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

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!
Bea Taylor
  10 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.

This Week

Homes

A Melbourne Family’s Ever Changing ‘Light House’

An innovative, sculptural screen invites dynamic shadows into the family home of Andrew Jaques, and Christina Chiodo, renovated by Layan.

Interiors

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight!

A Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen with the look of the past and functionality of the present.

Stays

An Architect’s Handcrafted Home + Bathhouse Turned Unique Accommodation

Take a look inside Liptrap Loft—a one-of-a-kind cabin with a Japanese-inspired bathhouse in Walkerville, Victoria.

Gardens

A Sensitively Built Coastal Garden, Designed To Look ‘Untouched’

The Garden Social carefully designed a garden, built into waterfront sand dunes on NSW's South Coast, where the serene seascape beyond takes...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A 1915 Horse Stables Turned Family Home In The Adelaide Hills

SpaceCraft transformed a circa 1915 horse stable into a family’s elevated version of a traditional farmhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Design Eye

Architect Luke Fry, On Modernising A Heritage Home

Architect Luke Fry shares his advice on sensitively balancing old and new, when modernising a heritage home!

Architecture

A Floating House Entangled In Brush Box Trees On North Stradbroke Island

The tree canopy takes precedence over ocean views in this holiday home for three families, designed by Conrad Gargett architects.

Shopping

Say Hello To Your New Favourite Summer Shoes With This FRANKiE4 Giveaway!

Everything you need to know for your chance to win one of five pairs of shoes (of your choice!) from Australian label FRANKiE4!
Bea Taylor
  10 hours ago

Shopping

11 Of The Best Places To Score Vintage Furniture + Homewares

Hunting down everything from 70s modular sofas, to retro gems from Europe, see the 11 vintage sellers and stores we love!
Christina Karras

News

See Ethiopian-Norwegian Artist Olana Janfa's Colourful, Debut Solo Show!

The Melbourne-based painter’s first solo show is opening tonight, exploring themes of language, race and status in his playful works.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Meet designer Katrina Ramm of Ka Ra Studio, who's playful pieces that that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes!
Christina Karras

Shopping

These Deliciously Colourful Picnic Rugs Are Made From Recycled Plastic!

The season of picnicking has arrived, and we've found the best rugs to see you through pizzas in the park and fish and chips on the beach.

News

Don't Miss Major Discounts On Designer Furniture At DOMO's Black Friday Sale!

Here’s everything you need to know about DOMO’s Black Friday Sale, with 20% off iconic designer brands, for one day only!
Sponsored

News

An Exhibition Of Abstract, Thought-Provoking Pieces Is On Now At Heide

See a line-up of abstract works exploring negative space and time, featuring leading Australians and world-famous artists like Anish Kapoor!...
Sponsored

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Kate Reid, Founder Of Lune Croissanterie

A peek into the inner workings of Lune's ‘croissant Formula One team’ - and what this impressive entrepreneur gets up to in a day!
Christina Karras

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.

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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net