The unassuming door at the top of the warehouse stairs of Mary and Graham Ede’s Townsville, North Queensland home gives no hint to the huge space and explosion of colour that lies beyond. Bright and welcoming, the beautifully renovated warehouse style apartment brings together a variety of furniture styles, found objects, and original artworks to create a unique space that speaks volumes about the creative couple who live here.
Designer Mary and events hire business owner Graham moved here nine years ago, after deciding to downsize from their seven bedroom Queenslander. ‘Our five children had all toddled off in different directions, and Graham and I found ourselves living alone in this massive home with a huge yard to look after,’ says Mary. So the couple decided to make use of a neglected ‘80s style apartment which happened to be sitting empty above one of Graham’s business premises.
The building, purchased by the Edes 20 years ago, was originally an old cordial factory, built in the 1960s. ‘Much of this space used to be old offices, from when the factory was in production’ Mary explains. ‘We pulled a few walls out, stripped out all the old rooms, painted the entire place and laid solid oak timber flooring throughout the apartment.’
The home is perfectly convenient for the couple, with Graham’s business occupying the warehouse space downstairs, and Mary’s own design studio next door. ‘I put my work outfit on in the morning and take my cup of tea and handbag across the hall to work in the studio. You certainly won’t hear me complaining about the traffic!’ says Mary with a laugh.
A renowned local fashion designer, Mary owns The Skirt, where she designs and oversees the creation of handmade skirts that are objects of art in themselves. The creative artist gene is strong in the Ede family, with most of the couple’s children also in creative work. This artistic influence is seen throughout Mary and Graham’s home, which is strewn with artwork by family and creative friends. ‘I love that I can incorporate pieces like this into our home, they are more than just beautiful, they reflect our journey and tell the story of our lives,’ says Mary.
The apartment is also overflowing with Mary’s endless collections of pottery, ceramics, artworks and soft furnishings. Asked what influences her decorating choices, Mary cites her 37 years in the arts, but also, the conversations she has around the table with family and friends. ‘We are always discussing new and old artists we love, theatre shows, architecture, fashion and fabrics, and someone is always sharing an article they’ve read or a designer they’ve discovered,’ says Mary. ‘We have a constant stream of guests, and it’s such a joy for us to have everyone gather here.’