When I met Karen Julian and her two daughters Holly and Megan (both 23), it was instantly clear these three were a tight knit trio. The family are exceptionally close, and whilst excitedly giving me a tour of their colourful Sydney house, Karen, Holly and Megan chatted cheerfully, often finishing each others’ sentences. I didn’t meet the family patriarch, Bruce, during my visit, but Karen and the girls mentioned him a number of times – it’s clear he’s a much loved husband and Dad, who holds very little influence when Karen and the girls make up their minds about something!
The Julian family live together in a two storey Victorian terrace house in Sydney’s Randwick. Megan and Holly are both architecture students, and share a passion for bold colour and pattern. ‘Needless to say the house is a fairly colourful and chaotic culmination of all of our tastes’ Holly says!
Karen and Bruce bought their home 10 years ago. After house hunting for close to a year, Karen came upon the house quite by accident, not realising the auction was just two days away. Bruce didn’t go along to the inspection, but Karen and the girls (then 13) fell in love with it straight away. Their next challenge was to convince their Dad to buy it. Their main selling point was that no work would need to be done as the home was already in ‘perfect condition.’ ‘Little did he know…’ Karen says in retrospect!
In fact, Bruce soon replaced the existing ‘country style’ kitchen and bathroom, demolishing the existing fixtures and installing a flat pack kitchen himself. The rest of the home was slowly redecorated by Karen, with enthusiastic input (and the odd unsolicited eBay purchase!) from her two creative daughters.
‘The aesthetic of the home underwent a major change after a friend fell asleep on our lounge, and woke up proclaiming that he thought he was in his Grandmothers house!’ recalls Karen! This, as well as the girls protestations that the house was ‘daggy’ led Karen to re-decorate the home over a couple of years, replacing much of the art, lighting and antique furniture, and injecting colour through a bold selection of vintage wallpaper.
‘What the girls call my ‘eBay obsession’ has led to us finding a lot of the retro glassware, furniture, art and wallpaper’ Karen says. Local markets, Vinnies and the occasional side of the road find has also played a large part in the homes’ eclectic makeover. ‘Our home is made up of many collections’ Karen explains. ‘We will often stumble upon a single decorative vase or candlestick which will inevitably lead to a collection’.
Karen loves the idea that there is a little bit of each family member’s personality in every room. ‘The house is a reflection of our love of vintage pieces, colour and clutter!’ she says. ‘It has evolved slowly over the years, and has been greatly influenced by my daughters’ growing love of design.’