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An Art-Filled Melbourne Family Home, With Santorini Vibes!

Homes

Looking at the images of this home alone, with its references to various design periods and geographical influences, it isn’t easy to determine its location!

What looks like it could be an elegant Santorini contemporary gallery is actually the family home of artist and interior decorator Phoebe Rolleston, George Rolleston, and their children Humphry (7), Louis (5), and William (3), located in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris!  

Formerly a quirky ‘80s property, renovations by architect Lucy Bowen have totally transformed this home, complemented by an ever-changing display of original art.

26th August, 2020

Green painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Portrait of man in black hat is ‘Untitled Face’ by Angus Jones, bought at auction from Bonhams. Centre painting The Rider’ by Harley Manifold. Portrait of man in yellow hat from The Winsome Collection. Blue crowns painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Painting above fireplace by Oscar Perry from The Commercial Gallery. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe S 533 chairs from Anibou. Lemon bowl from Brownlow Interior Design. Antique chest and small French antique table from Miguel Meirelles Antiques. Light blue Hale Mercantile cushion from Manon Bis. Dark blue and green Caravane Paris cushions from Brownlow Interior Design. Striped velvet cushion custom-made by Phoebe Rolleston Interiors in Kelly Wearstler fabric. Sofa and Soul sofas. Timber sculptures by Hugh McCarthy. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Painting by Oscar Perry from The Commercial Gallery Ludwig Mies van der Rohe S 533 chairs from Anibou. Lemon bowl from Brownlow Interior Design. Rug from Bayliss Rugs. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Phoebe with Humphry (7), Louis (5), and William (3)! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Ligne Roset ottoman via Domo. Painting by Oscar Perry from The Commercial Gallery Ludwig Mies van der Rohe S 533 chairs from Anibou. Lemon bowl from Brownlow Interior Design. Rug from Bayliss Rugs. Styling – Annie Portelli

Paintings in entry and in distance by Phoebe Rolleston. Light blue Hale Mercantile from Manon Bis cushion. Dark blue and green Caravane Paris cushions via Brownlow Interior DesignSofa and Soul sofa. Timber sculpture by Hugh McCarthy. Rug from Bayliss Rugs. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Curtains and blinds by Lucy Bowen. Timber sculpture by Hugh McCarthy. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe S 533 chairs from Anibou. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Portrait of man in black hat is ‘Untitled Face’ by Angus Jones, bought at auction from Bonhams in Armadale. Centre painting The Rider’ by Harley Manifold. Portrait of man in yellow hat from The Winsome Collection. Blue crowns painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Light blue Hale Mercantile from Manon Bis cushion. Dark blue and green Caravane Paris cushions via Brownlow Interior Design. Striped velvet cushion custom-made by Phoebe Rolleston Interiors in Kelly Wearstler fabric. Sofa and Soul sofa. Gervasoni InOut side table via Anibou. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The timber Sculptures were custom-made for the house by the owner’s great friend (and Louis’ godfather!) Hugh McCarthy. ‘He designed these after visiting us one night and we absolutely love them, his craftsmanship is unbelievable and he’s incredibly creative,’ says Phoebe. Iris Apfel painting by Kate Carnegie. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Butter tray, red and white speckled jug, terracotta vase, and two plates with faces from Brownlow Interior Design. White bobble jug by Astier de Villatte via Coote & Co. Bowls and mugs from Made + More. Papavero Raggiante suspension lamp by Opinion Ciatti via Artemest. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Papavero Raggiante suspension lamp by Opinion Ciatti via Artemest. Butter tray, red and white speckled jug, terracotta vase, and two plates with faces from Brownlow Interior Design. White bobble jug by Astier de Villatte via Coote & Co. Bowls, jug and mugs from Made + More. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Unknown painting – a gift from Phoebe’s mum! Butter tray and plates with faces from Brownlow Interior Design. White bobble jug by Astier de Villatte via Coote & Co. Bowls and jug from Made + More. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Butter tray, terracotta vase, and two plates with faces from Brownlow Interior Design. White bobble jug by Astier de Villatte via Coote & Co. Bowls, jug and mugs from Made + More. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Large painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Light fitting from Tigger Hall Design. French table a gift from George’s parents when they moved into their first house. Portrait of Phoebe’s grandmother, left to her by her. ‘I had it reframed which has given it new life. It is very dear to me,’ Phoebe says. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Casala chair bought from auction at Leonard Joel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

White cushions are Hale Mercantile Co from Manon Bis. Ikea bed linen. Custom-made bedhead by Phoebe Rolleston Interiors. Lamp bought years ago from Leonard Joel, and is one of Phoebe’s favourite things in the house. ‘The two portraits were done by James Govett, and my dad left them to me,’ Phoebe says. ‘One is a portrait of my dad and the other is of me when I was about six. My grandmother loved Govett’s work and commissioned him to paint us all over the years. I’ve put them right next to my bed as they mean a lot to me.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Custom-made bedhead by Phoebe Rolleston Interiors. White cushions are Hale Mercantile Co from Manon BisJardan bed linen. Antique chest from Miguel Meirelles Antiques. Painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Watercolour painting of seagull was done by Phoebe’s mum, Annabelle Pobjoy. Artemide Tolomeo lamp. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Large painting by Phoebe Rolleston. Medium painting by George’s mum as a present for Louis. Two small paintings by Phoebe’s mum, Annabelle Pobjoy. Antique chest bought at auction from Gibson’s. Orange Planet lamp bought at auction from Leonard Joel. Monkey collage given to Louis by his godmother. Ikea cushions and bed linen. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Exterior paint colours mixed by Phoebe. Landscape design and pots by Andrew Panton Design. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Paint colours personally mixed by Phoebe. Early Settler outdoor chairs. Terracotta pot from Andrew Panton Design. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Outdoor table from Edward Clark Antiques. Paint colours personally mixed by Phoebe. Early Settler outdoor chairs. Terracotta pot from Andrew Panton Design. Landscape design by Andrew Panton Design. Landscaping by Perennial Landscaping. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 26th August 2020

‘It wasn’t a conscious thing, but we ended up with a house that has almost a gallery feel about it.’ – Phoebe Rolleston

Some people know exactly what they’re after when looking to buy a home. For Phoebe Rolleston, it’s all about the feeling. 

When the artist and her husband, finance professional George Rolleston, first stepped into this Glen Iris home in 2014, she instantly knew this was the one. ‘It was one of the first houses we looked at, and the first one we bid on,’ she says. ‘We are decisive people. We loved the feel of the house immediately.’ Once the couple moved in, everything fell into place. ‘It was quickly filled with all the things we love, including our first baby Humphry, who took his first steps here the week we moved in,’ Phoebe says.

One element that stands out about this home is its charmingly eclectic design influences. Believed to be built in 1980 (and renovated multiple times since) the house contains Japanese inspired elements, alongside quirky ‘80s proportions, and a facade that resembles a Scandinavian lodge. ‘It’s a real mixed bag, and we love that about,’ says Phoebe.

The couple redid the bathrooms not long after moving in, but deliberately waited several years before undergoing major renovations. ‘We waited to renovate for five years, to ensure we were really certain about what we wanted to change and achieve, and to make sure it still felt like home at the end of all the work,’ says Phoebe.

Architect Lucy Bowen was engaged to design the renovation, including the extension containing the rumpus room and office. ‘The existing living, dining and kitchen area were also redesigned with a new life and style,’ says Phoebe. New materials and textures were introduced to create a relaxed environment suitable for the young family, and a pool was also added in the backyard. 

Lucy’s design plays on the home’s existing features, adding further character in the form of raised skirting, indented shelving, and retaining plenty of wall space for art. Many paintings are by Phoebe herself, and whenever a piece is sold, she creates a new one to hang in its place! ‘It wasn’t a conscious thing, but we ended up with a house that has almost a gallery feel about it,’ she says.

Giving the home its Santorini-esque aesthetic is the use of natural textures such as rattan, concrete, travertine, and of course, the stark white walls with a pale green trim on the doors and rear exterior. Nearly all the paint colours were personally mixed by Phoebe, who did all the interior decorating, and spent plenty of time ensuring the pale green in particular was perfect! ‘I was very careful not to have a green that was too minty or too yellow, so there were many tests done,’ she says. ‘The builders thought we were mad I think!’

Renovations of this home are now complete, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed. Standing in the house today, Phoebe says the home still emits that same distinct feeling she experienced on the very first inspection. ‘I love houses that have a good energy – where you can relax and feel at home, rather than something too formal or precious,’ she says. ‘We are so happy we haven’t lost that feeling that we got the first time we came here.’ 

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