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An Artist's Leafy, Bohemian Sanctuary In Alphington

Homes

Edgbastion is a 1880s mansion with a robust Melbourne history! In the 1920s it was purchased by a group of artists, writers and teachers, and the bohemian gang converted the house into three separate residences, but continued to share the ‘large backyard and late nights.’ When the home turned 150 years old, a party was thrown for the iconic home.

Today, we take a tour through the Alphington property with artist Suzanne Corbett, who, after forty years of developing the garden and enjoying the close access to the Yarra and parklands, is ready to pass the apartment over to new custodians. It won’t be on the market for long!

5th June, 2019

A group of artists purchased the Alphington mansion in the 1920s, separating it into three separate residences. It became known as a hub for parties and late-night dancing! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking through from the kitchen tiled doorway panel into the sitting room. Painting by Suzanne Corbett. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bits and pieces collected over 40 years of living at this home! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Suzanne painted the kitchen a vivid chartreuse colour, Dulux’s Costa Del Sol, and delicate flowers on the floor. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Suzanne in her garden, which is her pride and joy. A bank of high graft orange trees behind in a north facing view. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Pots and pans in the kitchen. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘I have developed the garden over forty years to create an intimate and serene space in which to equally entertain, relax in and be inspired by’, tells Suzanne. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Many years ago Suzanne created a Colour Creation booklet created for Dulux, demonstrating decorative techniques achieved with paints. Suzanne prepared and carried out the illustrated examples of these techniques, and the cover picture is of her sitting room .Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The sitting room through to the bay window and a garden view. Painting by Suzanne Corbett. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Left: The mantle shelf. Picasso studio vase. Murano glass dish. Painting by Max Sherlock of the Heidelberg River Valley. 1920s Ginori turquoise ceramic vase. Painting by Suzanne of the ground floor entrance in a former home. Turquoise vase from the Venini studio in Venice. Right: a roaring fire in the cosy sitting room, looking through to the kitchen. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bedroom doorway into the study, decorative pediment, white floor. Boards painted with Dulux’s Antique White USA .Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Upper floor study, with Suzanne’s painting tools. Algernon the cat takes in the noonday sun. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Left: Study shelf details and work materials. Right: Upper floor bedroom view through the bay window to olive tree branches. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 5th June 2019

When the home turned 150 years old, a party was thrown for the iconic home, complete with a stripper priest giving a blessing at midnight!

The Edgbastion property was built in the 1880s by Thomas Stokes as a stately family home. At the time, the Alphington house was surrounded by farmland, but as the city and suburbs crept out, the property caught the eye of a group of bohemian friends. Closely located to the artists of the Heidelberg school, it was converted into three apartments and was a hub for parties, art, and late night dancing.

Suzanne moved into her apartment in 1980, and shares the home with her cat Algernon. The architectural integrity of the home has always been paramount to Suzanne, and the residents have twice ‘saved the house from the wrecking ball’ and ‘inappropriate development.’ Drawn to the character and Victorian dimensions of high ceilings and long windows, Suzanne has only made small cosmetic changes to her home.

Using her artistic skills, Suzanne has added a fresh lick of paint, a stone and shell grotto (!), new fireplace and floor stencils on the pine floorboards. She has also spent the last forty years tending to the garden ‘to create an intimate and serene space in which to equally entertain, relax in and be inspired by.’

The home is filled with Suzanne’s favourite objects, which sit perfectly in this richly layered home, characterised by 3.5 metre ceilings and long sash windows. Special pieces include the painting by Max Sherlock (of the river and bush in Heidelberg), Suzanne’s triangular carved wood chair, and ‘bar’ cabinet that ‘has a particular warmth, and gracefully anchors the space in which it sits.’

What initially drew Suzanne to the home was the quiet seclusion, access to the Yarra and parklands, while still being close to the city. Between the generous bay windows, open fireplace, backyard studio, and ‘simple and purposeful set of rooms’ this heritage apartment is sure to find another passionate custodian soon!

Check out the listing for Suzanne’s fabulous apartment here

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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.