Australian Homes

Tim Leveson, Libby Knott and family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 31st July 2013

The Sydney home of designer / furniture maker Tim Levesonand family.  Original Harry Bertola chair from Shapiro’s in Woollahra. Wooden bench purchased on holiday in Indonesia. Original deep yellow kitchen cupboards.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room looking through to front of house. Blue painting by Tim Summerton (Tim Olsen gallery) Harry Bertola Chair.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Love arrangement of art and kids craft in Tim’s home office!  Artists – Amy Baker, Robert Malherbe, Luke Sciberras, Boyd Sanday and an antique Chinese glass painting. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Tim’s home office.  Office chair – ‘Grace’ from Aero. Tim Leveson Rocking chair.  Lamp from Rozelle markets. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Today’s Australian Home comes to us from the very sweet suburb of Lilyfield in Sydney, which is SO cute and central I feel like it’s Sydney’s best kept secret.  The home belongs to interior designer and furniture maker Tim Leveson and his partner Libby Knott, who works at Marimekko in Sydney!  Tim and Libby share their colourful cottage with two daughters – Sunday who is 6, and Harper, 3.

Tim and Libby’s house is a small but perfectly proportioned family home, with 4 bedrooms – one of which serves as Tim’s home office.  The kids share one bedroom, whilst the remaining room has been turned into a dedicated playroom, just off the kitchen – such a simple but genius idea which separates playtime and sleep time, for as long as Sunday and Harper are happy to share a bunkbed!

Tim and Libby bought their house in 2009, when Libby was pregnant with Harper.  Whilst they could instantly see the potential of this simple little weatherboard with its pretty Victorian frontage, it was no mean feat bringing it up to liveable standards in time for their youngest daughters’ arrival!

‘The house was in really dire shape when we bought it, with no gutters, graffiti on the bedroom walls, some of which had holes in them, and overall it was really pretty dingy’ recalls Tim.  But, of course, this didn’t deter them!  ‘We could tell that with some love and time, the house could be really charismatic’ Tim says.  It was decided that in order to be moved in by the time Harper was born, there would be time only for a fairly minor tidy up. A new roof and gutters were essential, patching of walls, painting throughout and some simple storage in the bedrooms were installed soon after acquiring the property.

Tim and Libby’s gorgeous little home really exemplifies that common stage for so many Australian families – after making a few early cosmetic changes, and spending 3 or 4 years living here, they’re still waiting to do the ‘proper’ reno!   It’s in the works – but as an interior designer himself, Tim is keen to ensure that the next stage doesn’t take too much away from the relaxed charm of his much-loved little family house.

‘The kitchen, bathroom and laundry are still yet to be renovated, but we have some grand plans on the boiler for the home as a whole, we are just trying to nail the finer details’ says Tim.  ‘It’s important that we don’t lose the integrity of its shack-like feel, so we need to be certain of what we do long term. We want to marry a modern renovation with its existing persona, so the choice of materials and fittings will be really important’.

There’s a quirky charm about this home that really gives the space such warmth and personality.  Tim’s design practice means that pieces of furniture are in high rotation here, ‘it’s a great canvas for trialing new pieces’ he says.  Both he and Libby love mixing organic pieces with mid century and modern finds, and collecting artwork when budget permits.  One particularly treasured piece is the Alan Jones ‘Head in Grey Field’ painting hanging in the loungeroom.  ‘There is a long story about how we ended up buying it’ says Tim. ‘It was actually purchased with Sunday’s baby bonus money, which is a bit naughty, but a better investment than a cot!’.  OH I bet this is not the first family to have splurged a little with their baby bonus!

Huge thanks to Tim and Libby for sharing their home with us today!

Living room.  Sofa by Jardan.  Large painting on wall – ‘Head in Grey Field’ by Alan Jones. ‘Without a doubt the Alan Jones picture above the sofa is a family favourite. There is a long story about how we ended up buying it, and it was actually purchased with Sunday’s baby bonus money, which is a bit naughty, but a better investment than a cot!’ says Tim!   Other artworks by David Band and Louise Tuckwell. Rug from Tsar Rugs. Coffee table from Tim Leveson Interiors.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Hallway looking to front door.  Ruby, the family’s Kelpie looking a little suspicious.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom. African throw, purchased from Michael Nagy Fine art. Bed and bedside designed by Tim / Tim Leveson Interiors. Pink and spotted cushions by Marimekko. Lamp found in council hard rubbish!  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  African throw, purchased from Michael Nagy Fine art. Tim Leveson Interiors bed head. Pink and spotted cushions by Marimekko.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kids’ bedroom.  Curtains made by Libby.  Globe light from Professor Plumb in Crows Nest. Pink stick stool designed by Tim / Tim Leveson Interiors. Tim had the bean bag and euro cushion on top bunk made by a friend using Ikea fabrics. Dream catcher from Bali.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kids playroom.  Marimekko oilcloth on table. Chairs from ECC.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Exterior.  Number ‘8’ – vintage tin scoreboard number from Seasonal Concepts in Redfern. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 31st July 2013

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