Melissa Harris (aka ‘Maj’ of cult cakes Those We Fancy) and Harry moved into their Box Hill home in 2012, but the dreamy vintage-inspired atmospheric scenes pictured here took A LOT of work to realise. When they moved in, Maj describes is was a true ‘renovators delight’ of 1940s red brick. It took some creative vision to see past the ‘many layers of wallpaper, icky yellow stained walls, brown and gold carpeted bathroom (!) and the freezing outside toilet/laundry.’ Hard to believe this warm and charming family home was once an ugly duckling!
Before the family moved in, they cleverly knocked out the wall between the kitchen and original bedroom to create an open plan living/dining/kitchen space, and remodeled the bathroom. Maj highlights that resourcefulness was key in undertaking renovations, and when remodelling the kitchen ‘we were on a very tight budget, so IKEA was the perfect choice.’ She cleverly used the basic off-the-shelf options, and then added her own spin, with vintage fittings and handmade timber shelves.
After living in the home for several years, and getting to know the space and the rhythms of family life, Maj and Harry embarked on a second round of renos, to create new connections with the outdoors and move living space. Maj explains ‘I had been creating the space in my head for years before we started, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make it all out.’
The design of the new space deliberately connects with the existing home, and Maj describes ‘I wanted it to feel like it had always been here, so I made sure to keep with the original character of the house, such as continuing the picture railing throughout the new space, adding matching cornices, and adding ceiling roses.’ While it took many years and a lot of work, Maj enthuses ‘I never thought I would ever say that “I love” this home, but over time and a lot of hard work I can now say I truly do.’
The interiors reflect Maj and her family’s character. She describes her style as ‘vintage, vintage and vintage, with lashings of linen, floral prettiness and the smell of baked goods thrown in for good measure.’ You can ALMOST smell the scent of cakes through the photos! The home isn’t overly curated, but is a space filled with objects and pieces the family loves. Maj’s previous training as a florist in her 20s shines through, as floral poseys and blooming bunches are spotted throughout the home. The space is also brought to life through the warmth of Dulux Monument Grey on the exterior and all of the trims.
While this house feels fully resolved to us, Maj’s Instagram handle remains @maj_and_the_half_done_house. She explains ‘with old homes I don’t believe they can ever be completely “done.” The layers of home can always be added to, with another bunch of flowers, and scent of cakes pulled freshly from the oven!’