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

Architecture

A Gloriously Verdant Inner-City Extension

BKK Architects design a contemporary addition around its luscious, sprawling garden for a pair of self-declared introverts in North Fitzroy....
Sasha Gattermayr

News

A New Exhibition Celebrates Visionary Black Photographers From Around The World

Bunjil Place Gallery hosts ‘New Black Vanguard’, an exhibition highlighting the overlap between art and fashion through the eyes...
Sasha Gattermayr
  1 hour ago

Architecture

The Epic Contemporary Revival Of A Pre-Federation Homestead

An 1839 Georgian-era mansion in Tasmania undergoes a specialist update and sympathetic extension by Cumulus Studio.
Sasha Gattermayr
  22 hours ago

Architecture

Two Buildings + Two Courtyard Gardens = One Clever Inner City Home

This Fitzroy North house by Rob Kennon Architects turns the traditional house and backyard model on its head!

Regional

A Micro Flower Farm In Trentham, Decades In The Making

A florist devoted to holistic botanical living has transformed this dilapidated miner's cottage into boutique accommodation - with its own f...
Sasha Gattermayr

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture Finalists!

From an off-the-grid cottage to a sustainable urban commune, these are the best residential architecture projects in Australia.
Lucy Feagins

Sustainable Homes

An Unbelievably Energy Efficient 100-Year-Old Workers’ Cottage!

With the expertise of Altereco Design, this cute cottage in Yarraville is now an ultra sustainable homed home, powered predominantly by sola...

Homes

A Quirky, Contemporary Harbourside Penthouse, For Stylish Downsizers!

The Neutral Bay penthouse apartment of Tracy and Peter Fleming, renovated by their son Jono Fleming with Strutt Studios.

Shopping

A Sunny New Range Of Planters From Capra Designs

Capra Designs debuts a new collection of planters inspired by ancient Roman architecture.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

An Expertly Renovated Edwardian Family Home In Northcote

The Edwardian home of Catherine Keating and family in Northcote has been given a fresh overhaul by Clare Cousins Architects.
Lucy Feagins
  6 hours ago

News

Fab Face Masks Made By Women From Refugee Backgrounds In Melbourne

Second Stitch is a homewares and fashion enterprise offering training certificates and employment to women from refugee, migrant, and asylum...

News

An Exhibition Weaving The Past, Present + Future Of First Nations Textiles

Distinguished textile artist Elisa Carmichael reimagines traditional weaving practices in today’s contemporary context.

On The Market

Permaculture Expert Ben Shaw's Gorgeous Geelong Home (+ Garden!) Hits The Market

A 1920s house with Geelong's best suburban garden (we're calling it!) created by permaculture expert Ben Shaw is up for sale.

Architecture

A Totally Transfixing Concrete Retreat

This contemporary family home in Kew by Architects EAT is totally secluded, yet bright, breezy and open!
Sasha Gattermayr

Modernist Australia

A Fond Farewell To Modernist Australia!

Going, going... GONE! We bid a sad adieu to Trish Callan, and look back at some highlights from Modernist Australia, the website that raised...
Sasha Gattermayr

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

News

A New Exhibition Celebrates Visionary Black Photographers From Around The World

Bunjil Place Gallery hosts ‘New Black Vanguard’, an exhibition highlighting the overlap between art and fashion through the eyes...
Sasha Gattermayr
  1 hour ago

Architecture

Two Buildings + Two Courtyard Gardens = One Clever Inner City Home

This Fitzroy North house by Rob Kennon Architects turns the traditional house and backyard model on its head!

News

Fab Face Masks Made By Women From Refugee Backgrounds In Melbourne

Second Stitch is a homewares and fashion enterprise offering training certificates and employment to women from refugee, migrant, and asylum...

Modernist Australia

A Fond Farewell To Modernist Australia!

Going, going... GONE! We bid a sad adieu to Trish Callan, and look back at some highlights from Modernist Australia, the website that raised...
Sasha Gattermayr

Shopping

A Sunny New Range Of Planters From Capra Designs

Capra Designs debuts a new collection of planters inspired by ancient Roman architecture.
Sasha Gattermayr

Regional

A Micro Flower Farm In Trentham, Decades In The Making

A florist devoted to holistic botanical living has transformed this dilapidated miner's cottage into boutique accommodation - with its own f...
Sasha Gattermayr

News

An Exhibition Weaving The Past, Present + Future Of First Nations Textiles

Distinguished textile artist Elisa Carmichael reimagines traditional weaving practices in today’s contemporary context.

Architecture

A Gloriously Verdant Inner-City Extension

BKK Architects design a contemporary addition around its luscious, sprawling garden for a pair of self-declared introverts in North Fitzroy....
Sasha Gattermayr

Sustainable Homes

An Unbelievably Energy Efficient 100-Year-Old Workers’ Cottage!

With the expertise of Altereco Design, this cute cottage in Yarraville is now an ultra sustainable homed home, powered predominantly by sola...

Architecture

A Totally Transfixing Concrete Retreat

This contemporary family home in Kew by Architects EAT is totally secluded, yet bright, breezy and open!
Sasha Gattermayr

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture Finalists!

From an off-the-grid cottage to a sustainable urban commune, these are the best residential architecture projects in Australia.
Lucy Feagins

Homes

An Expertly Renovated Edwardian Family Home In Northcote

The Edwardian home of Catherine Keating and family in Northcote has been given a fresh overhaul by Clare Cousins Architects.
Lucy Feagins
  6 hours ago

Homes

A Quirky, Contemporary Harbourside Penthouse, For Stylish Downsizers!

The Neutral Bay penthouse apartment of Tracy and Peter Fleming, renovated by their son Jono Fleming with Strutt Studios.

On The Market

Permaculture Expert Ben Shaw's Gorgeous Geelong Home (+ Garden!) Hits The Market

A 1920s house with Geelong's best suburban garden (we're calling it!) created by permaculture expert Ben Shaw is up for sale.

Architecture

The Epic Contemporary Revival Of A Pre-Federation Homestead

An 1839 Georgian-era mansion in Tasmania undergoes a specialist update and sympathetic extension by Cumulus Studio.
Sasha Gattermayr
  22 hours ago

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.