Kylie Zerbst and Simon Murray have lived in this house for TWELVE YEARS. However, up until just before their son Orlo was born, they had made only fairly minor changes to the house. Around 3 years ago, though, whilst Kylie was heavily pregnant, ‘EXTREME nesting mode’ kicked in!
‘We started planning a new kitchen/living space while I was pregnant’ recalls Kylie. ‘We are pretty hands on in general, and have renovated all of the Obus stores ourselves, so making the changes at home was no different’ she says. Simon’s Dad helped with big things, like knocking out walls. Though she says she can think of loads of things she probably should have been doing while heavily pregnant (‘like resting’) Kylie got involved, loading as many bricks as she could muster, ordering materials and organising all the finer details. For his part, Simon pretty much laid a new timber floor single handedly!
Although they dreamed of a brand new kitchen, Kylie and Simon ran out of steam by the time Orlo came along, so once the floor was finished, it was another year and half before their new kitchen/dining space came to fruition. It was worth the wait! It’s a gorgeous open plan space combining salvaged cabinets from the original 1950’s kitchen, new cabinetry from IKEA, subway tiles and handmade benchtops.
‘Simon and I think very differently – he can imagine things fully finished, whereas I make decisions along the way’ says Kylie. Consequently, she says, working together can be a little stressful at times, but it always works out in the wash! ‘We’d love to renovate the back of the house – bring the laundry inside, fix up the bathroom, and open up the back of the house to the garden – but will have to let the stress levels even out for a while first!’
Many of Kylie and Simon’s most treasured possessions are pieces they have traded with other local artists and designers. ‘So much work goes into creating and designing every piece of the Obus collections, and to be able to trade a little piece of that for a piece of somebody else’s hard work and creativity is pretty cool’ says Kylie. One particularly special trade is the huge and amazing Kirra Jamison painting in the dining room – a piece Kylie says will always be very special, particularly as it was delivered in the hazy, blissful week just after Orlo was born.
When asked to describe her general aesthetic, Kylie is hard to pin down! ‘I’m a Gemini, and have a very mixed aesthetic!’ she says. ‘I love modernism, I love clean and practical, but I also love LOADS of colour and pattern, and things that have a history. The house is a mixture of all of these things.’
This week Kylie has JUST opened a brand new Obus store on Lygon St in Brunswick East (literally YESTERDAY!), if you’re a fan of her quirky, colourful aesthetic and/or just generally a fan of lovely local retailers (who isn’t?), do pop in, and say we sent you!