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Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran


11th June, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 11th June 2014


The East Melbourne apartment of artists Rowena Martinich and her husband Geoffrey Carran. Fud coffee table from Fenton&Fenton, Martinich&Carran Joseph Banksii Cushion, Moroccan embroidered cushions, 'Jarrosite' painting by Rowena Martinich, Dulux 'Tansy' on wall behind couch. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Martinich&Carran handpainted ceramics, reclaimed messmate dining table by Geoffrey Carran, chairs from Exhibit, coffee table from Fenton&Fenton. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Martinich&Carran hand painted ceramics. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Cockatoo painting by Geoffrey Carran, chairs from Exhibit.  Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Rowena, Geoffrey and their beloved dog Captain, at home in East Melbourne. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

An INCREDIBLY long time ago I first met Melbourne artist Rowena Martinich, at a trade fair in Melbourne.  I think it was 2008.  What struck me was Rowena's incredible way with vivid colour - she was the neon queen long before the fluoro trend found its way into seemingly every weekend magazine feature!  Since that first meeting, I've watched from afar as Rowena has built an incredible following both here and abroad for her vibrant work, as she has staged exhibitions, created large scale wall murals and public commissions, and partnered with now husband Geoffrey Carran on a range of handcrafted homewares under the name Martinich&Carran. SO it's with great excitement that we share Rowena and Geoffrey's home with you today!

Rowena and Geoffrey split their time between this colourful little apartment in East Melbourne, and a house and studio space in Jan Juc on Victoria's surf coast.  This arrangement seems to suit them both perfectly - they both love the surf, and enjoy the calm, uninterrupted time spent in their beachside home and studio spaces, but equally appreciate the flexibility afforded by their sweet and very central pied-à-terre.

Surrounded by leafy trees in a large apartment complex on the edges of Melbourne's CBD, Rowena and Geoffrey's apartment is surprisingly tranquil. 'We love how we are so close to the city but its really quiet and tucked away' says Rowena.  The pair appreciate the lush foliage which envelope their second floor balcony - 'Geoffrey loves watching the seasonal change in the trees' Rowena says.  The apartment is also drenched in incredible natural light thanks to the northern orientation of the space.

The splashes of vibrant colour throughout this apartment will probably come as no surprise to fans of Rowena or Geoffrey's artwork.  However, this space wasn't always quite so bold!  'Originally this place was cream on cream' recalls Rowena - 'cream Carpet, skirtings, doors and walls'.  Keen to freshen up the space and inject some much needed colour, Rowena jumped at the opportunity to offer her apartment as a location for the Dulux 2014 colour forecast - the perfect excuse to repaint!  The apartment was used for one of the Dulux photoshoots which also featured Rowena's artwork, and gave Rowena and Geoffrey the perfect opportunity to repaint the whole space.

'After the photoshoot, we decided to keep the 'Dulux Tansy' colour block in the living room, as it creates another dimension within the space' says Rowena. 'It really complements the greys in the couch and carpet, and picks up on some of the multitude of colours in my paintings'.  Alongside this bold featured hue, the pair used  vivid white to capitalise on the natural light, and emphasise the lofty high ceilings of the apartment.

Aside from their own artwork which seems to embellish almost every surface, Geoffrey and Rowena have also designed and made a lot of the furniture and other homewares you see here from scratch.  Both the sideboard/bookcase and dining table were purpose built by Geoffrey for the space, and the home is also peppered with beautiful pieces including cushions and hand painted ceramics from the pairs' homewares collaboration, Martinich&Carran.

Huge thanks to Rowena and Geoffrey for sharing their gorgeous city apartment with us today!  If you love their home, please take a moment to visit each of their websites, and learn a little more about both their solo and collaborative creative endeavours!


Living room details.  Dulux 'Tansy' on wall behind couch. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


The Melbourne Home of Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran. "Hotstepper" painting by Geoffrey Carran. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Reclaimed messmate sideboard by Geoffrey Carran, hand painted vintage rose cutout and "Livewire" painting by Geoffrey Carran. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


"Major Mitchell" painting by Geoffrey Carrran, Linen by Feliz, Rachel Castle and Fictional Objects, Lamp Kartel. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Old Masters" painting by Arite Kannavos, Moroccan Rug from the Atlas Mountains, Karlstad chair from Exhibit, hand painted surfboard by Geoffrey Carran. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


Martinich&Carran Joseph Banksii Cushion, Captain by the stairs. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.


The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email