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Helen Gory


Helen Gory ran a respected commercial art gallery in Prahran for 20 years before closing her business in 2013 to concentrate on other projects (and her grandkids!).

Her renovated Victorian cottage in Elsternwick is a refined, pared back space which showcases many of her favourite Australian artists.

29th June, 2016
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 29th June 2016

Artist and former gallerist Helen Gory bought her Victorian home in Elsternwick in 2014. A year later, she undertook major renovations, with the help of her carpenter friend James Greenwood. The lounge room and dining room were opened up, turning the rear of the home into an open-plan space, whilst the kitchen and laundry were completely redesigned. The bathroom was gutted and re-built too, incorporating the most amazing little bucket-shaped tub – the perfect bathing solution when space is at a premium!

Helen’s only concern after buying the house was a lack of North facing windows, a problem she tackled by installing a number of skylights, which really transformed the feel of the house. ‘The best thing I did was to put in north facing skylights along the hallway’ she says. ‘With the original Victorian cornices and skirting, it feels rather cathedral-esque with high ceilings and lots of natural light all day.’ Additionally, in the lounge and dining rooms, existing windows were replaced with french doors, allowing airflow and a connection with the outdoors.

Lastly, the home’s 125 year old timber floorboards were polished with black Japanese lacquer – so bold and dramatic!

Helen’s great passions in life are art, and her family, and her house has been designed around both. Her handcrafted timber dining table, designed by a friend, is roomy enough to fit all her children, grandchildren and friends, and is one of her favourite places to be.

Her MOST favourite thing in the house, though, is the artwork. 95% of Helen’s personal art collection hangs floor to ceiling in her long hallway (sadly this made it quite difficult to photograph in its entirety!) ‘I collected each piece over the 20 years I was running my gallery, each has its own story and fond memories’ she says.

‘I love the long hallway that houses 95% of my art collection. It’s salon hung, and works a treat. People are always amazed at how well it works.’ – Helen

Helen is also very fond of the classic Victorian exterior of her home (pictured below). ‘I love the front entrance, the garden, the gate and the porch’ she says. ‘I feel like my house smiles to me every time I come home.’

Helen outside her home with her daughter Sarah. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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