When Barb Hyman moved into this sprawling St Kilda terrace in 2013, there was a lot of work to do! She evocatively describes this history of the property as shaped by ‘a probable mix of debauchery and neglect!’
The largest job was knocking down the lean-to attached to the back of the house, and replacing it with large steel framed glass doors, that welcome light into the home. In addition to plastering unfinished walls, and providing support to the original wooden stairs – the garden was what sold Barb on the home, and has been her biggest challenge (and reward!).
Barb explains that when she purchased the property, the garden had ‘only one tree, a fig tree, and loads and loads of hard-waste rubble in the soil.’ After spending endless weekends clearing out the space and filling tips, Barb created a l’orangerie (orange orchard) out the front, and a ‘wild Mediterranean style garden out the back’ with the assistance of brilliant local landscaper Gavin Smith.
Inside, the home is brought to life with personal touches that sit gently within the grand proportions of the space. Barb explains, ‘I am very sentimental about everything. I don’t have anything that doesn’t mean something to me.’ Our photographer and stylist found little notes and drawings from her kids, poked into a gap in the window sill or pinned to the side of an antique dresser. For Barb, the most precious objects are the books she made when the children were babies, and ‘tell the story of their growing up, with drawings, pictures and loads of quirky mementos.’
While Barb is charmingly elusive about how she ended up in this St Kilda residence (she explains ‘lets just say it wasn’t via the usual means – serendipity, lots of patience, and a story best shared over a bottle of wine’), it is clear that she is right at home. She enthuses ‘I feel eternally grateful to live here and come home to this space. The greenery, watching the garden grow and change shapes in the seasons, it’s an absolute gift!’