The Top 10 Most Loved Homes Of 2019!

Our Wednesday home tours are some of our favourite stories to photograph and write – and week in, week out, these stories are hands down, the most popular content on this whole website!

After almost 12 years (!) of TDF, even we’re surprised that somehow we manage to find an amazing new Australian home every week. From a jaw-dropping warehouse conversion, to an enchanting urban treehouse, today we look back on the most popular home tours this year!


Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The entry area to Mardi Ola’s spectacular converted warehouse in South Yarra. Antique cabinet filled with various art pieces: David Bromley ‘Noah’s Ark Bronze Animals’, Gemma Smith acrylic sculpture from Sarah Cottier Gallery, and Vanilla Netto neon from Arc One Gallery. Vintage Soriana sofas purchased on 1st Dibs. Painting by Gemma Smith from Sarah Cottier Gallery. Painting in hallway by Vanilla Netto from Arc One Gallery. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

View of the library. Vintage pendant from 1st Dibs. Jardan ‘Sunny’ sofa. Behruz Studio rug. Joe Columbo ‘Elda’ chair. Curtis Jére ‘Brads’ table lamp. Maria Fernando Cardoso feathered hanging totem from Arc One Gallery. ‘Blow Up’ chair from 2st Dibs. Gemma Smith paintings from Sarah Cottier gallery. Vintage leather dining chairs from 1st Dibs. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘This is actually the girls’ homework table – it’s never looked neater!’ Mardi says. Solid oak tripod table by Louella Tuckey. Vintage Japanese glass vessels on table from Made In Japan. Industrial steel doors and windows by Skyrange. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

View into the kitchen. Lacanche range, custom brass rangehood surround. Solid European oak joinery with stone masonry by Hendersons (‘seriously the best laughs ever working with those guys!’ Mardi says), vintage plaster from Geoffrey Hatty. Swing placement by Louella Tuckey – who insisted Mardi needed it in the kitchen. Cappellini ‘Hi-Pad’ stools from Dedece. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Jaw-Dropping Apartment Is One Of Australia’s First Warehouse Conversions

Everyone is now familiar with the converted warehouse… but this was one of the first examples in Australia! This home of designer Mardi Orla is seriously jaw-dropping, with soaring ceilings and a New-York-In-The-60s vibe. The vintage mushroom collection is NOT TO BE SCROLLED OVER. We can hardly believe this home is in Melbourne!

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Looking through the dining room out to the garden. Lamps in distance by PET Lamp from Safari Living. Washed blue cabinet from Manon bis. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A quiet nook. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Barb in her lush European garden, which she created with the help of local landscaper Gavin Smith. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Stylish, Sentimental Home In St Kilda

When our art director Annie Portelli gets excited about a home she’s styled for one of our shoots, we sit up and pay attention. Annie was seriously buzzing over the St Kilda home of Barb Hyman and her family. Barb renovated this once derelict grand mansion, into a chic and sprawling terrace of finely crafted luxury.

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The dining room looking out over that beautiful Warrandyte view! Wall hanging, cushion and ottoman by Sage x Clare. Leather chaise, dining table, wooden hand and shell chandelier all found at vintage bazaars. Dining chairs from Instagram account @ccss_tm. Jardan rug found on Gumtree. Lighting by Lights Lights Lights. Swing by Jesse Cleay.  Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Papasan chair from Gumtree. Cushion by Sage x Clare. Indigenous art from Leonard Joel. Palmtree art by Natalie Jade via Greenhouse Interiors. Black and white pot from Iggy & Lou Lou. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The amazing outdoor area. Dining chairs from Ikea. Table from Gumtree. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Warrandyte Delight

Over the last few years we’ve seen so many Melbournian’s head to Warrandyte in search of a tree change close to the city. Another major plus is the incredible modernist and mid-century homes you can still find in wonderful condition in the area! The unconventional property of Sage and Clare’s Phoebe Bell and Chris Monahan is a perfect example. The sprawling property is home to two families, filled with colourful art and objects, with sweeping views over the treetops.

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The southern shady garden view of the house. The reading room upstairs angles to look out at the large snow gum. The rain chain was at the request from Fleur and carries rain from the small roof. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

View from the kitchen through the hallway and into the guest bedroom. Fleur’s father collected old books, and she says she has ‘inherited a love for them’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

View from the living room to the dining and kitchen, as well as the deck and garden (partially established here by Bush Projects Landscape Architects). Another piece from the early morning group trip to the timber yard, which according to Fleur is ‘lovely to hug’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Magical Inner City Treehouse

Fleur Glenn’s treehouse, designed by architect Murray Barker, is truly something to behold. This charming, yet contemporary home in Clifton Hill perfectly caters to this empty-nester’s book filled and tree-lined life!

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‘When we bought the house, only the left side was there. We felt the house looked unbalanced so when drawing up the plans we wanted to balance it out. We used the same colourbond steel and existing design features as we wanted it to look like it had always been like this, and not a new extension. We were so lucky with our builder as he had done the original renovation the year before so was across all the finishes and colours we needed. I love the dark tones of this house against all the greenery’, Chyka explains. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The outdoor area is one of Chyka’s favourite places. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

This room was originally a gallery and didn’t really work for Bruce and Chyka. They decided to double the width and turn the colour scheme black – they wanted it to look dramatic, so peaked the ceiling to add the drama with three antler chandeliers. The room is light and bright thanks to the doors to the courtyard. The couch and chairs were old ones they recovered. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The Impossibly Chic Chyka Weekender

Chyka Keebaugh puts her own distinctive flair on her ‘Nordic meets The Hamptons’ weekender! The Big Group co-founder was scrolling through instagram when she spied this holiday home (seriously!) and secured the property! Together with husband Bruce, Chyka embarked on large-scale renovations, including extending the grand master bedroom and major landscaping around THAT spectacular new pool.

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Sophie’s favourite view. ‘We decided to lay a ceramic tile that looks like wood in the kitchen and take it out to the garden. No one realises it’s actually a tile’ Sophie reveals! Rug from Pompon Bazar. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A snapshot of some of Sophie’s favourite artworks, by Esther Stewart and Bec Smith. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sophie’s Gubi beetle chair sitting on the edge of the living room. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Colourful, Art-Filled Family Home in Balmain

Fashion industry expert Sophie Trippe-Smith and her entrepreneur husband Adam  have got some SERIOUS style! This bright and cheerful renovated 1880’s Balmain terrace is filled with colourful Australian artwork and eclectic pieces.

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The bright and joyful house of Kip&Co co-founder Alex McCabe, partner Bobby Babb and 10-month old Quincy! Pink concrete bench by Rutso, ‘the one thing I absolutely wanted for the house and love it’, Alex tells. Crocodile bamboo quartz splashback, found by Bobby and Alex peeking out from a dusty corner of a stone warehouse in Melbourne. Aged brass cabinets ‘roughed up” by Alex and Bobby with some apple cider vinegar. Black paper maché vase from India. Blue and white Italianate ceramic pot handed down from Alex’s grandma. A mix of European pottery and Indian paper maché vases on the shelf. Custom-made stools by Jason Blake. Mud Australia Pebble Bowl Large in Slate used as a fruit bowl. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bedding and rug are new season Kip&Co (available in March!). Simple bedside tables from Grandfathers Axe. Bedside lamps from Cove Island Essentials in Canggu, Bali. Paintings are by Nancy Nodea and Peggy Patrick from the Warmun Art Centre, ‘both artists are from the Kimberley and work in traditional style, including using ochre from the local area.’ Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Outdoor chairs from Bali. Marble table top sourced on a trip to India. ‘Kip&Co’s manufacturing base is in India, so we try to get there at least twice a year’, Alex tells ‘Sometimes we get some time to sneak off and connect with amazing local artisans, like those in the stone workshop where this table is from’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Home Of Joy And Light With Alex McCabe In Kip&Co

The home of Alex McCabe, founder of Kip&Co is, unsurprisingly, a joyful burst of colour!  Bright pops of art, textiles and objects create a unique sense of character in this St Kilda home, but the scene-stealer for us is that kitchen splashback. So glam!

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Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Timeless Beachside Home Of A Magazine Industry Legend

Deborah Bibby is a magazine industry legend, having spent 11 years as Editor-In-Chief at Real Living Magazine, as well as working as editor at JONES Magazine, Dolly, and Cleo. What a line-up! Deb brings her exacting eye for detail to this renovated beachside haven. A timeless delight!

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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. 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. Styling – Annie Portelli.

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

A Home With A Warm Hart

Doula Sunni Hart is a veritable ray of sunshine, so it is no surprise that the Eltham home she shares with partner Pete their two kids, Fox and Dizzy, as well as housemates Tilly and Thea, is a warm and welcoming space. The sprawling Alistair Knox-designed property was a dream come true for Sunni, who has long loved the Eltham home. The family have brought their own personal flair to this mid-century delight, introducing their own ’hodge-podge’ of treasured collections to the stunning home.

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The custom-designed mousehole entrance to Emma and Tom Lane’s spectacular Spanish-inspired home in the Byron Hinterland. Dragon tree in custom-designed corten pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room. 300-year-old Croatian roof tiles sourced by Sonya from Jatana Tiles line the floor. Oregon timber shelves made from the old roof trusses in the original house. Sunken lounge designed in partnership with Sarah Ellison Studios. Rafters made from recycled spotted gum from a bridge in Goulburn. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room, overlooking the expansive property. Sunken lounge designed in partnership with Sarah Ellison Studios. Coffee table from Ha’veli of Byron Bay. Solid stone Byron Bay-built fireplace made from basalt rocks foraged on the property. Rafters made from recycled spotted gum from a bridge in Goulburn.Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The pool area overlooking the Byron Hinterlands.Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Spectacular Spanish-Influenced Homestead In The Byron Hinterland

If there was one hone that really took our collective breath away this year, this was it. Emma and Tom Lane of the beloved The Farm in Byron Bay shared their own spectacular home in Coopers Shoot in the Byron Hinterland. The Range is set on 120 acres and was designed and built using adaptive reuse principles, with an emphasis on natural and recycled materials. The result it a serene and luxurious haven, designed for inside/outside living. Seriously, if this isn’t ‘living the dream’, we don’t know what is!

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