The decision to settle in Brunswick was what Veronica Kent calls a ‘reverse sea change’. After living in Byron Bay for years, the family made the move to Melbourne 10 years ago. ’As idyllic as the life and landscape was in Byron, we were craving a more diverse creative culture for us as artists, and for the girl’s high-school and uni years’ Veronica explains.
A run-down Victorian weatherboard workers cottage was the only home in Brunswick the family could afford at the time. Veronica and Scott could see the potential of this dilapidated gem, and found themselves especially drawn to the layout – a single fronted terrace on a double block, allowing a strong indoor / outdoor connection. ‘Once we opened the house up to the gardens, with lots of louvres and French doors, we were able to recreate a bit of a North Coast indoor/outdoor life-lived-on-the-balcony sensibility’ Veronica enthuses.
The pair rebuilt the house over an intense 4 months soon after taking possession, doing most of the work themselves, with help from a builder friend. Retaining the existing roofline, Scott and Veronica united a motley crew of lean-tos that had been tacked on over the years. The original three room cottage at the front of the block was cleaned up with new floors and freshly painted walls, whilst the back of the house was completely reconfigured, and opened up to create a generous open plan kitchen, dining, and living area, alongside an additional study, bedroom and art studio.
The home envelopes a lush central courtyard, over which presides a glorious sprawling fig tree. With french doors on all sides, this relaxed outdoor area functions as an additional living space in the warmer months. ‘I love our home’s relationship to the outside’ Veronica says.
Veronica and Scott’s aesthetic is effortless and relaxed. Nothing here appears forced or overly considered. The furniture is a mix of hand-me downs, hard rubbish finds and props from Veronica’s past exhibitions – in fact, the only things the family have purchased new are a set of Thonet stools and the couch! Not surprisingly, the home is also filled with a great variety of artwork. There are countless paintings and experimentations by Veronica, alongside pieces by artist friends, such as Sarah CrowEST, Sean Peoples, Ben Ross and Laith Mcgregor.
When asked to describe her home’s distinctive aesthetic, Veronica is thoughtful. ‘I don’t know how to answer this… it’s a working house’ she says. ‘Things move around a lot and rooms are repurposed depending on what’s happening at the time… on any given day there is usually a band practising, someone studying, a group of teenagers lounging, a friend from out of town staying and me at work in my studio or hiding out the back reading a book and, happily, it all seems to work.’