Retro Perfection In Abbotsford

The residents of this buttery, light-wrapped home show what can be achieved in a rental, through mixing  treasured vintage finds with a warm, textural palette, and clean architectural lines.

Kelly Thompson, director of Maker’s Mgmt and Maker’s Mrkt, and restaurateur Christian McCabe live in this enticing urban ‘treehouse’, with Billie the beagle and Butler the cat.

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The middle-level lounge room inside the chic Abbotsford home of illustrator Kelly Thompson and restaurateur Christian McCabe. Kelly calls it the ‘Lady Lounge’! Vintage brass clam lamp Tyabb Packing House. Glass ornamental grapes Kelly found at Chapel Street Bazaar. The guitar belongs to Kelly’s husband Christian. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Another lounge! The windows run the full width of the room and completely slide across to open air. Vintage globe lamp and sideboard from Little Prince. Kerryn Levy ceramics from Makers Mkrt. Armadillo and Co. rug from Curious Grace. Velvet cushions from Nathan & Jac Melbourne. Vintage couch Kelly and Christian found in a shed in Brisbane and restored. Brown calf skin from Used PTY Johnston Street. Coffee table from Glen Waverley Bazaar. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kelly in her living room wearing one of her favourite designers, Kate Sylvester. Golden velvet chair and soft pink marble table both from CCSS Melbourne. Old wardrobe door used as a mirror from Curated Spaces. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Christian is learning the guitar and Kelly was pretty happy when he came home with a golden one! Vintage brass clam lamp that Kelly almost couldn’t fit in the car and enlisted help from strangers to get it in -from Tyabb Packing House. Glass grapes Kelly found at Chapel Street Bazaar intended as decoration for Christian’s restaurant, Embla, that never quite made it. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The main lounge area adjacent to the kitchen and dining spaces. Artwork from top left: A photograph Kelly gifted Christian when he sold his restaurant, The Matterhorn, in Melbourne. Picture stack from top: Sara Orme photograph from her Freedom series, Tomer Hanuka print, Adam Custins polaroid from Maker’s Mrkt. Next to this is a large Kate Banazi screenprint. Orange and purple face by Rudi De Wet. Fellows Mobiles mobile from Maker’s Mrkt. Adam Custins nude from Maker’s Mrkt next to a Kat Macleod print. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kelly has an incredible knack for sourcing and styling vintage furniture. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Item details in the lounge room, featuring Kerryn Levy ceramics from Makers Mkrt. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The master bedroom with vintage lamps and bedside tables. Bed frame from Snooze and linen from Cultiver. ‘Lilli’ print by Kelly Thompson from Kelly’s business, Makers Mkrt. Photo – Eve Wilson.

A view from the middle level from the front door, featuring a bathroom at the end of the corridor with sliding wooden walls for privacy. Photo – Eve Wilson.

The exterior of Kelly Thompson and Christian McCabe’s Abbotsford house. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Kelly says her styling approach here has been to deliberately ‘mess up’ the clarity of the home’s architectural  lines, with a warm materials palette, inviting textures and pre-loved finds. Kelly has an eagle-eye for second hand and vintage furniture, and loves the thrill of the hunt! ‘The house has clean lines, but we want to clutter it up a bit and want it to be comfortable’ Kelly explains.

Another distinctive feature of this home, is the way the interior spaces connect to the exterior streetscape. Tall, narrow and framed by giant plane trees, this home has the feeling of an urban ‘treehouse’. Kelly describes the joy of sliding open the windows to have the room open to the treetops ; ‘it’s so nice being high up and watching the trees change with the season.’

After living in an open-plan warehouse in Collingwood, creative agent Kelly Thompson and restaurateur Christian McCabe moved to this three-level townhouse designed by Melbourne architect Robin Williams four years ago. They were attracted by the grand ceiling height in the upstairs living area, and the diffused light that streams through shutters into the ground floor level. While unable to make structural alterations to the building, the couple have imbued the place with their own unique sense of style, simply by ‘filling it with things they love.’

This love is evident, in the way Kelly and Christian have married the architectural characteristics of the space with their own distinctive aesthetics. The golden, timber-clad interiors give the home a warm, nostalgic feel, which the residents have enhanced with carefully selected furniture and artworks. Vintage gold lamps, pink marble side tables, and cascading ferns contrast with the ‘perfectly square, considered building’.

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