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An Artist's Eclectic Home In Daylesford

Homes

A house that isn’t on Instagram. An ‘ungoogle-able’ artist. The Daylesford home of artist Helen Connell really is a hidden gem.

With its charming rustic textures forming the perfect backdrop for Helen’s eclectic collections of artwork, textiles and furniture, this place feels more like a richly layered film set, than an actual person’s home.

We’re pretty sure this house was always meant for Helen.

31st January, 2018

The quirky Daylesford living room of artist Helen Connell. Paintings from left: Roma Higgins ‘The Cricket Match’, bought in London in the late 70s. Nick Howson, bought from Australian Galleries (like many of Helen’s paintings!). Marina Strocchi ‘Little Corellas at Dusk.’ Helen Connell’s own piece, ‘Armchair’. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The dining area looking out to the gorgeous garden – Capocchi table and chairs. Painting by William Cooper. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Details of the living room. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The eclectic living room, which looks more film set than residential!  Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

A happy mish-mash of items in the living room, featuring a large piece by Marina Strocchi, ‘Little Corellas at Dusk’. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Painting by Helen, who exhibits at Tacit Gallery in Collingwood. Ladder by Tim Jones. Goat figurine from India. African door. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The kitchen area with chairs from Virtanen Antiques, High St, Armadale. Rug bought in Morocco. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

A cosy corner of the kitchen. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The ‘Ship Lamp’ from Manteau Noir, Daylesford. Cappochi Bentwood table. The amazing swan planter is from a junkyard in Fish Creek! Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

‘I have been a magpie my whole life – I collect stuff and arrange it into stories,’ says Helen on the aesthetic of her home. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The moody library. Feature artwork by Stephen Lees (Collville Gallery, Hobart), rug from Turkey. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

A sweet spot in the bedroom, featuring an artwork by Roma Higgins. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Looking back into the living room, an Ethiopian chair and paintings by Neville Cayley, Roma Higgins, Nick Howson and Marina Strocchi. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The main bedroom, with a Max Linegar painting above the bed, and Stephen Lees adjacent. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Looking into the main bathroom. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Knick-knacks filling every nook and cranny in Helen’s studio. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Helen’s studio, looking out into the garden. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Another part of Helen’s studio, featuring her paintings, canvases and brushes. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

The view from the kitchen window! ‘I had the wall made by local stonemasons, Michael and Chris Archbold, and the stone came from Michael Carron,’ Helen explaisn. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Helen Connell in her gorgeous garden. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Ummmm…. garden GOALS. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling Annie Portelli/The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 31st January 2018

‘I have been a magpie my whole life – I collect stuff and arrange it into stories.’ – Helen Connell.

The truly delightful Daylesford home of artist Helen Connell found us in a round-about way.

Our dear art director, Annie, stumbled across the place after accepting an invitation for a weekend away with a bunch of friends. Helen’s daughter had invited them to stay. In Annie’s words ‘I remember walking in and immediately thinking.. holey moley I’ve got to get this place on The Design Files!’.

The house was built in the early 1980’s from mud brick, and Helen has lived here for just three years. The house has only ever had three different owners, and has been loved and changed and cared for by each occupant, including Helen. ‘It is a wonderful place to live’ Helen says. ‘It is warm and generous and feels like home’.

It was love at first sight when Helen first discovered this place. Having lived in the Riverina area for 30 years prior, Helen found herself craving a cooler climate, high rainfall, and good soil. ‘I am a keen gardener and have been amazed at the way plants respond to the rain and rich earth!’ she says.

Though she’s only been here a short-ish time, it’s as if this house was always waiting for Helen. As soon as she moved in, all her belongings fell into place, and Helen immediately felt at home. The chalky, whitewashed interiors perfectly complement her distinctive collections of antique furniture, eclectic artwork and textiles, then there’s the rambling garden, and room for her home studio, too.

For Helen, home is an extension of her creative practice. ‘I have been a magpie my whole life – I collect stuff and arrange it into stories’ the artist explains. ‘I paint, mosaic, draw and write. I’m not that interested in fashion, and never know what I should like, but am attracted to objects for the visual pleasure they give me. I surround myself with colour and happily live amongst the overflowing shelves of birds, ships, books and other assorted stuff!’

Helen, you’re doing everything right.

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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.

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