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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!

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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.