After running two showstopping Sydney homes back to back, we're well overdue for another Melbourne pad, and luckily we have just the thing for you this morning - the warm, friendly and beautifully decorated home of interior designer Suzanne Cunningham, her husband Adam and their two kids, Grace (4) and Tom (1).
Suzanne's story is one I seem to be hearing more and more these days. After a successful 'first' career as a marketing manager for a big bank, Suzanne's passion for interiors was ignited by her own home renovation, undertaken before her two children were born. Suzanne project managed the extensive renovation and extension of her home, the results of which you see here. However, when the job was finally complete, she had a new problem - she wanted to do it all over again! With encouragement from friends and family, she decided to follow her passion. She went back to study, adding a Diploma of Interior Design to her existing Commerce and Arts degrees. Her firm, One Girl Interiors, is just that - a tiny consultancy she currently runs from home, taking on interior projects both big and small, with the kind of heartfelt passion that comes from finding your calling a little later in life.
Suzanne and Adam originally purchased their home, on a generous block in Box Hill, eleven years ago. It wasn't until 2007, which plans to start a family, that they finally decided to tackle a major renovation and extension, which would effectively double the size of the house.
'The original post-war weatherboard home had one small sitting room, a tiny dining room and a galley kitchen' says Suzanne. 'None of these were ideal for entertaining, which we love to do!' The kitchen was a major priority - Suzanne loves to to cook, and was intent on creating her dream kitchen here! 'It was definitely the most important element for me in the whole house' she says.
It was decided that the new extension would centre around the additional of a large open plan kitchen/informal dining/living area, at the rear of the home. The existing dining room was also extended, a second bathroom added, and the master bedroom was moved to the back of the home, overlooking the garden. The result is what feels like a HUGE home by inner-city standards (!!) - four generous bedrooms with breathing space between one another, and distinct kids / grown up zones - including a beautiful 'proper' dining room for meals with friends, which Suzanne loves to host.
Suzanne's impeccable taste is perfectly reflected in the measured decorating decisions she has made here - she loves colour and pattern, and has selected a few favourite wallpapers for her study, bedroom and the formal living room. 'I love the Kelly Wearstler wallpaper in my study' she says. 'The pattern is both fun and elegant at the same time. It makes me smile whenever I see it... I do have a slight wallpaper addiction!'.
Another treasured piece for Suzanne is the Panton Fun Lamp, with its delicately threaded mother-of-pearl discs, hanging over the dining table. A gift from Adam after the birth of their daughter Grace, the lamp is a reminder of a special weekend Suzanne and Adam spent in Copenhagen. For his part, Adam's own favourite piece is a less nostalgic, more functional and comfortable item (!!) - 'without a doubt, Adam would say the Jardan couch in the living room is his favourite thing!' says Suzanne!
What is clearly evident here is the careful balance Suzanne has managed to strike between a precise and polished finish, and a relaxed family home. Despite it's designer details, Suzanne and Adam's home is, at heart, a robust, functional space for their growing family. 'I love the feel of the house' she says. 'It’s fun and informal, and perfectly suits our young family and the way we live. There is nothing too precious here. I’m a big believer that you should always use your good stuff!'. Hear hear!
Massive thanks to Suzanne and family for sharing their home with us today!