A Colourful, Art-Filled Family Home In Balmain

We’ve been doing everything possible to bring you our usual weekly Wednesday home features on The Design Files this year, but it hasn’t always been easy! With Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions putting a stop to our regular photoshoots for months, we’ve been sourcing new interstate contributors, and even asking a handful of photographers to shoot their own homes! 

Today, we’re dipping into our archives to revisit the renovated Balmain terrace of Sophie Trippe-Smith, entrepreneur Adam Trippe-Smith, their children Emerson and Tatum, and dog Pepper.  We also caught up with Sophie to learn what new art purchases she’s made over the past year, and what’s in store for the near future! 

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The dining area of Sophie Trippe-Smith’s colourful home in Balmain! Artworks from left to right: Mark Howson, Esther Stewart, Bec Smith, and Mignon Steele. wall hanging from a recent trip to Paris. Custom table and chairs by Koskela. 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.

Sophie in front of her favourite artworks in the house, by Mark Howson and Esther Stewart! ‘I love being surrounded by colour and beauty!’, she says! Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

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.

The light-filled kitchen area. Light by Spence and Lyda. Stools by Hay. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sophie in her lush urban garden. ‘Walking out here is serenity!’ Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘My happy corner!’ says Sophie. GUBI Grasshopper floor lamp. Handpainted cushions from John Robshaw (sourced by Kate Bell Design). Artwork on wall by Sharon Candy. Artwork on fireplace by Anna Mac (an artist Sophie discovered on Instagram). Special pieces and art collected on travels to Paris, Italy and the UK line the shelves. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vintage mirror given to Sophie by an old friend. Brass vessels from The Line in LA. Small artwork by Kay Singleton Keller. Artwork on shelf by Pip Bishop. Artek Shelf. Bronze piece on shelf by Mark Howson. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The cosy, comfy living room (featuring Pepper) on an MCM couch. Artworks by Sharon Candy. Artek Bench GUBI lamp. Handpainted cushions by John Robshaw. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Gorgeous arch details in the hallway. Artwork on left by Rachael McCully Kerwick. Small side table by Muuto. Geometric artwork on walls Louise Tuckwell. Artwork on staircase Kasper Raglus Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The parents’ retreat! Custom bedhead by Kate Bell design, covered in fabric by Christopher Farr Cloth. ‘I couldn’t be happier with my wardrobe designed by Kate Bell – it was so tricky in this small space!’ Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The rooftop terrace designed by Adam Robinson Design. Chair by EMU. Table by Jardan. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Our beautiful home! A true traditional terrace. We wouldn’t have it any othe way!’. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
7th of October 2020

Sophie Trippe-Smith and her family have lived in this 1880s Balmain terrace home since 2013. 

After a few years in the house, they decided to enhance the good bones of the property with a fresh lick of paint inside and out, and some structural renovations. The family bravely decided to live in the home throughout the renovation, which Sophie admits was challenging, but says, ‘We overcame this by having a positive happy, attitude and a “light at the end of the tunnel” feeling!’

Sophie is a born and bred Balmain enthusiast, and describes ‘walking up and down this street since I was a little girl, thinking that one day I would like to live here.’ The family initially lived just around the corner, but outgrew their small property. When this terrace came on the market, Sophie walked inside and instantly fell in love.

Her adoration of the property has only grown with the renovations, with the new garden oasis and double garage providing added sanctuary and functionality to the home. The renovations also include new joinery and lighting in all of the bedrooms. 

Sophie says she was initially slightly daunted by the renovation process, but found reassurance in the capable hands of interior designer Kate Bell and landscape designer Adam Robinson.

The home is now filled colour, personality and beloved items. Sophie explains, ‘I feel like my home’s style is always evolving. I adore eclectic, colourful interesting pieces. I don’t really like anything to match.’ Favourite treasures include the Gubi Beetle chair covered in green velvet (that no one but Sophie is allowed to sit in!) and a grasshopper floor lamp. This colour carries into the dining area, with its green leather banquette seat.

A self-described ‘art addict’, Sophie cannot choose her favourite artwork, but she loves the Esther Stewart piece in the dining room, and the neighbouring Mark Howson work. ‘They are both Melbourne artists, and seem to complement each other and just complete the house,’ she says. 

Since our original visit, Sophie has added even more art to the home, including a painting of the Australian bush by Melinda Marshman, an abstract painting by Helen Eater, a floral work on paper by Galina Munroe, a sculpture by Jane McKenzie, and a portrait of herself by Vanessa Stockard. ‘My kids are still getting used to having Mum on the wall watching their every move!’ Sophie says. 

The family are also currently in the middle of kitchen renovations, to open up this space and bring more of the outdoors in. 

The pièce de résistance of this home is the rooftop terrace, which offers views across to the Sydney CBD. The family love dining on the roof, waving goodbye to a cruise ship, and watching the sunset. Sigh – Sydney living never looked so good!

Sophie is currently establishing a new art business, after following her passion and completing an art curating course at Sotheby’s in London at the beginning of this year. Stay tuned to her Instagram for the details and launch!

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