The 1990s Meets Urban Jungle In This Inner-City Oasis

This spacious inner-city apartment contradicts every preconception you might have about shoe-box living in the heart of Melbourne. Kurt Falkenstein’s space is bigger than seems remotely feasible for the Flinders Lane location, features a massive bath (the best), and overflowing greenery. The holy grail of city living!

Despite this almost unbelievable setup, Kurt is soon set to move into a Victorian terrace in South Yarra with wife Dani. Today, he reflects on the past five years in his apartment, with a fit-out ‘as 1990s as Seinfeld on VHS!’

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

Inside the Flinders Lane apartment of Kurt Falkenstein. Eames Aluminium Group chair in tan leather and Herman Miller Airia desk and cabinet from Living Edge. ‘These were my first investment in furniture as I worked from home, and I’ve bought furniture ever since with the intent of keeping it forever (or until it breaks, which happens a lot to me for some reason)’ he tells. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

1981 Hitachi HiFi repossessed. ‘I once had the misfortune of liquidating a self storage centre in Melbourne,’ tells Kurt. ‘The only upside was this stereo and some fireworks I found!’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Much-loved Diana Crooke painting of Dunk Island from Mission Beach, from Kurt’s family home in Cairns, yellow vintage chairs from eBay. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Vintage brass and velour chairs and brass and glass dining set from Dust Vintage Spaces with vintage Persian rug from eBay. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Kurt and Dani. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The couple are leaving the eclectic apartment behind for a new home in South Yarra. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

1950’s French lamp from Angelucci, Knoll Barcelona couch (daybed), plants from Plant Mama (Jenna Holmes), cushion with print by Cairn’s artist Lee Hurford (who is still Kurt’s father’s hairdresser!). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Upcycled vintage sideboard and lamp from eBay, sculpture by Dusty Bob Prickett (a Wedding Gift from Kurt’s brother). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Vintage Turkish Kilim rug, vintage coffee table, licensed Picasso Tapestry ‘Seated Woman’, vintage lamp, vintage record cabinet as TV Stand, brass crocodile head from friends Clemente Chuah and Paul Talarico of Clemente Talarico. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘This lounge room really “made” the apartment, and set the whole style. I just love the colour, space and electric mix!’ tells Kurt. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Blue velvet upcycled dresser from Chapel Street Bazaar, vintage cubed mirror, vintage behead, lamps from RAP Products, and the best (looking) drawers ever found! – ‘…apparently Borris Becker wanted to buy them but I bought them before he came back! Lucky he didn’t as they fell apart within a week, and so they are not practical at all, but they still always draw an ooh from anyone who sees them!’ says Kurt. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
7th of September 2018

Kurt Falkenstein has lived in this spacious inner city pad for the past five years, right in the heart of Melbourne. He describes the Flinders Lane apartments as abundant in ‘size, drama and character’, where the huge 70-square-metre master bedroom and bathroom have been afflicted by ‘elephantitis!’

The fit-out of the apartment may be a little tired (Kurt hilariously describes it ‘as 1990s as Seinfeld on VHS’!) but the massive windows with views out to Flinders Lane more than compensate. The interiors are also enlivened by Kurt’s own aesthetic, which he describes as ‘intentionally vintage.’ He explains ‘unique and timeless design I prize more than being the first to own something. I buy things for looks, for sure, but I love that they have a bit of history when they arrive.’

The sweeping spaces necessitated some purchases when Kurt arrived, including an Eames chair from Smith Street Bazaar and a 1950s French lamp from Angelucci. Kurt say the spaciousness of his apartment has made him ‘more design aware’, though acknowledges that purchases have largely occurred from whims and flights of fancy – ‘nothing thought out, always spontaneous.’

The apartment is also home to a small jungle of plants, which were inherited after Jenna Holmes (aka Plant Mama) stayed while Kurt was overseas. He returned to an indoor jungle, which seems slightly incongruous to the CBD surrounds! Kurt explains ‘you could not be in a more urban space in Australia, but it feels lush and natural.’

This apartment is going to be difficult for Kurt to say goodbye to, as he describes ‘no matter what time, what day – I can eat, drink and make merry, knowing I have my own little oasis just nearby.’ But it has also taught him about the value of creating his own personal sanctuary,  and says this is the first home which has made him ‘fall in love with decorating’. We are excited to see what Kurt, Dani, and the plants move onto next!

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