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Amanda Lynn and Leon Levine

Homes

The North Melbourne home of interior designer Amanda Lynn and her husband Leon Levine is a richly layered space, distinctive for its bold use of colour.

Inspired by her South African heritage, along with a nostalgic nod to the 1970s, Amanda has employed a dramatic colour and materials palette here, to striking effect.

 

6th April, 2016

Kitchen details. ‘Howzaat’ neon artwork by Jon Campbell. Abstract painting by Sally Gabori. ‘The colour palette of this work was the inspiration for the whole house,’ says Amanda. Photo – Annette O’brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area. The graphic panels hide doors to the pantry – Amanda had the mural commissioned by local sign writer and artist Ray Carter to create visual interest and height in the space.  ‘Howzaat’ neon artwork by Jon Campbell. Chairs from Thonet. Dining table designed by Amanda. Two artworks just visible in hallway by Barbara Kitallides. Whisk light by Hermon and Hermon. Black rubber sports flooring. Photo – Annette O’brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room. Sofas by Arthur G. Artwork above small revolving bookcase by Rick Amor, and lemon sculpture from Italy. ‘The wall of green Boston Ivy creates beautiful shadows and light,’ says Amanda. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room. Large artwork on wall by Rick Amor. Sculpture of Ham the chimpanzee by Lisa Roet. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The North Melbourne home of interior designer Amanda Lynn, her husband Leon Levine (a lawyer), and their much loved cats  Buster and Ting! Above – Living room. Artwork from left to right by Rick Amor, Mary Pitjara, and Mitjili Napurrula. Revolving bookcase is an early Australian piece, bought by Amanda from an auction many years ago. Sofa from Arthur G and Jielde yellow lamp. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sitting room. Artwork of Mischa, the couple’s first cat, by Robin Metcalfe. Swing lights by Artemide. ‘The clever bookcase design incorporates a comfy window seat, a favourite of our cats Ting and Buster, as it captures the morning light,’ mentions Amanda. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Painting of Mischa the cat by Robin Metcalfe. Other artworks by Jo Sabey and Pieter van der Westhuizen. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Main Bedroom. Another small revolving Georgian bookcase is used as bedside table. Swingarm lamps from Euroluce. Painting by Thomas Tjapaltjarri. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom. Early Georgian revolving bookcase used as a bedside table. Lights from Euroluce. Painting by Thomas Tjapaltjarri. ‘We love the door out to balcony where we have our morning coffee while keeping an eye on the time on the clocktower of the North Melbourne Town Hall,’ says Amanda. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 6th April 2016

Interior designer Amanda Lynn and her husband, Leon Levine, a lawyer, have a rule about the types of properties they buy together. They never like to buy a ‘conventional’ house. They’re much more interested in seeking out unexpected properties – industrial spaces, warehouses or shopfronts which offer a blank canvas, and present an opportunity to create a truly unique home together. Their home of the past six years in North Melbourne is one such property.

Originally, this house was part of a sawtooth warehouse, built in the late 19th century, and used as a storage facility for stalls at the nearby Queen Victoria market. In the 1980s, the warehouse was divided into four commercial premises – when they took possession, Amanda and Leon’s property was occupied by a trade union office. At the time, the place was covered in stained blue floral carpet and broken grey office partitioning!

The pair completely gutted the interior of the property, creating what is now effectively a two bedroom contemporary terrace house. ‘Our main aim in rebuilding was to create a series of flexible spaces that would allow the house to be used as a studio or offices or a family home, and to introduce as much natural light and ventilation as possible’ explains Amanda. ‘Our beyond awesome architects, Brenton Weisert, Kirsty Fletcher and Giles Lawson from The RexRoth Mannasman Collective created space where there was none. The elegance and cleverness of their conversion continues to amaze us’.

Of course, as a designer herself, Amanda has also taken great delight in furnishing and decorating her home with her own distinctive handwriting. ‘I had always wanted to try to design a black house, but it was not something I could easily sell to a client, so I knew I had to be my own guinea pig’ she says! The rich colour and materials palette here is in part, inspired by Amanda and Leon’s South African heritage. ‘I think if you knew we were both born in Africa you would pick those references, but I have also installed items that pay homage to the 70’s, as that has always been my favourite design era’ she explains.

Amanda and Leon are passionate art collectors, and are very fond of their eclectic art collection. Favourite pieces including the sculpture of ‘Ham’ the chimpanzee by Australian artist Lisa Roet, as well as the striking Mitjili Napurrula painting (hanging in the living room, to the right of the sofa) – a very special birthday gift from Leon to Amanda.

The sense of community in North Melbourne is something Amanda truly cherishes. ‘We share the produce of our herb and veggie gardens with our neighbours, and the neighbourhood cats and kids all drop in to each others’ houses, creating a very vibrant environment’ Amanda says. In this street alone, nine different nationalities dwell within six adjacent houses, so the neighbours are always celebrating some festival or tradition together – the United Nations is alive and well in North Melbourne!

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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