Jessie Oldfield and Adam Murfet live in the sort of house that makes you go ‘How did they get this amazing house!?’. The pair are passionate custodians of a beautifully designed little house, originally built by celebrated Melbourne jeweller Mari Funaki, who sadly passed away in 2010. Mari was one of Australia’s leading contemporary jewellery makers, and this was her own home and studio.
‘When we moved in, all the paperwork was left here – all Mari’s notes and correspondence with the architect, showing the meticulous detail and thought-process of what she wanted her home to feel like,’ Jessie explains. ‘It’s a really special place to live in, we feel very lucky to enjoy the beauty she created.’
Nestled in an unlikely spot in a back laneway in Princes Hill, this neat little two-bedroom house actually feels a little like a jewellery box. Meticulously designed cabinetry folds out seamlessly, revealing hidden compartments and versatile configurations. Noting its timeless aesthetic, Jessie loves the way the house ‘flows’ – ‘the outside is part of the home in every room’ she points out. ‘The house feels intelligent, inspired by nature and the elements’.
Layered over this clever design, of course, is Jessie and Adam’s own history – including treasures collected from their travels, as well as artwork and handcrafted things by talented creative friends.
Favourite pieces are those that exude a unique personality, like *that* Bitossi Ettore Sottsass vase (aka the penis vase!) – a gift from friends for the couple’s engagement. ‘We admire his work and have dreamt of owning this vase, we love how much of a statement it is. We get excited about finding different flowers for it, it really shifts the vibe of the house,’ Jessie explains.
Other treasured artefacts include the hand-painted tiny ceramic houses from a town the pair fell in love with in Brazil, a giant ‘wet looking’ ceramic fish from a small town in Sicily (!), a solar-powered rainbow maker, a giant dreamcatcher made by Jessie’s sister… ‘Everything in our house inspires us,’ Jessie concludes!
I still don’t know exactly how Jessie and Adam landed this extraordinary home (and BTW, it’s a rental!), but somehow it feels like they were meant to be here. There really is a special energy in this house, it feels like a magnet for creative people. ‘I have heard from people that Mari was a big advocate for bringing people together, and that our house was a meeting place for artists and conversations,’ Jessie muses. ‘There is something about the space that attracts this in our life too, and we love that.’