Eve and I recently had a crazy week in Brisbane and Byron Bay photographing a bunch of beautiful homes – we do love a change of scenery! The first home we’re sharing from this trip is that of tapestry weaver Rose Jensen-Holm and her husband Dan James, music producer and singer in the band Drawn From Bees. The couple have lived in their sweet little weatherboard cottage on a steep hill in Brisbane’s Red Hill since 2004.
The home is owned by Dan’s parents, who live in Sydney. Rose explains that Dan’s parents were looking to purchase an investment home right around the same time she and Dan were ready to move in together. ‘As they lived in Sydney we did most of the groundwork, and looked for months at properties’ explains Rose. ‘After obsessively searching for a long time, I just happened to go online only an hour after our house was listed, we went to see it that same night and the next day Dan’s parents had signed the papers. It was one of the scariest thing I had ever done, I was twenty four and I had no idea what questions to ask or what to look for. I guess Dan’s parents had faith in us because it was a fantastic buy in a great area’.
It’s always interesting to see how home decorating trends differ from state to state. Like many homes in Brisbane, this quaint little weatherboard cottage is lined with beautiful timber ‘VJ’ lining boards, which provide the perfect backdrop for Rose and Dan’s sweet edit of vintage furniture, Turkish rugs, artwork and textiles. ‘The house had amazing bones when we first found it, we’ve just had to make a few superficial changes in the last 10 years’ says Rose.
For Brisbane, this is a small block at 297m2, with 3 modest little bedrooms, one of which is set up as Rose’s weaving studio, and the other Dan’s music room and study. ‘It’s perfect for my husband and I, we wanted a cosy house with an open plan sense of space that was easy to maintain’ Rose explains.
Though the house has required little maintenance over the years, Rose and Dan did invest in updating their rear deck, and painting the outside of the house a mid grey with charcoal accents and white trimmings. The front verandah was also painted with a gloss charcoal to give it a fresh modern feel that is easy to maintain.
There is very little ‘new’ in Rose and Dan’s home. Rose is a champion vintage fossickers and op-shopper, although she says her usual rule is to only bring objects in to the house if she absolutely loves them.
One particularly favourite second hand find is a huge mid century oil painting Rose found at St Vinnies a few years ago. ‘I was looking for a big canvas to paint over, as I wanted something to hang above the couch, so it needed to be fairly big. I saw this painting and the frame was fantastic, professionally built and all that so I thought yes! I can use this and it’s the perfect size. Once I got over all the excitement of a good op shop find, I finally noticed how beautiful the actual painting was! I ran back to work, borrowed $45 (!!) from my boss and carried that giant sucker down the street to the shop where I work. Once I got back to work I realised someone had tried to paint over some writing on the back of the frame, which read: Deliver to: Government House Brisbane/Donated to Mrs Bjelke-Petersen Welfare Committee Art Exhibition-1970. I was so excited I could almost burst’. Needless to say, this piece is now Rose’s pride and joy, and its depiction of shelving with turn of the century pottery mirrors her own beautiful vintage pottery collection displayed nearby.
Many factors make living here special for Rose and Dan. They are surrounded by lovely cafes and local creative shops in the Red Hill / Paddington area, and love to ride their bikes along the many neighbouring bike tracks. ‘The biggest reason I love living here, though, is that we were married out in the back garden not long after we first moved in’ says Rose. ‘We tied the knot in our new home surrounded by our family and friends, it doesn’t get much better than that’.