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

Blackhearts + Pink Bedrooms, A Home With An Unconventional Past

Homes

It isn’t every day that a former brothel is transformed into a home (!) – but for co-founder of Blackheart and Sparrows Paul Ghaie and hospitality professional partner Lucy Wallace, this property presented the perfect opportunity for a contemporary and comfortable Fitzroy home.

Take a tour of this Fieldwork Architecture designed home, where splashes of the past are illuminating the present.

24th April, 2019

The dining room of Paul Ghaie and Lucy Wallace’s home, designed by Fieldwork Architects. Photo – Tom Ross.

View from the dining room to the courtyard. Photo – Tom Ross.

Lucy, Paul and pooch in the dining room. Custom table by their friend Chris Scott, banquette seat by I Am Not Mason, arc light, vintage Italian selected by Studio Wonder, artwork by various artists including Justin Williams, Hana Shimada, Rhys Lee and Carl Breitkreuz. Photo – Tom Ross.

Rear Lounge of the front building – this area gets beautiful early afternoon sun. We love sitting on the vintage pink leather couch with a cup of tea looking out to the garden. Photo – Tom Ross.

Detail of the dining nook. 3D sculpture by Roh Singh, and large drawing by Justin Williams. Photo – Tom Ross.

Dining room. Photo – Tom Ross.

Cabinetry by Inner West Joinery, and a perfectly curved kitchen bench. Photo – Tom Ross.

Upstairs and downstairs, looking towards the courtyard. Photo – Tom Ross.

Front lounge – Paul and Lucy have digital streaming throughout the house, but this room is where the analogue setup lives. Something for vinyl geeks – a valve amp by Weston Acoustics, turntable by Michell Engineering and speakers by Hoyt-Bedford, all pieces of art in their own right! Photo – Tom Ross.

View from the main bedroom in the rear building – highlighting the fun the couple had with pink – the walls, carpet and neon border light are all pink. Paul explains ‘I love the way the neon follows the line of the handrail.’ Photo – Tom Ross.

View back to the front building showing the “Exquisite Ladies” neon and steel gate by Red Steel. You can just see the stained glass windows above the back door. Photo – Tom Ross.

The view from the courtyard. Photo – Tom Ross.

Pink night illumination! Photo – Tom Ross.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 24th April 2019

‘We don’t take ourselves too seriously’ – Paul Ghaie.

When Paul Ghaie (co-founder of wine, boutique beer and cider purveyors, Blackhearts and Sparrows) moved into an apartment in Rose Street, Fitzroy, he was living two doors down from the brothel Club Rose. The club shut down in late 2017, and Paul jumped at the opportunity to purchase the site. After securing the property, Paul and partner Lucy Wallace (a hospitality professional) engaged Fieldwork Architects to transform the building, which featured obligatory showers in every room, mirrored ceilings, Roman columns, and two spa baths… into a home.

The modern design is refined but a little quirky, with material references to the unusual history of the building. Paul explains that the brief was for something that was both beautiful and practical. He highlights ‘there are so many subtle touches that aren’t too flashy or shouting “look at me”…well, maybe other than the pink windows in the bathroom and the neon in the back building.’

I’m not sure I’d describe this home as ‘subtle’ – but the architects have cleverly balanced sharp contemporary designs (the clean line of the staircase, sleek bathroom tiles, the blush and olive dining nook) with moments of aesthetic sass! Paul and Lucy wanted to avoid a ‘sterile white box’ and have used Dulux ‘All’s Ace’ pink, as well as coloured lighting the create mood and reflect a unique sense of character.  Neon lights in the rear courtyard illuminate the night with the glowing declaration ‘Exquisite Ladies’, which Paul explains is a ‘not so subtle reminder of the history of the building – and a lot of fun when we have visitors.’

The kitchen is the hub of this home, where Paul and Lucy put their combined hospitality skills and wine knowledge to use, cooking for friends. The aged brass bench top is a centrepiece in the room, and Paul describes ‘there’s a little history of meals and parties past in each mark and scratch’. The space is brought to life through the couple’s art collection (especially the vibrant Rhys Lee painting) and the lighting by Pip from Studio Wonder.

This unconventional home reflects both the history of the site, and the personality of the owners. In Paul’s words – ‘we don’t take ourselves too seriously.’

This Week

News

The Archibald Arrives At TarraWarra

Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art award comes to Victoria, featuring portraits of 51 subjects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

Heritage Bones Meets Modern Design In This Paddington Terrace

Porebski Architects restore and respectfully modernise an 1890s terrace.
Miriam McGarry

News

Attention: Cult Sydney Sale!

Ready your wallets, Cult Design is hosting a designer warehouse sale from September 12th-15th  in Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

Art

Influential Australian Women Star In National Portrait Prize Shortlist

Nova Peris, Magda Szubankski, Annabel Crabb and other icons grace the paintings in the running for Australia's richest art prize, the 2019 D...
Elle Murrell

News

Mercedes Me Gets An Eco Makeover From Joost Bakker

In collaboration with ST. ALi, the Melbourne store is removing all disposable takeaway cups, and celebrating the transition to sustainabilit...
Miriam McGarry

Gardens

An Outdoor Oasis In Annandale

A small footprint, big impact outdoor entertaining area in Sydney, with designs by Eco Outdoor.
Amelia Barnes

Modernist Australia

A Robin Boyd Bushland Block Up For Sale!

A classic home by Australia's most loved modernist architect, the 'Uglow House' in Montmorency is on the market for a steal!
Patricia Callan

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Jamie Durie, Designer + Media Personality

We talk to a legendary Aussie icon about finding the time to manage his multiple pursuits!

Family

Artist Julian Meagher On Creating Through The Parenting Fog

One of our favourite Sydney artists on working through the doubt and exhaustion of parenting, ahead of his exhibition at Sydney Contemporary...
Ashe Davenport
45:07

Creative People

TDF Talks With Life Coach + Author Kemi Nekvapil

Kemi Nekvapil on leadership, women's wellness and how a disempowered childhood led her to coaching and mentoring others.

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Spring Greens with Ricotta

Our favourite foodie is back with another must-cook dish! Today, the self-taught cook shares her recipe for a simple crowd-pleasing starter....
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  4 hours ago

TDF Design Awards

The Emerging Designers In The Running To WIN At The TDF Design Awards

Seven of Australia's most accomplished new designers and emerging design studios, in the running to WIN at TDF Design Awards!

Interiors

A Swedish Summer Cottage In South Australia

Emma Read and Sarah Hall of My Sister And The Sea create a cosy cottage getaway on the edge of the Innes National Park.
Miriam McGarry
  20 hours ago

News

Explore Hotel Rooms Full Of Contemporary Art At Spring1883

26 contemporary galleries present works throughout The Establishment Hotel for the immersive Spring1883 event in Sydney!
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Coastal Home Designed From The Inside Out

This Barwon Heads property by Lovell Burton is designed to expand and contract with the seasons.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Family Home Of Style And Function

Explore the stunning Sydney home of interior designer Melissa Marshall and family.

News

The Wild Interiors Of A 1970s Brothel Captured By Derek Swalwell

Your chance to take a look inside one of Melbourne’s oldest brothels, Pink Palace!

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.

This Week

Family

Artist Julian Meagher On Creating Through The Parenting Fog

One of our favourite Sydney artists on working through the doubt and exhaustion of parenting, ahead of his exhibition at Sydney Contemporary...
Ashe Davenport

TDF Design Awards

The Emerging Designers In The Running To WIN At The TDF Design Awards

Seven of Australia's most accomplished new designers and emerging design studios, in the running to WIN at TDF Design Awards!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Jamie Durie, Designer + Media Personality

We talk to a legendary Aussie icon about finding the time to manage his multiple pursuits!

Gardens

An Outdoor Oasis In Annandale

A small footprint, big impact outdoor entertaining area in Sydney, with designs by Eco Outdoor.
Amelia Barnes

Modernist Australia

A Robin Boyd Bushland Block Up For Sale!

A classic home by Australia's most loved modernist architect, the 'Uglow House' in Montmorency is on the market for a steal!
Patricia Callan

News

Explore Hotel Rooms Full Of Contemporary Art At Spring1883

26 contemporary galleries present works throughout The Establishment Hotel for the immersive Spring1883 event in Sydney!
Miriam McGarry

News

The Archibald Arrives At TarraWarra

Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art award comes to Victoria, featuring portraits of 51 subjects.
Miriam McGarry

Art

Influential Australian Women Star In National Portrait Prize Shortlist

Nova Peris, Magda Szubankski, Annabel Crabb and other icons grace the paintings in the running for Australia's richest art prize, the 2019 D...
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Heritage Bones Meets Modern Design In This Paddington Terrace

Porebski Architects restore and respectfully modernise an 1890s terrace.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Coastal Home Designed From The Inside Out

This Barwon Heads property by Lovell Burton is designed to expand and contract with the seasons.

Interiors

A Swedish Summer Cottage In South Australia

Emma Read and Sarah Hall of My Sister And The Sea create a cosy cottage getaway on the edge of the Innes National Park.
Miriam McGarry
  20 hours ago

News

Attention: Cult Sydney Sale!

Ready your wallets, Cult Design is hosting a designer warehouse sale from September 12th-15th  in Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

News

Mercedes Me Gets An Eco Makeover From Joost Bakker

In collaboration with ST. ALi, the Melbourne store is removing all disposable takeaway cups, and celebrating the transition to sustainabilit...
Miriam McGarry

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Seasonal Flavours: Spring Greens with Ricotta

Our favourite foodie is back with another must-cook dish! Today, the self-taught cook shares her recipe for a simple crowd-pleasing starter....
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  4 hours ago
45:07

Creative People

TDF Talks With Life Coach + Author Kemi Nekvapil

Kemi Nekvapil on leadership, women's wellness and how a disempowered childhood led her to coaching and mentoring others.

Similar Stories

Homes

A Family Home Of Style And Function

Explore the stunning Sydney home of interior designer Melissa Marshall and family.

News

The Wild Interiors Of A 1970s Brothel Captured By Derek Swalwell

Your chance to take a look inside one of Melbourne’s oldest brothels, Pink Palace!

Homes

A Family Rental With Real Heart

The Caufield Californian bungalow of interior designer Sara Levitas, her Rabbi husband Noam, and family.