The Emery Family

When I first stepped inside the beautiful home of Jo and John Emery and their daughters Alice (20 yrs) and Millicent (18 yrs) in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Brighton, it felt warm, friendly and even a little familiar.

That’s because Jo, who spent her early career working as an interiors stylist, has a passion for local art and design, and her home is a joyful showcase of many of the Australian artists and design brands we, too, have championed over the last few years. We LOVE that.

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

Lounge room. Skye Jardan modular lounge. Artwork to right by Rachel CastlePhoto – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Jo Emery at home. Sandstone clad fireplace by Eco Stone. Rug by Loom. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Humphrey in the kitchen! Floors by Royal Oak. Painting by Laura Jones. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen detail. Light by ArtemidePhoto – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen. ‘I love this kitchen. It is extra wide, which means that people can stand and talk without it getting crowded,’ says Jo. ‘Iva Foschia of IF Architecture incorporated lots of open shelves for easy access, she tells me that usually clients ask for hidden storage to hide mess, but I like having things on display.’ Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area. Table by Jardan. Chairs by Thonet. Luxembourg Bar Trolley. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Brighton home of the Emery family. Informal dining room. Table and chairs Jardan. Wall lights Artemide Tolomeo. ‘This room has big sliding doors which open up to a long outdoor paved area. We entertain a lot and open up the doors, so it turns into an extension of the outdoor area in summer. At other times, it is an area to read the papers, or a place for the kids to study,’ says Jo. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Millicent’s bedroom. Jardan bed with quilt by Penelope Durston of Cottage Industry, and bed linen by Castle. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom details. Hand stamped spanish tiles add a textural detail. ‘Heaps of storage was incorporated into the bathrooms to accommodate our teenage girl needs!’ mentions Jo. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Outdoor courtyard. Outdoor setting by Robert Plumb. Photo – Annette O’Brien. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
27th of July 2016

The Emery family have moved house a lot. ‘I’ve never been afraid of change’ says Jo Emery, something she says she has inherited from her father. ‘I think each house has given me a chance to express a different style and aesthetic. Most of our other homes have been period houses. This is my favourite’.

The house, built in the late 1960s, is in a small, pretty court, the kind of leafy suburban street where you know all your neighbours names. It was the location, morea than the house itself, which initially drew Jo and her husband to the property.

‘I know this is cliched, but the house was an ugly duckling when bought it’ recalls Jo. Its best feature was an abundance of natural light, but beyond this, the space was in need of some serious love when the Emery family purchased it just over four years ago. Luckily, they found just the person for the job!

Jo and John approached local architect Iva Foschia of IF Architecture to rework the floorplan, and give the space a contemporary update. ‘I love Iva’s light touch, and her very sophisticated yet approachable style’ say Jo. The whole family moved out for eight months while the house was gutted and a new extension added.

Jo has taken great delight in decorating her home with work by many local artists and creatives she admires. One particularly treasured piece is a truly exquisite Laura Jones painting which hangs pride of place in the kitchen. ‘I can’t go past the Laura Jones painting’ Jo says. ‘It is a beautiful piece, and I’d love to collect more of her work’.

Other favourite investments include artworks and linen by Rachel Castle, and a number of pieces of furniture by Melbourne brand Jardan. ’Obviously, I have a bit of a love affair with this brand’ Jo says, a little sheepishly! ‘What I like about Jardan is the unique Australian style, it fits perfectly with our lifestyle, and blends beautifully with older family heirloom pieces.’

Though she has taken great joy in pulling together a beautiful home here, Jo has a refreshingly relaxed approach to home decoration. First and foremost, it’s about a feeling. ‘It has always been important to me to create a warm and welcoming home that our family and friends want to spend time in’ she says, thoughtfully. ‘I don’t want to sound like a tosser, but I’d like to think that the house isn’t about bold statements, but speaks quietly and says ‘welcome’.

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