The St Kilda home Orlando Mesiti shares with his partner Gregg Smith is a Victorian terrace of rather grand proportions. Built in the 1870’s, this is a 6-room house (2 living, 1 dining, 2 bedroom, 1 study), with generous ceiling height and beautiful period detailing. When the pair moved here eight years ago, they were seen to ‘restore’ the house rather than renovate it.
‘From the start, our idea was to reduce the amount of visual clutter’ Orlando says. Inside, the pair painted every wall white to provide a neutral backdrop for their collection of artwork. Frilly curtains were removed in favour of streamlined timber shutters. Outside, paint was removed from exterior render to restore the home’s original exterior finish.
Paving and decking in the back courtyard was also removed, to expose the ground and create a bigger garden, allowing Gregg and Orlando to plant natives and encourage birds and wildlife.
With a keen eye for vintage treasures, its no surprise Orlando has amassed an impressive collection of vintage furniture, lighting and ceramics, all on display here. However, it’s his art collection, including small original works by Joy Hester and Mirka Mora, of which he is most enamoured. ‘The art we have collected is easily our favourite thing’ he says. ‘Collecting original pieces need not be expensive, it just takes a keen eye and lots of patience to wait for the right thing to come along.’
Orlando and Gregg are intuitive rather than strategic when it comes to interior decoration. That said, they do have a few non-negotiables! They emphatically hate adhering to rules or trends. ‘Its just about things we like’ Orlando says. ‘Our style is eclectic and imbued with an Australian flavour, peppered with treasures from our travels. No replica. Hand crafted and reused. Natural timber, stone, fibres and linen’.