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!