This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Bruten Family

Homes

We feature Australian homes of all shapes and sizes, but I can safely say today is the first time we’ve featured the home of a family of seven!

This bright and cheerful home in East Malvern belongs to Ruth Bruten (aka Gourmet Girlfriend) her husband Guy, and their five boys Jasper (17), Max (15), Oscar (12), Gus (9) and Archie (7).  It’s bold, and bright and full of creative energy!

30th September, 2015

The East Malvern Home
-

The East Malvern Home of the Bruten family.  Above – family kitchen, including vintage French tin sign from Camberwell market, Milk Bar sign from Waverley Antique Bazaar,  hand turned candlestick and bowl on kitchen bench made by Guy. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Second kitchenette.
-

(This kitchen is in the newly renovated part of the home, and is especially for use by teenage kids!). Marc Newson dish rack from Top3 by design. Roadside salvaged kitchen bench, hand turned wooden bowl on kitchen bench by Guy. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen
-

Ruth’s trademark clogs (these ones by Marimekko) beside pantry door. Handmade Turkish ‘Seeing Eye’ wall hanging above door was a gift from Ruth’s mother on a recent trip to Turkey. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

A view from the living area to music studio. Wooden flooring was made using timber boards that were salvaged from one of the outdoor sheds, ON AIR light form Empirical Style, banjo stand handcrafted by Ruth’s brother. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Music studio
-

All five of Ruth’s children play instruments and music is a huge part of their lives,  so building a space for them to play (and to house the various instruments) was a really important addition to the family home. Ruth designed wall bracketing to house some of her LP collections on display. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Ruth standing in front of her new three metre sliding shed door in her back garden, which she made from recycled timber. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom
-

Necklace board made by Ruth,  fiddle leaf fig tree from Julian Ronchi Garden Design. Salvaged doors found by Ruth’s builder. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom detail
-

‘Love’ sign by Queensland artist Alan James, bed linen by Bedouin Societe and Kip & Co. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kids' bedroom details
-

TinTin wall mural by Ruth (one of 5 murals around the house). All other art by her son Gus. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kids Bathroom
-

Little clay treasures made by Ruth’s children. Each child also has a Rob Ryan tile dedicated to them. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Archie's bedroom nook
-

Original cast iron bed which once belonged to Ruth, now belongs to Archie. Washi tape love heart above bed made by Ruth. All other art by Archie. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 30th September 2015

Keeping a happy house humming along with five growing lads all under one roof is no mean feat. Ruth Bruten makes it look easy! The house she shares with husband Guy and their five boys is bright and beautiful, full of life and love and creative chaos.

The Bruten family home started life as a typical Melbourne three bedroom red brick Californian bungalow, built in 1924. It was in original, quite rundown condition when Ruth and Guy bought the house at auction 8 years ago.

‘It had not been touched since it was built’ recalls Ruth. ‘I could see past the holy floors that were like trampolines, and the musty carpets and dark rooms – admittedly this was more of a challenge for Guy, but he encouraged me to go for it and trusted me to make it into something we would love’.

Tight on both time and budget in the early years after purchasing the property, Ruth and Guy’s initial renovation simply involved the removal of one interior wall to make a large combined dining/kitchen/lounge room. Their family (then with 4 kids) squished into the 3 bedrooms and that was that. The family happily lived like this until 2 years ago, when a long overdue extension was finally added on.

‘The timing was perfect, as all of a sudden our 3 eldest children were adult sized (towering over me!) – and squeezing 5 children into two bedrooms was proving to be very tricky indeed!’ says Ruth.

The addition inside and out was designed entirely by Ruth, right down to the very last fitting, though she was supported by a wonderful builder (Damian Cox). ‘I wanted to make the addition a part of the original home, with connections to the old building – but we also wanted it’s design to stand alone’ Ruth says. Incorporating a new living / rumpus room, second kitchenette, music room and two new bedrooms, the extension has almost doubled the footprint of the home.

Ruth is not only a major foodie (as you know if you read her blog!), she’s also a keen creative, as is evident in the various creative flourishes seen all around her home. In her spare time she makes ceramics (not sure where she finds any ‘spare time’ at all!) and she is also great at salvaging and restoring second hand furniture and materials.

‘The thing I love most about living here is that my favourite people in all the world are here with me, and that we get to live in a house that reflects the things that we find important’ says Ruth, when asked what she loves most about her home. ‘This home really is living document of our family – it is messy, it is cluttered with objects that tell our story, it is full of colour, it is full of people, it doesn’t always make sense, and it is filled with the happy noise of life being lived.’

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney.

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Phi Do and Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Homes

This Rustic Melbourne Apartment Is A Zen Retreat From Inner-City Life

Loui Burke has created the perfect rustic retreat in the heart of a bustling CBD.

This Week

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.

Architecture

A Colourful Extension Inspired By Clinker Bricks

Wowowa’s Presto House is a vivid and respectful addition to a 1930s art deco home made from 'clinker' bricks.
Sasha Gattermayr
  20 hours ago

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

Food

Julia's Irresistible Double Chocolate + Tahini Brownies

Is there anything more irresistible than a brownie? We think not! Especially Julia's, which come with double the chocolate, and a nutty swir...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Art

Artist Cressida Campbell Is Finally Getting The Spotlight She Deserves

A new exhibition at the NGA brings together more than 140 works from the artist's life and unique practice.

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Gardens

A Hawthorn Home Enveloped In Dreamy, Layered Gardens

This new family home is brought to life with lush gardens designed by Peachy Green – reminiscent of a flowering ‘woody meadow’!
Christina Karras

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Shopping

8 Local Creatives Making Furniture That Doubles As Art

Meet our favourite designers and makers pushing the limits of traditional furniture with their sculptural and striking pieces!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney.

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Phi Do and Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Homes

This Rustic Melbourne Apartment Is A Zen Retreat From Inner-City Life

Loui Burke has created the perfect rustic retreat in the heart of a bustling CBD.

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 bea@thedesignfiles.net