This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Plant-Filled Richmond Rental

Homes

Jenna Holmes is a plant whisperer. Via her business, Plant Mama, she sources, supplies and maintains an array of lush indoor plants to various businesses and residences throughout Melbourne. It’s no surprise her home is the ultimate indoor jungle, with over 40 plants inside!

Beyond the plantlife, though, this is a house with many stories to tell, having been home to prominent architect Gregory Burgess (AM) and his family for 40 years, before Jenna moved in last year.

28th February, 2018

The top floor studio, featuring an amazing plaid couch found by Jenna’s roommate on Gumtree. ‘Most people tend to pick up their jaw from the floor when they see this room of the house in particular, due to all the different nooks and design features,’ says Jenna! Photo – Eve Wilson.

Details of the top floor studio. A lot of the small picture frames/artworks were collected from op shops by Jenna and her housemates over the years. Photo – Eve Wilson.

That amazing teardrop window! ‘The best part of this top room is the never-ending windows, in every shape and size you can imagine. It is FULL of light, and the best place to grow plants,’ explains Jenna. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The living room, featuring an artwork by Jenna’s brother. The owner’s son told Jenna that apparently lots of house parties once went down in this living room, held by both the kids and the grown-ups! Photo – Eve Wilson.

A lush corner of the living room. ‘Plants jumbled together in big groups can create their own ecosystems, so that mixed with the lighting and air flow created the perfect urban jungle,’ Jenna tells us. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Dining nook with bright, blue chairs gifted to Jenna by a friend. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Another dining nook! This is one of the most utilised areas of the house, according to Jenna, where there is always someone sitting and working or entertaining. The structure is built from recycled Jarrah wood which gives it a ‘forest cabin feel.’ Photo – Eve Wilson.

Jenna Holmes, the Plant Mama herself! Photo – Eve Wilson.

‘I would go so far as to say this is my dream kitchen!’ Jenna says, ‘it’s made to be a social kitchen. Many a night would be spent with someone in the kitchen and others sitting in the dining room chatting, cooking, drinking wine and playing music.’ It features open Jarrah wood shelving, blue tiles and dark wooden bench tops. Photo – Eve Wilson.

One of the main bedrooms. ‘The elevated sleeping nook is such a simple aspect of the house, yet one of our favourites,’ tells Jenna. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Jenna’s room, where everything is a thrift or vintage find! Her housemate (who collects and sells vintage furniture) found the large circular mirror and wooden dresser.  Jenna’s favourite found piece is the framed picture of a woman holding a basket – ‘$3 from an old lady in Northcote!’. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The greenhouse. It was once used as a studio space by the previous owner, architect Greg Burgess, where he did all his design work. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Some of Jenna’s healthy plant babies! Photo – Eve Wilson.

A corner of the greenhouse. ‘The neighbour told me when I moved in that the studio/greenhouse has magic creative “juju” in the walls, as it is the space where previous owner Gregory Burgess creates some of his best and most awarded designs” Jenna reflects.  Photo – Eve Wilson.

The glass windows panes and overgrown front yard make the perfect combination for filtered light, and all the plants in the greenhouse grew rapidly because of this! Photo – Eve Wilson.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 28th February 2018

‘There is creative juice flowing through the walls. I feel as though I have made my best work whilst living in this house.’ – Jenna Holmes.

The rented Richmond home of Jenna Holmes aka Plant Mama is a testament to just how strongly connected you can feel to a home, even when it’s only temporary. This rambling Victorian house has been Jenna’s home for under a year, and she’ll soon be moving on again, as the home is sadly earmarked for demolition. Such is the nature of share house living in Melbourne!

The house itself has many stories to tell. In the 1950’s, it was owned by Croation/Australian photographer Mark Strizic. Strizic’s father, Zdenko Strizic, who was a professor of Architecture at Melbourne University, renovated the back of the house, adding a charming greenhouse which is now Jenna’s plant studio.

Later, Australian author Barry Oakley lived here. Then, in 1978, Architect Gregory Burgess purchased the home, and made further design updates, adding the recycled Jarrah kitchen, and an upstairs loft bedroom. The house was Burgess’ family home for 40 years, before changing hands again three years ago. And just last year, Jenna moved in.

‘I wasn’t looking for a house, nor did I need to move from where I was,’ the intuitive creative says. ‘I was late night scrolling real estate listings, saw the house and knew I had to live there’.

Despite having been here for less than a year, it hasn’t taken long for Jenna to fall deeply in love with her intensely creative, many-layered home. ‘It has warmth in its presence, it’s a nice space to be in,’ she says. ‘I also love the history in the house and the ideas that have been born in it… The neighbour told me when I moved in that Greg Burgess created some of Australia’s most beautiful buildings whilst working here, and that there is creative juice flowing through the walls. I feel as though also as a creative I have also made my best work whilst living in this house.’

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Lovingly Restored 1960s 'Sibbel House' In Melbourne’s North East

This classic suburban home is everything an Australian home should be - robust, relaxed and full of authentic character.

Homes

Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith

A tiny workers cottage in Abbotsford takes indoor gardening to another level.
Lucy Feagins

Homes

Lilli Waters and Jake Cole

A richly layered rental property in Melbourne's Pascoe Vale.
Lucy Feagins

This Week

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li
  16 hours ago

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!
Lucy Feagins
  8 hours ago

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

Similar Stories

Homes

A Lovingly Restored 1960s 'Sibbel House' In Melbourne’s North East

The home of architect Ramon Pleysier and family is robust, relaxed and full of character.

Homes

Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith

A tiny workers cottage in Abbotsford takes indoor gardening to another level.
Lucy Feagins

Homes

Lilli Waters and Jake Cole

A richly layered rental property in Melbourne's Pascoe Vale.
Lucy Feagins

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.