know it was WONDERFUL! inside. Oh, I love it.

  • Barbara 4 years ago

    Wow, the comments section is in itself a wealth of information! And this house ( in my hood also), is all sorts of perfect.Thanks for an inspiring Wednesday, as usual.

  • Simon 4 years ago


    Perfect inspiration for my first place

  • Annette 4 years ago

    Gorgeous house – is that custom built cabinetry in Hazels room? Looking for something like this for our storage. Thanks.

  • Martine 4 years ago

    Magnificent. Just around the corner from me! I suspected this beauty was hidden inside.

  • Katherine 4 years ago

    What a lovely home – beautiful touches throughout. My favourite aspect has to be the dog space cavity under the stairs!

  • Jackie 4 years ago

    I agree with Penelope and others: a small plan would be VERY helpful. Also, I only just discovered your wonderful site and have been reading backwards through this section….am almost at the end of 2010. I noticed that one common feature of the best australian homes is that the photos show enough to get a sense of the layout of the house. Where the photos are more detail and more style / magazine details shots, the houses are less easy to understand and to connect with. The details are fine and sometimes very useful but the big picture is really important for context.

    Thank you!

  • Jem, Ed and Matilda 4 years ago

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! The photos, the house, the family. We love it all!

  • Lucy 4 years ago

    Hi guys, thanks for all your comments and suggestions~! Thanks also for the idea of the floor plan! I have to say I have considered this… but at this stage I feel it might be a little difficult to add. Typically when we shoot a home it takes a number of hours, during which time I am often quite stretched, moving furniture about, working with Sean on shot composition, estimated where the sun will be moving throughout the day (!!), chatting to the homeowner about the house and taking notes. Truth be told, I can’t imagine having the additional time during the shoot to measure each room in order to draw an accurate floorplan. I don’t like posting anything other than super beautiful images on TDF, so it would also mean finding someone more skilled in illustrator or CAD to draw this in an attractive way, as I don’t have those skills myself. Sooo… I will certainly consider it but not sure of the feasibility just at this stage I’m afraid! Thanks so much though for the suggestion, and I’m so glad you’re all loving this fabulous house!

  • Rebecca 4 years ago

    wowsers, what an utter treat! charming attention to detail. even the shower screen is a sleek installation.

  • Anna 4 years ago

    What a fabulous and fascinating space they have created! However I will never understand why the photographer for this story was so taken up with snapping photos of wall hangings, art and objects, that there are very few photos of the ACTUAL SPACES! I have no real sense of how the place fits together, the scale of the rooms or anything about how it actually works. DF, please make sure your photographers actually spend a moment documenting the house they’re in, not just the pretty bits around the edges! (Still looks like an amazing house)

  • Lucy 4 years ago

    Hi Anna, thanks for your feedback. The photographer of this space was Sean Fennessy, as credited – he shoots 90% of all TDF homes tours – with me firmly by his side at every shoot! It is really important to me to be there in person for every home shoot… we compose the shots together. I choose every angle and the composition of each shoot personally – Sean will attest I am very particular!

    This house is very small and inevitably in small homes it is incredibly difficult to see everything in one image without resorting to unnatural lens distortion, which frankly, looks awful! Inevitably we end up backed up against a wall or squished in a doorway to cover off each room as comprehensively as possible. I can assure you there is not a wider shot available in this particular space! The bathroom, for instance, was impossible to get any wider!

    Just as print publications do, we endeavour to shoot homes as beautifully as possible – of course we do focus in on the prettiest details – a photograph will never replace seeing a space in person. But we do our very best! Thanks so much for reading x

  • Emma Rickards 4 years ago

    Manuela, the bedspread is from Ikea, again!!
    Yes Linda, I do sell my illustrations. You can see all of Hazel’s family portraits on my website
    Annette, Hazel’s shelves and boxes were custom-made by Damon.
    And we’ll hunt for that grey paint colour in the shed!
    Thanks so very much for all the lovely comments.

  • Bronwyn 4 years ago

    Oh I have parked across from this house a few times when going to Common Galaxia for brunch – what a treat to now be able to see what they’ve done with the interior space too! Love it!

  • Loretta 4 years ago

    Congratulations on a beautiful home Emma. Your inspiration and talents shine through. I can see why Lisa always enjoyed your classes.
    Loretta x

  • Cathy 4 years ago

    Such a beautiful home. I love seeing photos of peoples objects and art work. It is these things that help make a house a home and it is inspiring to see how they are arranged. Great work in sharing this with us Lucy and Sean !

  • What a gorgeous home! I’m especially in love with that bathroom, any chance of seeing it from a few angles? I think I need to get Damon in on our home renovations! Elegant and warm. Thanks for sharing.

  • Judy 4 years ago

    What a beautiful home. Miss Hawkins you also taught my daughter, Carmen, at Ave and left a lasting impression on her too. Your home tells so much of what I remember of you from interviews. Very calming and welcoming.

  • Emma Rickards 4 years ago

    Hi Jessie: the bathroom is only 1.2 x 3.2 metres, so as Lucy said earlier, it’s very tricky to photograph the space! But it’s actually amazing how spacious it feels since the renovation. The cabinetry includes cupboards above the mirror that reach to the ceiling (for those things that you rarely use, like the iron in my case!), a cupboard, drawers and open shelving underneath, and my favourite feature, built-in magazine storage next to the toilet!! The opposite wall in front of the toilet has towel rails made of hardwood and steel that also extend to the ceiling, and opposite the cabinetry is a large sliding door that conceals our laundry.

    And hello to Judy! I remember teaching a wonderful girl named Carmen, so I assume that she belongs to you! Thanks for your kind words.

  • Christy Hynd 4 years ago

    Hi there, love love love this house! We’re getting ready to renovate a similar style house in Burnley, so seeing what you’ve done here, is such a great inspiration. I too would love to see more shots of house, especially the bathroom!! Is it possible to tell me what brand the tap ware is? I really love it and have searched the internet for it, but can’t find them. Thanks so much. x

  • Marmalade 4 years ago

    Hi there, this is inspirational! So much to love. I often think about renovating my little house in Burnley (from the same hood as Christy above) then I think its too small and I would be better moving. But when you see what they have achieved it gives me a sense of the amazing possibilities and some good references too! (if I do ever decide to do it). Thanks so much for sharing! x x

  • Emma Rickards 4 years ago

    Hi Christy
    The tapware is from the Radii range from Phoenix:
    Good luck with the renovations!

  • Manuela 4 years ago

    Hello again, could you please tell me what the plant in the planter box is outside? I’m looking for a screening plant and it would be perfect. Thanks again.

  • Oh I could happily move in here, what a great home and fantastic storage solutions with no compromise on style. There I was happily admiring and reading and then spotted my cushions too! Thankyou for the link, that will account for all the orders heading south lately!
    L xx

  • forex 4 years ago

    Felix Homogratus, Dimitri Chavkerov Rules! You pay us we post good about us!!

  • James 4 years ago

    Wow, what a warm and inviting home. You’ve been so generous with giving the name of your suppliers and details of your home. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind telling me about the tiles in your bathroom? Where did you get them and what did you use for the floor? Thanks and congratulations!

  • Raymond Chow 4 years ago

    I am Raymond Chow, the publisher of Sameway Magazine , the only Chinese weekly community magazine distributing Australiawise in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide 20,000 copies every week . I am writing to seek your support in the “Home” section of our magazine. Our readers are Chinese migrants from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South East Asia.

    I would like to seek your permission to translate and summarize this post into Chinese and send us high-resolution photos that can be used in publication.

    We shall give acknowledgement to you, the designers and website in the published work. We believe that Sameway will be able to introduce you all to the Chinese community.

    Looking forward to receive your reply!
    Yours faithfully,
    Raymond Chow
    Sameway Magazine

  • Glenn Irwin 4 years ago

    To all who have contributed to the wonderful comments thank you.
    Thanks Emma and Damon for being such great clients and I love what you have done to make the place your special home.
    Of course many have asked about floor plans and other dimensional information. I’d be happy to discuss this with you and any plans you may have for the future.
    We love designing; whether it small, medium, large, new or old.
    Feel free to see additional photographs and our design statement on our website.

    Glenn Irwin
    Loop8 Architecture

    Live in Luxury

    Level 2, 41-45 A’Beckett Street,
    Melbourne VIC 3000
    ph +61 3 9663 3351
    fx +61 3 9654 4663

  • Clare 4 years ago

    Just brilliant Emma! Some lovely textiles, prints and textures. What a lovely inspiring ‘teacher’ home! x

  • Pete 4 years ago

    Really nice, simple house. Wouldn’t call it a standout, looks pretty similar to most of the generic apartment stuff being done at the moment. The dining setting is gorgeous in a classic way, a very welcoming looking place you’d love to come home too

  • Pete 4 years ago

    ps. LOL at calling an Asian magazine ‘Sameway’. What on earth were they thinking, it’s hilarious on many levels.

  • Connecting rooms is music to my ears. They are so hard to find.
    SO great! Thanks for all your hard work on these!
    Fantastic pictures. This is a wonderful storage solution that I’m passing on to some of my sewing relatives who sew much more than me.

  • Dylan 4 years ago

    I Love this house, great kiwiana by the bookcase, and that cute little doggy hideaway is a brilliant idea. :)

  • Karen 4 years ago

    Absolutely love this house, small, lovely and well organised. So nice to see a home of this size without clutter, but also so well styled!

  • Amber 4 years ago

    Beautiful home! Thankyou for sharing!! Will be filing away te tid bits of useful suppliers!! ;)
    Can I ask Emma, the shower head and frame, where is that from please? I went to Bunning and looked through the Pheonix catalogue, but I cldnt find your one! It is the last thing on my to do list is find a shower head/nosel thingo!!
    Thankyou and congrats on all yr hard work paying off- beautiful home!!

  • Dean Ashby 3 years ago

    My wife loved the details of this home, and has been taking down notes for her future plan of renovating our house when the kids get older (well, that would be a while for us; our kids are still young!). She has been sharing with my co-workers and co-workers’ wives, during a small BBQ gathering. She was happy to know that one of my co-workers’ home will be featured soon in this site, as the latter was contacted recently by My co-worker shared some photos with her that was taken professionally by the website photographer. The photos, she said, were gorgeous.

  • traslochi-roma 3 years ago

    Ho trovato il vostro blog su google e sto leggendo alcuni dei tuoi post iniziali. Il tuo blog

  • EMMA F 3 years ago

    House envy,love everything about it.

  • evan 3 years ago

    I want to to thank a person for this wonderful read!! I definitely savoring every little it I have you ever bookmarked to check out new stuff a person post

  • Tania 3 years ago

    Hi, This is a bit of an old post so I may not get an answer – but can you tell me where the chair from Emma’s study is from? I think it is a discontinued ikea version but I’m not sure. If it is would love the name so I can find it secondhand. Thanks!

  • Janine 2 years ago

    I love this project and wondered if I could get some advice on using Formply for kitchen cabinetry?
    I’m currently designing our kitchen and think this would be a great alternate to standard ply. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to get a response!

  • Sarita 2 months ago


    Love this house. Which architect did you use

You might also like

Jo Hoban
Thursday 29th October 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 28th October 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 10th November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 17th November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 24th November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Monday 2nd November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Friday 6th November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 4th November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Monday 9th November 2015
by Lisa Marie Corso
Tuesday 10th November 2015