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William and Johanna White


The home of William and Johanna White in Brunswick Heads on the North Coast of NSW is a unique Australian coastal home!

Occupying two floors above their well-loved local antique furniture and bric a brac shop Fabulous Mrs Fox, the house is full of eclectic details and unexpected treasures sourced from the couple’s travels in South America.

13th July, 2016
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 13th July 2016

It doesn’t look it, but the home of William and Johanna White in Brunswick Heads was built just five years ago. The pair designed the space themselves, inspired by time spent in Argentina. ‘We lived in Argentina for 2 years and bought back doors, flooring, windows and furniture’ Johanna explains.

Johanna and William are collectors. Like so many creative shopkeepers, their home is always changing with the things found on their travels. Their home incorporates vintage and architectural details found whilst sourcing items for their store, Fabulous Mrs Fox, alongside an incredible collection of antique furniture, mirrors, artwork and chandelier lighting. ‘We love so many of the pieces in our home, many hold sentimental value as they are things we have found while travelling’ Johanna mentions.

The home comprises a generous open plan living, dining and kitchen areas adjoining a front balcony overlooking the main street. Beyond this, a decidedly regal master bedroom with juliet balcony overlooks the back courtyard garden, whilst on the top floor is a teenagers’ retreat and roof garden, overflowing with lush foliage and palm fronds. Each space, both inside and out, is layered  with different decorative finishes – a wonderful mish mash of recycled timber panelling, faux pressed metal ceilings, encaustic tiles, ornate wallpaper, patterned floral carpet (shouldn’t work but looks SO great here!), rugs and soft furnishings.

The use of antique Argentinian doors, windows and shutters throughout lends a certain mystique to this house – it’s the type of space that is impossible to date or locate. With its Italianate details and generally over-the-top aesthetic, this certainly doesn’t feel like a typical relaxed Australian beach-side home!

Though they’ve travelled the world over, Johanna and William love the sleepy town they call home. ‘There’s so much to love about Brunswick Heads, we can’t go past the serene nature of this idyllic seaside town’.

The sitting room of William and Johanna White. We love the handpainted words layered over the patterned wallpaper.  Photo – Eve Wilson. 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