Australian Homes

Renee Coleman and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 17th July 2013

The Perth home of WA-based designer and shop owner Renee Coleman and her family.  Above – view from 9yr old Orlando’s bedroom down the hall.  Bond poster found in a second hand store in Sydney.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Loungeroom.  Original Featherston chair (foreground) is one of Renee’s favourite pieces, the metal green industrial light was found in New York , the oval marble coffee table Renee designed and had made in India.  ‘The houndstooth single chairs are very in now – Gatsby! But I’ve had them for over 18 months, from Empire – I took one look and fell in love!’ says Renee.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

The main lounge room.  French metal stool recovered in Designers Guild mustard velvet.  Charcoal slimline sofa by Empire (to the right).  Renee collected vintage german vases – they are dotted all through the house.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Renee and Sneaky the boxer (!) enjoy a moment on the outdoor terrace.  ‘We live out here’ says Renee.  Original Harry Bertoia chairs – ‘collected pre the knock off era !’ says Renee.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Today we have another fabulous mid century home to share, courtesy of stylist Anna Flanders and photographer Angelita Bonetti, the incredible Perth-based team we work with closely to ensure TDF gets its fair share of WA homes!  (I will get there in person very soon I promise!  But in the meantime, my goodness, what a JOY it is to have such a fantastic team on the ground keeping us in the loop!).

This very special family home, in the Perth suburb of Floreat, belongs to designer and shop owner Renee Coleman of much loved Perth interiors store Empire, her husband and two kids Orlando (9 yrs) and baby Riva Ruby, as well as ‘Sneaky’ the dog, and Audrey the ‘fat angry feline’!  Designed and built in the 1960’s by Bulgarian architect Iwan Iwanoff for his own residence, the home is one of Perth’s most iconic houses.  Renee says she had her eye on it for many years, but had almost lost hope that it would ever become available. When it did come on the market in early 2011, the family were quick to snap it up, moving in in April 2011.

As with so many of the mid century homes we feature, Renee’s home is in close to original condition, requiring only minor restoration work to keep it looking its best! Interior walls have been refreshed, some new light fittings have been added, and a little ‘invisible’ restoration work has been necessary, such as plumbing fixes, etc.  Blinds were also installed on street-side bedroom windows for privacy.   Renee’s next the major project will be to re-fence the garden -‘ to stop Sneaky from escaping and harassing the neighbourhood!’ she says.

As a designer and owner of one of WA’s most loved interiors shops, Empire in Highgate, it’s no surprise Renee has pulled together such an inspired and eclectic edit of furniture, lighting and artwork for her own home.  Mid century finds sit happily alongside contemporary artwork and quirky collectibles, giving this house a vibrant, relaxed feel.  The 4m long vintage teak dining table is a particularly treasured item – found whilst on honeymoon in Java, Renee says she loves this piece the most. The original lime green Featherston chair comes a close second!

Almost all the key furniture and decorative items you see here were sourced by Renee for her shop… but which mysteriously seem to have found a permanent home here!  In addition to her collection of restored vintage furniture, there’s also a healthy edit of pieces Renee has designed and commissioned herself, and unique items sourced from across the globe, such as handstitched cushions and copper candelabras found recently in Egypt.

However, as with most of the mid century spaces we often feature, the star of this show is undoubtedly the house itself.  ‘The deceptively complex design elements create an uncluttered sense of serenity’ says Renee of the timeless modernist design features that make this home so special.  ‘Every single aspect of the house and garden has been designed to be both beautiful and functional, which gives a constant feeling of completeness and soundness. Two years down the track,  I still find a new angle, corner, beam or alcove that is perfectly conceived and proportioned. I have never lived in a ‘special’ home before, and there is not a day that I don’t pinch myself that I have the fortune to be the custodian of this perfect family home.’

Anyone planning a trip to Perth must put Renee’s beautiful store on their ‘must visit’ list!  However, never one to sit still for very long, Renee also has a new business in the works – The Collector.  Due to launch this Spring, The Collector is an online store specialising in one-off items sourced from across the globe, with 50 new pieces added every quarter, ranging from unique furniture to glassware, hand made textiles, soft furnishings and other treasures uncovered by Renee on her annual buying trips abroad.  Wowsers, sounds kind of AMAZING – watch this space!

Dining room, with incredible original timber panelling.  ‘Two Worlds’ painting by Susanna Castleden.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Kitchen.  Mid century chrome barstools, reupholstered in Designers Guild purple velvet. ‘I love velvet in mid centry modern homes as you can tell!’ says Renee.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Original Kitchen.  Purple horse sculpture designed by Renee and carved in Ubud, Bali.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

German vases collected by Renee.    Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Sitting room.   Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Sitting room details.   Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Bevan Honey’s ‘Architectural Drawings’ hang above the bed.  Throw rug by one of Renee’s favourite Australian textiles labels – Bemboka Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Amazing retro-inspired bedroom for Orlando (9). ‘I broke up the black masculine look by adding some green vintage pieces and some Marimekko fabric from Empire‘ says Renee.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

Original bathroom details.   Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

The distinctive wall imprints on the house exterior are taken from the design of Singer sewing machine casings (!), commissioned for the home by the original architect / owner Ivan Ivanoff.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

House exterior.  Styling – Anna Flanders, Photo – Angelita Bonetti for The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 17th July 2013


  • Mary Anne p 3 years ago

    What a truly amazing home!!! Love love love!

  • tina l 3 years ago

    Gorgeous home. That kitchen is like a modern version of Don Draper’s! Wish I had a bedroom like Orlando’s when I was nine.

  • Rachel Castle 3 years ago

    I want to have breakfast at the bar. Oh so beautiful. xxx

  • Pamela Oberman 3 years ago

    Wow herein lies extreme good taste – inside and out

  • Kara Baker 3 years ago

    Light, airy and oh so elegant, I love these images, thank you for a great start to my day !

  • Cheryl from BusiChic 3 years ago

    This house is crazy-delicious and what a sophisticated 9-year-old Orlando must be – his room is stellar! And I want to play with Sneaky xx

  • The Yellow Dance Spot 3 years ago

    OMG! Just fell off my chair, hit my head and been transported to another time. Glorious house!

  • Jason 3 years ago

    Always impressed by your Wednesday post and this one is the best yet! It is so good to see these amazing MCM homes being maintained and loved by their present owners!

    Thanks for sharing it with us and keep up the great work!

  • Pamela 3 years ago

    I love Wednesdays on TDF!!! What an amazing home!! I wish I had a gorgeous room like Orlando’s when I was his age too!

  • anna 3 years ago

    My fave TDF house by far. Incredible.

  • brismod 3 years ago

    Such a fabulous home. Love!

  • Lisa 3 years ago

    Amazing! Reminds me of my Grandparents house – they had the red shag pile carpet too!!

  • marie 3 years ago

    Love it – very well put together and looks so liveable

  • kat chadwick 3 years ago

    I think this is the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen on the design files! scrumptious

  • Bronwyn 3 years ago

    Love love love!

  • ros 3 years ago

    That is an awesome house. Amazing. Perfect. And beautifully decorated. The best yet :)

  • Tess 3 years ago


  • Kimmy 3 years ago

    Wowsers. That is all.

  • Georgia Perry 3 years ago

    One of my total favourites ever! x

  • Maryla 3 years ago

    What a treasure. Beautiful styling and just an amazing eye for design. Bravo!

  • Emily 3 years ago


  • Natalie 3 years ago

    Stunning, exciting and iconic! thankyou

  • Amy 3 years ago

    Amazing home, inside and out. Love Empire too! x

  • Ray Garrod 3 years ago

    Fantastic, I know Perth pretty well and houses/décor there have quite different vibe to the eastern states. Great pieces, colour etc etc. LOVE the Macramé hanging! …and the West German pottery….and…

  • KirstenB 3 years ago

    Best EVER!

  • Melissa 3 years ago

    What a treasure!

  • Anna Flanders 3 years ago

    Love love love this house… most amazing feel to walk around in it – all wood, glass and open views (and open air thanks to big expanses of working windows) to the world around you on each side. And just love Renee’s innate style… she’s just such a gorgeous person and so passionate and excited about design. x

  • Jane Buchanan 3 years ago

    Wow!! In the words of everyone above…best house ever!! Loved every second of this post, the singer sewing machine castings…totally amazing, who thinks to do that!

  • Fiona 3 years ago


  • Dirima 3 years ago

    Aha I knew it was only a matter of time before this house made it to TDF. Well done Ren it looks fabulous! X

  • Pooja 3 years ago

    Wow! I’m in love with this stunning home. Beautiful light & timber! It’s so nice to hear that it’s as close to the original condition as it can get. Thank you TDF for making my Wednesday dreamy!

  • Fi 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this stunning home! It has so many gorgeous elements and a wonderful feel to it. Are the kitchen and bathroom really in original condition? The bench top, recessed sinks, tap ware and appliances look distinctly contemporary and the joinery looks as new – but if it is indeed original it has been kept in immaculate condition for 40+ years – wow!

  • Plumbing Perth 3 years ago

    Interesting post. Nice designs!!!

  • Jo 3 years ago


  • Alicia 3 years ago

    So great to see more of Perth on TDF! This home is up there with some of the best and most beautiful this country has too offer. Stunning and inspiring!

  • Summer 3 years ago

    What an amazing home, I especially Love the ‘Two Worlds’ print!

  • Marsha 3 years ago


  • The Room Illuminated 3 years ago

    Some fantastic choices in artwork!

  • Clare Beames 3 years ago

    Love it, the colours in oscars room are great! The cast concrete on the front facade te has that Frank Lloyd Wright / Blade Runner feel

  • Elle 3 years ago

    Looks amazing Ren xxxx

  • New Henry Design 3 years ago

    Oh my. This is an impeccable eclectic vintage style home. I absolutely love love love it!!

  • freedom 3 years ago

    beautiful. beautiful. beautiful. endless inspiration ren & todd. congratulations! f x

  • Alex 3 years ago

    Oh my goodness what a beaut. The exterior is like a residential temple!! And that kid Orlando is a lucky lad; his bedroom is a dream for me.

  • perry and jill 3 years ago

    very proud of you Ren…..
    we love it too!!!

  • yatirudolf 3 years ago

    So beautiful, it is just like a dream house comes true

  • Jackpot 3 years ago


    Thanks for sharing this incredible home!
    Just wondering: are there any close-up photos available of the singer sewing machine casings?

    Thank you :)

  • Soula Alexander 3 years ago

    Absolutely stunning home……love love love!!! Great find TDF…..thanks for sharing such an outstandingly splendid home. Has given me extra energy/enthusiasm to find a mcm home to buy…….just need to find one that hasn’t been bastardised over the years!

  • Michelle 3 years ago

    Wow…how amazing is this place. So creative , I love the imprints on the front of the house!!!! Love all the swan ornaments and vases…all the beautiful furnishings and Orlando’s room wow wow.
    Great stuff.

  • Terri 3 years ago

    Absolutly Devine…. What a beautiful home! Xxx

  • Anne 3 years ago

    Well, just as everyone else has stated , this is a house that oozes style without the minimalist look or white walls or concrete floors! It has that eclectic mish mash, but done with a great ‘eye’ for detail & colour that just fits. A dream house/home.

  • Sam 3 years ago

    Great place! Beautifully modern.

  • Lauren 3 years ago

    The more Iwanoff houses you feature, the better! He is my most favorite of all time.

  • Judith Whitehouse 1 year ago

    I love mid century modern; clean lines, very linear & warm colours.

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