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Best of Australian Homes 2014 · Alice and Lucy Oehr


Today we’re revisiting another of our favourite Melbourne Homes of this year – a sweet Abbotsford cottage lovingly renovated by two hardworking sisters, which we originally ran back in April.  This quaint, colourful little pad is home to graphic designer / illustrator Alice Oehr and her sister, Lucy, who is completing her Masters in neuropsychology at Melbourne Uni.

24th December, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 24th December 2014

Alice Oehr and Lucy Oehr are in their twenties, and rent their home from their parents, who originally purchased the two bedroom property in late 2011.  After taking possession, these girls worked SO HARD to turn a dilapidated shell of a house into a cheerful little home – an incredible DIY renovation which they documented in an amazing blog – scroll back to Day 1 for maximum effect (its not for the faint hearted!).

‘Our poor home was in a bit of a sorry state when we first came across it’ recalls Alice. Luckily, uni had just concluded for the summer at the time the property settled, so Lucy and Alice had three whole months up their sleeves to spend in Hard Yakka overalls, doing the hard yakka required to bring their future home to a liveable standard.  ‘We spent 8.00am – 6.00pm (almost) every day that summer giving it a major overhaul’ says Alice.  Amongst other things, this involved removing plasterboard with a crowbar, sugar soaping tobacco stained walls, replacing rotten floors and weatherboards, demolishing random unsightly outhouses in the concrete backyard, re-building walls and ceilings from scratch, and painting throughout. A carpenter friend was called in to rebuild a new floor in the kitchen and to move the toilet from the outhouse into the bathroom.

With the help of friends and family, Alice and Lucy completely turned their home around.  It’s pretty incredible just how much this industrous pair (plus a steady stream of handy assistants!) managed to achieve in just three months that summer. By January 2012, Alice and Lucy had laid out their favourite black and white checkerboard lino in the kitchen and bathroom, re-tiled the bathroom and installed a brand new kitchen.  In early February, Alice painted the front door a carefully selected shade of deep forest green, whilst their Mum proudly hung handmade curtains in both bedrooms.  In late February, finally, it was time to move in!

For the full story on Alice and Oehr’s gorgeous little home and the incredible renovation they undertook together, POP BACK and revisit the original post here!

Living room detail. Artwork above fireplace (cropped) by Keiichi Tanaami, doll cushion by Nathalie L’ete from Ganim Store, cat & pot plant in fireplace, both from Alice and Lucy’s grandma, glass dish on table is Iittala. Photo – Eve Wilson, Production – Lucy / 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