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

An Interior Designer's 'Comfortably Minimal' Home

Homes

Searching for your dream property can come with many compromises… location, size, price! But for interior designer Karin Altman, being able to see the potential in a home that was outside of her initial vision has resulted in a dream house!

Karin shares her ‘comfortably minimal’ Glen Iris home with daughters Milla (9) and Gia (7) and their cats Pepper and Zizi.

4th December, 2019

The pitched roof was one of the main selling points of the house and one of the only features remaining of the original interior. Art work is ‘pity party’ by Brad Teodoruk from Studio Gallery, macramé plant hanger brought back from Paris.Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Karin, Milla & Gia in the open plan living area with the new addition to the family kitten Zizi. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The dining area has been the centre stage for many late night dinner parties. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The interiors were completely striped back and re designed. Large painting by Kerry Armstrong, Sisters Lounge by Dowel Jones, and a collection of new and antique objects collected over the years. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Detail of Kartell T- table by Patricia Urquiola from Space Furniture and wire sculpture by Kenya Peterson. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Relax in the spacious living room! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

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

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

Karin explains ‘A Sunday trip to the Vietnamese market never fails to deliver dinner inspiration.’ Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The main bathroom is minimal and full of light. Striped towel by Loom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Master bedroom with custom bedhead, cushion throw and light by SIM-PLI interiors. Art by Kerry Armstrong and ceramic vessel by Simone Karras. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Gia’s bedroom with art by Lucy Tiffney and linen from Milou Milou. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Gia’s (6) bedroom is full of creative projects like this denim jacket she made herself! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 4th December 2019

‘I like to experiment with different styles, change up the art and objects and move things around.’- Karin Altman.

Karin Altman’s Glen Iris residence is a serene home, filled with pops of personality and colour. Karin and her daughters moved in three years ago, and Karin immediately set about putting her skills to the test, designing and planning her renovation.

It was love at first sight for Karin, when she spotted the exposed high ceilings and the open calmness of the home. She explains ‘even though it was extremely dated, it just had the softest most beautiful natural light and I knew I could be very happy there.’ Karin had been looking for a place for over 18 months, but ‘finding a free standing three bedroom family sized home with renovation potential on an apartment size budget… proved rather difficult!’

While the home wasn’t what Karin had in mind, as was outside of the area she initially wanted, she highlights ‘to my surprise I completely fell in love with it when I saw it.’ The warehouse vibe of the property, in contrast to the ‘posh area’ was an intriguing proposition, and the home offered three ‘good sized bedrooms’ and a large dining area with good potential for transformation. Karin explains ‘I opened up a wall to include the kitchen with the living dining area, closed off a small laundry and added a second powder room.’

Karin completely gutted the interiors, before adding her own personal flair. She describes the place as ‘comfortably minimal’, where a neutral base of Dulux Antique White walls, sits against light oak floors, punctuated by vibrant artwork and collectibles. She enthuses ‘my style is constantly evolving and changing, I’m a decorator and constantly like to experiment with different styles, change up the art and objects and move things around.’ As Karin’s first solo home as a decorator, the space perfectly captures her love of playing with scale and colour.

For Karin, the only difficulty in this renovation was downsizing from a considerably larger home, without making this space feel cluttered or over-done. Opening up the main living and dining area allowed her to still be able to invite all her family and friends over for dinner parties, and her interest in pursuing a more sustainable way of living meant that compromising on a few things, like having less storage space, was a sacrifice she was willing to make. For Karin and her kids, this vibrant, personality-filled home is everything they need!

This Week

Studio Visit

The Miniature Boat Maker Working Out Of An Off-Grid Shipping Container

Meet Captain Elise Cameron Smith – ‘miniature boat maker and builder of dreams’!

Dream Job

The Perks Of Being a Food Writer, According To One Of Australia’s Top Restaurant Critics!

Senior restaurant critic at The Age, Gemima Cody, shares what it's really like to be a food writer.

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions Of 2020

Calendars out! Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2020, Australia wide.

Architecture

A Sleek, Shed-Style Home In Rural Victoria

Inside Lovell Burton's refined Macedon Ranges home.

Architecture

A Contemporary Home Inspired By Heritage Architecture

Wolveridge Architecture balance contemporary design and art deco references, in Melbourne's Ascot Vale.

Stays

An 1853 Daylesford Homestead Turned Charming Holiday Rental

Theresa Albiloi and Tony De Marco have transformed an 1853 Daylesford house into the beautiful accomodation, The Station House.

Homes

Living The Regional Dream In Strzelecki, South Gippsland!

Treechangers Shelley and Tom Banders share their charming home, surrounded by rolling hills in regional Victoria.

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Fragrant Roast Chicken With Mango Salad

Julia shares an innovative recipe to put all those delicious summer mangos to excellent use!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Architecture

A Home That Completely Transforms With A Few Quick Switches

Designed as an artist's retreat using mostly recycled materials, The Sawmill House by Archier is a home for all seasons!

News

Your Favourite Ceramicists In One Group Show!

Shop works from Oh Hey Grace, Peta Armstrong, Rara Studio, Emma Gale and Mel Lumb in this group show at Nikau in Byron’s Art and Industria...

Giveaway

Take Our Reader Survey and WIN One of Two Amazing Getaways!

WIN a luxurious stay + spa package at Halcyon House on the NSW north coast, or Lon Retreat in Point Lonsdale!

Shopping

Perfect Indoor Planters From The Plant Society And Capra Designs

A collaboration between The Plant Society and Capra Designs – we're loving these architecture-inspired planters!

News

Make Your Pledge To Protect The Bush

Independent not-for-profit Bush Heritage calls on the community to pledge their commitment to land and wildlife protection and conversation....
Sponsored

Architecture

Is This Australia's Answer to Palm Springs' Iconic Kaufmann House?

A seriously impressive home in Toowoomba, Queensland by Shaun Lockyer Architects, inspired by mid-century architecture.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

Tamsin Johnson's Tamarama Wonder!

Interior designer Tamsin Johnson shares her serene beach side family home.

Homes

Morocco Meets Mallorca... In Melbourne!

Interior architect Georgia Ezra shares her renovated Spanish Mission style family home in Caulfield.

Homes

A Home Fit For A Ceramics Queen!

Irina Rybakov of pépite shares her pottery filled Northcote home.

This Week

Architecture

A Home That Completely Transforms With A Few Quick Switches

Designed as an artist's retreat using mostly recycled materials, The Sawmill House by Archier is a home for all seasons!

Architecture

A Contemporary Home Inspired By Heritage Architecture

Wolveridge Architecture balance contemporary design and art deco references, in Melbourne's Ascot Vale.

Architecture

A Sleek, Shed-Style Home In Rural Victoria

Inside Lovell Burton's refined Macedon Ranges home.

Homes

Living The Regional Dream In Strzelecki, South Gippsland!

Treechangers Shelley and Tom Banders share their charming home, surrounded by rolling hills in regional Victoria.

Architecture

Is This Australia's Answer to Palm Springs' Iconic Kaufmann House?

A seriously impressive home in Toowoomba, Queensland by Shaun Lockyer Architects, inspired by mid-century architecture.

News

Make Your Pledge To Protect The Bush

Independent not-for-profit Bush Heritage calls on the community to pledge their commitment to land and wildlife protection and conversation....
Sponsored

Stays

An 1853 Daylesford Homestead Turned Charming Holiday Rental

Theresa Albiloi and Tony De Marco have transformed an 1853 Daylesford house into the beautiful accomodation, The Station House.

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Fragrant Roast Chicken With Mango Salad

Julia shares an innovative recipe to put all those delicious summer mangos to excellent use!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Dream Job

The Perks Of Being a Food Writer, According To One Of Australia’s Top Restaurant Critics!

Senior restaurant critic at The Age, Gemima Cody, shares what it's really like to be a food writer.

News

Your Favourite Ceramicists In One Group Show!

Shop works from Oh Hey Grace, Peta Armstrong, Rara Studio, Emma Gale and Mel Lumb in this group show at Nikau in Byron’s Art and Industria...

Giveaway

Take Our Reader Survey and WIN One of Two Amazing Getaways!

WIN a luxurious stay + spa package at Halcyon House on the NSW north coast, or Lon Retreat in Point Lonsdale!

Art

10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions Of 2020

Calendars out! Our pick of not-to-be-missed art exhibitions for 2020, Australia wide.

Studio Visit

The Miniature Boat Maker Working Out Of An Off-Grid Shipping Container

Meet Captain Elise Cameron Smith – ‘miniature boat maker and builder of dreams’!

Shopping

Perfect Indoor Planters From The Plant Society And Capra Designs

A collaboration between The Plant Society and Capra Designs – we're loving these architecture-inspired planters!

Similar Stories

Homes

Tamsin Johnson's Tamarama Wonder!

Interior designer Tamsin Johnson shares her serene beach side family home.

Homes

Morocco Meets Mallorca... In Melbourne!

Interior architect Georgia Ezra shares her renovated Spanish Mission style family home in Caulfield.

Homes

A Home Fit For A Ceramics Queen!

Irina Rybakov of pépite shares her pottery filled Northcote home.