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An Artist's Abode

Homes

The home of artist Caroline Walls  and her partner, cafe owner Emma Hill is a study in restraint. The palette is astonishingly muted, and there’s a distinct lack of clutter.

Mind you, this is not a house that lacks personality – in fact, these pared back, minimalist surroundings perfectly reflect the busy and intensely creative couple who live here.

23rd August, 2017

Caroline's studio
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Inside artist Caroline Walls‘ home studio. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room
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Major Tom is the man of Caroline and her partner Emma’s house, he contrasts nicely with the muted palette! Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room
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The large navy hand-pulled screen print is from Caroline’s solo exhibition back in June. ‘I personally love darker colours on the walls and I think that’s reflected in the works I create,’ she tells. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room
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The heart of their home is filled with lots of art, objects, ceramics and music collected on travels. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room
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‘We love the period features in the home, like this black marble fireplace, it brings a richness and depth to the rooms and provide the perfect backdrop for our art and ceramic collections’ says the artist. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Studio details
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Caroline’s studio space enjoys lots of natural light. ‘Being able to work from home is a special thing and allows me to get the most out of every day,’ she explains. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room details
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Caroline and Emma are keen collectors of objects and books – each with its own story or relevant history. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room
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Art by Caroline, alongside works by Louise Weaver, Paul van der Eerden and Cass Bird. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dinning area details
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A shelving unit that once housed Emma’s (ever-growing) record collection bas become the ‘mini bar’. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dinning area
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The dining table also masquerades as Caroline’s work table. ‘The french doors open out onto our little sunny courtyard so in the warmer months the space really comes into its own and it’s a beautiful, airy place to be,’ she adds. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen
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The pair love to cook and eat, so the kitchen is a focal point, and looks out across the dining area and courtyard. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom
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Shelving showcases their ever-growing ceramic collection; vintage pieces from op shops are displayed alongside pieces created by some of Melbourne’s wonderful ceramicists, and art by Caroline. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom
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Located in the front of the home, the bedroom gets lots of beautiful afternoon sun. Small print above bed by Jan Yoors from the 70’s and to the right is one of Caroline’s first hand-pulled screen prints. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Exterior
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Emma and Caroline at home in Carlton North. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 23rd August 2017

‘We hope our home has some character, warmth and a sense of depth – a true expression of what we love and what has meaning to us.’ – Caroline Walls

 

We’ve photographed a lot of artist’s homes, and as a general rule they tend to be colourful, eclectic, and well, full of stuff! Not the North Carlton home of artist Caroline Walls, though. Nope. The home Caroline shares with her partner Emma Hill is a minimal, pared back space, and yet, it perfectly sums up the creative couple who live here.

This compact two bedroom terrace house has been the couple’s home (and Caroline’s studio) for five years now. It’s a rental, which means the pair haven’t undertaken any major structural changes, though this hasn’t prevented them from putting their own unique stamp on the place.

Artwork is a recurrent theme throughout the house – including lots of Caroline’s own work, which explores themes of femininity, sexuality and identity. Alongside these prints, paintings and sketches is an impressive collection of ceramics – many by local makers, alongside thrift shop finds.

The couple’s biggest challenge living here is simply not having enough space! ‘My studio is also our dining room… It’s not unusual for the long hallway walls to be lined with large canvases before an exhibition, or for pieces I’m working on to creep into the living room’ the artist confesses.

Life and art are very much intertwined for Caroline. ‘As with the ever-consistent colour palette I use in my art practise, the tones in our home are in muted layers of nude, softs greys and deeper tones of black and deep blue’ the artist explains. ‘Generally speaking, there is so much of my work layered amongst our collections of ceramics, books and records that there is a very fine line between my work and our home – it’s a bit of an amalgamation!’

Though Caroline’s distinct aesthetic informs much of the visual feel of the home, she’s quick to point out that Emma brings the ‘soul’ to this house. ‘Emma has exceptional musical taste and knowledge – her ever-growing record collection is always playing… music is a really present and permanent fixture in our home.’

‘Our home is a real culmination of art, objects and furniture we have collected on our travels over the years, both together and separately’ Caroline explains. ‘It’s an eclectic, personal space that we hope tells a bit of our story – we don’t want our home to look like a generic showroom catalogue. Instead we hope it has some character, warmth and a sense of depth to it – a true expression of what we love and what has meaning to us.’

Caroline Walls is currently preparing for a solo exhibition in Sydney in November. She and Emma are also super excited to be tying the knot in New York next week – WOO!

This seems like an opportune time to remind all our dear readers to please check your electoral enrolment – the deadline to update your details for the upcoming postal vote on marriage equality is tomorrow, August 24th. (We’ll be voting YES, obvs.)

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.