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 Photographer + Art Director’s Alistair Knox Home

Photographer Sean Fennessy, and art director Jessica Lillico's heart-warming Warrandyte family home.

Homes

Poppy Garbin + Scott Gibson Of Pop And Scott’s Dromana Dream Home

The renovated '80s home of Scott Gibson and Poppy Garbin, founders of Pop and Scott.

Homes

A Stylist’s Charming Country Home

The Willunga family home of stylist and Read&Hall co-owner Emma Read.

This Week

On The Market

A Santorini-Style Oasis (And One Of Our Fave Ever Homes) Is On The Market!

Artist Phoebe Rolleston’s architect-designed, breezy family home in Glen Iris, Melbourne is for sale. And we are so jealous of the new own...

News

An Online Fundraiser Featuring Work By 100+ Local Artists!

The annual B-Side art sale by artist-run, not-for-profit gallery Blindside is back to raise money for the arts community, this year featurin...
Sasha Aarons
1.50

One Room Wonders

A Contemporary Chic Bedroom Makeover

A gorgeous, achievable room transformation - in partnership with Surround by Laminex.

On The Market

An Iconic Melbourne Art Family’s Richmond Home Is For Sale

The family of beloved artist Mirka Mora are selling their contemporary, multi-level home, featuring a pool-with-a-view!

Architecture

A Remarkable Reworking Of A Humble Gold Coast Shack

ME Architects have extraordinarily reworked and extended this humble 1970s Gold Coast home.
44:00

Podcast

The Unconventional Career Path Of Interior Designer Yasmine Ghoniem Of YSG Studio, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, host Lucy Feagins talks to the founder of YSG Studio and so-hot-right-now visionary leading the Australian int...

News

A Glamorous New Range Of Matte + Metallic Mixers

New additions to Phoenix Tapware’s popular Designer Sink Mixers collection will complement every element in your home.
Sponsored

Shopping

An Epic Collaboration Between Two Local Icons, David Bromley + Review!

David Bromley collaborates with much loved local fashion label Review on a colourful new collection of apparel and accessories.

Stays

A Contemporary Reimagining of Robin Boyd’s Fenner House

Las Palmas by DUO Architects in association with Davis Architects is a Byron Bay hinterland home inspired by the owner's upbringing in Robin...

Creative People

Building A Family Legacy On Local Manufacturing, With Abode Living

Creative director Amelia Marasco Adair takes us on a tour of the company's Camberwell HQ - featuring their production warehouse, offices +

Homes

A Photographer + Art Director’s Alistair Knox Home

Photographer Sean Fennessy, and art director Jessica Lillico's heart-warming Warrandyte mid-century family home, designed by Alistair Knox!

Shopping

Nau Releases 2021 Australian-Made Furniture Collection

Cult’s in-house Australian-made furniture and lighting brand, Nau, releases it 2021 collection designed by Adam Goodrum, Kate Stokes, Adam...

A Longer Read

Design-Led Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Is Not New

Jirra Lulla Harvey - Koorie woman, First Nations business strategist, and judge of the TDF + Laminex Design Awards Collaboration category ...
Jirra Lulla Harvey
  14 hours ago

Studio Visit

P0LY Designs : The Ultimate Pandemic Pivot Project

How Lara Fisher and Andy Kepitis turned their lockdown hobby into full-time business!

TDF Design Awards

ANNOUNCING The Winners Of The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

Last night we announced the winners and commended projects in the TDF + Laminex 2021 Design Awards in our online awards ceremony! Drum roll
Lucy Feagins
  22 hours ago

Similar Stories

Homes

A Photographer + Art Director’s Alistair Knox Home

Photographer Sean Fennessy, and art director Jessica Lillico's heart-warming Warrandyte family home.

Homes

Poppy Garbin + Scott Gibson Of Pop And Scott’s Dromana Dream Home

The renovated '80s home of Scott Gibson and Poppy Garbin, founders of Pop and Scott.

Homes

A Stylist’s Charming Country Home

The Willunga family home of stylist and Read&Hall co-owner Emma Read.

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.