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A Home With A Warm Hart

Homes

When our photographer and stylist went to document doula Sunni Hart’s Eltham home, they were immediately welcomed by six year old Fox, who confidently took them on a tour of his room, introduced them to his pet fish, and the balcony where he feeds the parrots.

While Fox’s guided explanation is for visitors only, today we share Sunni’s tour of this dreamy gum-tree surrounded rental that she shares with partner Pete Baxter, and kids Fox (6) and Dizzy (8 months).

17th July, 2019

The warm, sunny rental home in Eltham of Sunni Hart, Pete Baxter and their kids Fox and Dizzy. Looking into the kitchen. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lisa Sorgini photo looking over the breakfast table. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The home was originally designed by Australian designer, builder and landscape architect Alistair Knox, who is renowned for many wonderful homes in the Eltham area. Pop and Scott Dreamweaver Pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The reading nook with a delightful ‘hodge-podge’ of secondhand furniture. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Plenty of indoor greenery creates a wonderful link between interior and exterior. Ercol chairs. Tiled pizza shop table. Pop and Scott cylinder potsPhoto – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A corner of the kitchen. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The reading nook and and one (!) of the fireplaces! Painting by Gabriel Curtain. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Nell Pearson painting. Alice McIntosh sculpture. Candlesticks from Modern Times. Found water vessel. Anchor pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The master bedroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Dizzy’s cot in the master bedroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kids’ playroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kids’ playroom +Fox’s room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Pete holding Dizzy, Fox and Sunni. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

”I sobbed with happiness that all I could see were trees around me’ Sunni said of the first night they moved in. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Strong Eltham vibes! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sunni and Dizzy outside their sprawling home. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Another house on the property. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 17th July 2019

‘I sobbed with happiness that all I could see were trees around me’ – Sunni Hart.

This sprawling Eltham property is home to doula Sunni Hart, partner Pete Baxter (founder of Hope St Radio) and their two adorable kids Fox and Dizzy. However, moving into this bright, expansive home wasn’t completely straight forward. After Sunni initially spied the property for sale on Modernist Australia, she had to admit it was beyond her price-range and move on, a little heartbroken. Months later, and still daydreaming about the Alistair Knox designed home, the opportunity to rent popped up – and Sunni and family jumped! She cheerfully explains ‘it was truly meant to be, and made me believe in manifestation just that little bit more.’

Sunni reflects on the day they moved in, with baby Dizzy just eight weeks old. ‘I sat on the lounge room floor amongst all the boxes to feed him and sobbed with happiness that all I could see were trees around me.’ The Eltham retreat is vast (friends live in the hexagon house in the garden), but Sunni explains that it still possesses enormous ‘hygge and warmth, with so much beautiful natural light.’

The interiors blend the history of the house (including a pool table built in 1890 from fiddleback wood, and bluestone stone floor) with Sunni and Pete’s own ‘happy hodge-podge’ of treasured possessions. Sunni describes a mutual love of natural materials and bright colours, that create an understated eclectic vibe here. The home is scattered with artworks from friends (including a painting by Gabriel Curtin and collection of Nell Pearson works), ‘lucky finds’ items of furniture, and a ‘gazillion’ plants.

Sunni and Pete’s life in Eltham is spent sharing the balcony with bold king parrots, and meandering through the bushy surrounds. We can understand why Sunni fell in love with this place!

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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.

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