Australian Homes

Trudy Gould, Seamus McCartney and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 3rd July 2013

The Kensington home of Trudy Gould and Seamus McCartney and their two daughters.  Lush greenery designed and planted by Trudy. Blue door inspired by Trudy and Seamus’ previous life in London’s Primrose Hill.  Chalk drawings on footpath by the pair’s daughters, Rosie and Silke.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs living room. Antique Irish pine dresser sourced by Trudy and Seamus in the UK.  Cushions by Bonnie and Neil, these plus the lamps and Armadillo & Co. rug all purchased from Sedonia, Seddon.  Sofa from Designers Guild.   Peacocks found at a garage sale in Kensington.  On dresser – vintage plates with insects by UK based designer Lou Rota. Original tile from the Sydney Opera House with original Arup Journal (Arup were the engineers who worked with Jorn Utzon on the design of the Sydney Opera House – these items are Seamus’ pride and joy!).  Ceramics from Le Petit Atelier de Paris.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room.  Vintage haberdashery cabinet sourced by Trudy and Seamus in the UK.  Upturned antique glass scientific funnel used as light fitting over table.  Stokke children’s chairs. Dining table from Ikea. Candle holders from Sedonia in Seddon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining details.  Original arched nooks in the wall for lamps – a surprise discovery for Trudy and Seamus during renovations.  Ceramics on table from Le petit Atelier de Paris.  Upturned antique scientific glass funnel used as light fitting over dining table.  Candle holders and vases from Sedonia Seddon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen.  Marble counter from DeFazio tiles in Brunswick, tiles by Jatana Interiors, purchased from DeFazio tiles.  Industrial light fittings found at a flea market in London.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The most interesting homes we come across always tell a story, and today’s creative, colourful family home in Melbourne’s Kensington certainly speaks volumes about the well travelled family who live here.  It’s taken me a little while to put my finger on it, but I think what is distinctive about this home is an unmistakable sense of ‘Britishness’.   It really feels as if someone has plonked one of London’s beautiful Victorian townhouses smack bang in the middle of Melbourne, paint finishes, furnishings and all!  This is not entirely surprising when you learn that homeowners Trudy Gould and Seamus Mccartney, though from Melbourne originally, have spent the past few years living and working in London.  In fact, they purchased their home remotely, sight unseen, moving in just 18 months ago after returning to Melbourne with their two daughters, Rosie (5) and Silke (3).

How does one pinpoint a ‘British’ kind of home, you might quite reasonably ask.  Well, for one thing, unlike Australian homes, homes in the UK often feel charmingly compartmentalised – there’s much less emphasis on ‘open plan’ spaces, and I must say, it’s quite a nice change.  Having some separation between key rooms allows for quite distinct decorating and colour choices from one room to the next, as Trudy and Seamus have done here to maximum effect (I love the deep hues in the upstairs rooms!).  Secondly, unlike Australian homes, UK homes more often than not are built over at least 2 levels (in this case, 3) – Europeans are not afraid of a few flights of stairs!  And lastly, really, it’s all about the styling.  UK homes often employ a relaxed, eclectic and almost ‘ad hoc’ furnishing approach.  Enormous kitchen dressers and freestanding wardrobes are rarely seen in Australian homes, but are a common centrepiece in European homes, often favoured over fixed cabinetry.  Trudy has a particular affection for large freestanding pieces like this, as seen in her bedroom, where she’s eschewed built-in storage in favour of two stunning vintage Hungarian wardrobes, which stand alongside a large vintage haberdashery unit – so beautiful!

Trudy and Seamus’ house occupies one quarter of the Bayview Hotel in Kensington, an impressive Victorian building, built in 1890. It was converted in the 1990’s to four large townhouses, each over 3 levels. When Trudy and Seamus took over the property it was a mish mash or two or three previous fit outs, sadly leaving virtually none of the original features or feel of the original hotel.  With backgrounds in architecture and property development, Trudy and Seamus were keen to restore their new home to its former glory, and make better use of the space. They commenced renovations immediately upon moving back to Melbourne from the UK in December 2012,  and moved in in Jan 2013 – after an eight week reno over Christmas! (Trudy and Seamus would like to credit their builder who they highly recommend, Dan Lucas of ‘Built By Dan’ – no website supplied I’m afraid).

‘The renovation and design was an intuitive process, peeling back layers of previous cover ups to rediscover original historical details’ says Trudy.  The house required an almost complete internal refurbishment, including the removal of various internal walls to reinstate the original proportions of the building. The kitchen was redesigned and relocated from the middle level to the ground floor and two new bathrooms were built.  Whilst demolishing some of the previous renovation work, Trudy and Seamus were thrilled to uncover a few untouched original features, such as the little arches and fireplace on the ground floor, which had been hidden behind plaster sheets.

Aside from re-designing the internal spaces, Trudy also significantly re-worked the courtyard garden, creating a lush, child friendly outdoor space and planting pretty foliage to soften the footpath at the front entrance.  Another sweet detail which feels so very European!  ‘I love the connection to the street, and the way we have been able to claim the footpath using these simple planters and greenery’ says Trudy. ‘The neighbours love how we have converted this to a garden to be enjoyed by all – the girls are always out here drawings on the footpath’.

Trudy and Seamus have relished the opportunity to use their combined creative skills to personalise their new surroundings, and along the way have also loved learning a little more about the history of the distinctive building they call home.  ‘Rumour has it the original timber bar of the hotel that was within our kitchen/living space was salvaged in the 1990’s, and is now in use in The European on Spring Street!’ says Trudy.  ‘We’ve also heard that the upper floor bedrooms saw a colourful past for many years…!’

Though her background is in large scale architecture and urban planning, designing and furnishing her own home with pieces sourced from Europe has also sparked Trudy’s newfound passion for sourcing antique furniture, and realising smaller scale residential design projects. Retrouve is the result – Trudy’s own creative consultancy, focusing on a very personal approach to designing interiors, sourcing furniture, creating courtyards and city gardens, and residential architecture.

Beautiful moody dark master bedroom.  Vintage Hungarian wardrobe sourced by Trudy and Seamus in the UK. Union Jack in Liberty floral fabrics by Liberty of London. Trudy’s Orange wool dress found in Lecce, Italy.  Linen bedlinen from Sedonia in Seddon, linen bedspread / throw by Bonnie and Neil.  Bed from Habitat UK. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Vintage hungarian wardrobe sourced by Trudy and Seamus in the UK. Cowhide purchased from the roadside in Quito, Ecuador. Vintage British shop haberdashery cabinet purchased in London.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Union Jack in Liberty floral print from Liberty of London. Bed from Habitat UK. Bed linen from Sedonia in Seddon. Vintage chair as bedside table found in Hampstead London.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Hallway looking to bathroom.  Cowhide purchased in Quito, Ecuador. Kaldewei freestanding bath from Bathe Australia.  Linen drapes by Trudy.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom.  Shower curtain made by Trudy with fabric from The Fabric Shop in Fitzroy.  Antique Danish mirror.  Kaldewei Bath from Bathe Australia.  Vintage ladder from Sedonia in Seddon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Rosie and Silke’s shared bedroom.  Stokke cot.  Cot bedding made by Trudy.  Oak Chest of Drawers by Habitat (UK).  Girls raincoat by Hucklebones London.  Bonnie and Neil linen on bed.  Ladybird Wheely bug.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Rosie and Silke’s shared bedroom.  Wall hanging made by Trudy from silk purchased in Laos, artwork by Rosie (5 yrs).  Stokke cot. Oak Chest of Drawers by Habitat (UK).  Pink pigeon light by Ed Carpenter. Girls raincoat by Hucklebones London.  Bonnie and Neil linen on bed.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

 Second floor living area / sewing room.  Custom sofa covered in Bute Scottish wool from Liberty of London.  Vintage haberdashery cabinet sourced in the UK.  Ceramics on coffee table from Le petit Atelier de Paris.  Rug by Designers Guild.  Cushions from Habitat UK.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

 Second floor living area / sewing room.  Painting by Paul Ruiz, Melbourne.  Custom sofa covered in Bute Scottish wool from Liberty of London.  Vintage haberdashery cabinet sourced in the UK.  Ceramics on coffee table from Le petit Atelier de Paris.  Rug by Designers Guild.  Cushions and turned lamp from Habitat UK.  Vintage danish side table and coffee table.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Rosie and Silke in the back garden, wearing sweet dress-up tutus made by by Trudy!  Garden / furniture details in wide garden shot below.   Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Garden details.  Timber planter boxes made from old fruit crates by Re Box Co. Melbourne.  Greenery / landscaping by Trudy. Cushion made by Trudy with Liberty of London fabrics.  Living plant wall made from discarded reinforcement mesh.  Acapulco chair from Designers Guild.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Backgarden.  Landscaping and greenery designed and planted by Trudy.  Fermob Luxembourg outdoor table (the same range which furnishes the Luxumbourg gardens in Paris).  Benches by Tait Melbourne.  Roxo Chair by Ikea.  Outdoor colourful woven stool from Sedonia in Seddon.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Building exterior.  Trudy and Seamus’ home is part of a subdivision of the former Bayview Hotel Kensington by Architect Harry Lording, 1890.  Greenery by Trudy.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 3rd July 2013

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