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Amber and Ben Clohesy and Family

Homes

This unique home in Melbourne’s leafy suburb of Hawthorn belongs to designer and retailer Amber Clohesy (of The Woodsfolk and Down to the Woods), her partner Ben, and their young children Willow and Tilda. With its versatile layout and distinctive circular internal courtyard, this clever little house channels an almost mid-century aesthetic, though it was designed and built a little more recently, in 2000!

22nd October, 2014

Dining room details.   ‘The house has either white or charcoal walls’ explains Amber. ‘If it’s charcoal, it means it opens!’.  Neat system!  Rugs from Down To The Woods.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The unique Hawthorn home of Amber and Ben Clohesy of The Woodsfolk .  The homes’ circular courtyard at the heart of the house is its most distinctive feature. ‘It makes for a lot of fun and games; the kids literally run in circles around the house and often draw with chalk pens all over the glass. In the courtyard is a swing attached to the big tree, we’re all prone to having a bit of a swing’ says Amber.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Internal courtyard.   The ornamental mulberry tree is deciduous, so in winter the house is filled with morning light and in summer the courtyard is completely shaded by the trees giant leaves.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Another angle on that amazing circular courtyard.  ‘It makes for a lot of fun and games; the kids literally run in circles around the house and often draw with chalk pens all over the glass. In the courtyard is a swing attached to the big tree, we’re all prone to having a bit of a swing’ says Amber.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room.  Dining table from Archier, a Melbourne based multi-disciplinary design and architecture studio.   Ercol candlestick dining chairs lovingly restored by Grandfather’s Axe.  The mountain scenery is a giant wall sticker Amber had made for one of her trade show stands years ago. ‘It’s a blown up old postcard picture’ explains Amber. The gold spot hanging pots are by Angus and Celeste.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room details, including String System shelving from Great Dane Furniture. ‘Installing this in our super tiny house has made such a difference’ says Amber. ‘The kitchen is small and we are keen cooks, we just couldn’t fit our cookware and crockery in. Moving all our crockery and glassware out has helped us so much’ she explains. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amber and Ben’s bedroom.  ‘I like to buy blankets on my travels, this one is from The Navajo Indian Reservation better known as Monument Valley’ says Amber.  Sheets and pillowcases by Hunting for George,  blanket in basket on the floor from Nepal, shell necklaces from a childhood trip to Fiji.  Alphabet signs and wire baskets from The Woodsfolk. The eye cushy on the bed by local maker Made By Mosey. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom details.  Shelves with ruler edging made by Ben (timber ruler from  The Woodsfolk).  ‘This is a detail that we first incorporated into our shop fit-out and has since spread to all corners of our life!’ says Amber!   ‘Our sheets are from the recent Hunting for George range they are so super soft, and I love the calming palette. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

‘The bathroom is the room that convinced us to buy the house’ says Amber. ‘There were no pictures of it online so we assumed it must need renovation, so when we opened the door to this bright, clean space with marble we were floored’.  Turkish towels, basin soap, candles and brushes are all from The Woodsfolk. ‘We make sure we road test as much as we can at home… that is really the best part of having the store!’ Amber admits! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Study nook details.  ‘The study is hidden away behind a wall, I love it’s practical built in pin-board, which I have my Afghan doily collection pinned to’ says Amber. Tin pieces are from the latest Down To The Woods Christmas collection. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

living room, another view!  Cinque Terra paintings by Laurie Mossuto. Cushions by Pony Rider and Cushionopoly,  rug is one of Amber’s felt ball creations. ‘We do a lot of custom work and I customed this one just for us. I wanted colours that tied the artwork to the rest of the room and didn’t clash with the cork flooring. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Beautiful treasures in the living room / hall.  Second-hand copper topped table, timber doll is Amber’s mum’s beloved ‘Saint Residros’. The artwork is from Hut 13, and the cork shaded pitch fork lamp is from Camden markets in London. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amber and Ben at home! Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 22nd October 2014

The Clohesy family have been here exactly five years, and are the third owners of this slightly unusual 2 bedroom home.  Orginally from Sydney, Amber and Ben found their home without exactly intending to.  ‘We’d recently moved from  Sydney and were renting in Hawthorn, but were house hunting in Richmond’ explains Amber. Whilst they really loved the Hawthorn area, the big houses and blocks had factored them out in terms of price, so neighbouring Richmond became their focus.  However, this place just turned up in a search one day and intrigued Amber.  ‘At first we thought the place looked crazy, the furniture was really at odds with the architecture – all heavy antiques and giant old persian rugs. We had a laugh at this funny little house, but on a second look at the pictures we stopped laughing and decided to go look’.

From pictures, Amber and Ben had assumed the house was from the 70’s (and assumption I also made at first!) but once they got inside they realised it was ‘new-ish’ and didn’t need any renovation. ‘By the time we got to the bathroom and I spied the marble bath surround, and amazing opportunity to open the bathroom right up to the central courtyard, I fell in deep, deep love, and we decided to buy it there and then!’ says Amber.

Though modest in size, the home is deceptively easy to live in, and endlessly versatile.  Each rooms flows effortlessly into the next, and what the space lacks in floor area it certainly makes up for in  ingenuity.  The home is full of unexpected details, such as the transitional ‘walls’ which are in fact oversized doors that open to reveal functional spaces (such as the study nook adjacent to the bedroom), and clever hidden storage.  Amber and Ben say they have had to do very little since purchasing the place.

Amber describes her style as ‘Scand-American’. ‘I love to mix blonde timbers and I’m a bit obsessed with mountain and forests on everything’ she says.  A colour enthusiast, Amber has  filled her home with bold colour, treasured artwork and souvenirs from overseas trips, and of course a fair bit of stock from her own range of homewares, and her well loved Hawthorn store. ‘I would burst with boredom if I ever felt the house was ‘done’, and owning a homewares businesses means things can change pretty fast!’ she says.

‘There are a few pieces I absolutely cherish’ says Amber. These include the Ercol candlestick dining chairs, lovingly restored by Grandfather’s Axe, and a pair of paintings in the living room which depict the Cinque Terre, where Amber and Ben had celebrated an anniversary before they were married. ‘Coincidentally the artist Laurie Mossuto had visited Italy the same year we did, and then painted after his visit’ explains Amber, adding ‘more importantly, the artist Laurie is also my very ace step-father, but these works were done before he and my mother got together!’.

If you love Amber’s fun, eclectic aesthetic, do check out her store The Woodsfolk , which has a brand new online store that just went live this week!   It’s a beauty, full of styled photography and Amber’s signature mix of bold, cheerful homewares –  well worth a little look!

‘The house is so unusual, from its circular central courtyard filled, open and closing walls, it’s introspective outlook and the way the tree paints dappled light across the dining area of an afternoon.  Living in something unique is really fun’

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