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

A Designer’s Richly Layered Rental!

Homes

The power of decoration is on full display in the gorgeous rented Melbourne home of Sarah Shinners, design manager at Simone Haag (you might recognise her from our Dream Job column!), and prosthetist Patrick Shinners. 

When the couple moved into the Clifton Hill property in 2013, the interiors were covered in the one shade of beige. Fortunately, thanks to their flexible landlord, Sarah and Patrick were able to cosmetically transform the property, introducing new paint colours and curtains along the way.

Their home today is a warm, welcoming and layered space, dotted with art and objects created and collected over many years. Just goes to show – you don’t need to own your home, to make it your own!

11th November, 2020

Artwork and mirror made by Sarah. Large white planter found on Facebook Marketplace. Plants from The Plant Society. Vintage coffee table via Curated Spaces. Cassina ‘Wink’ armchair from Smith Street Bazaar. The vintage sofa is a hand-me-down from Sarah’s parents, which is older than her! Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

The design extraordinaire herself, Sarah Shinners! Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Planter and plant underneath from The Plant Society. Cushions from Kip&Co. Vintage coffee table via Curated Spaces. Cassina ‘Wink’ chair via Smith Street Bazaar. Side table from Weylandts. Magazine rack via Design Stuff. Lamp from Ikea. Vintage sofa.  Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Planter and plant underneath from The Plant Society. Cushions from Kip&Co. Vintage coffee table via Curated Spaces. Cassina ‘Wink’ chair via Smith Street Bazaar. Side table from Weylandts. Magazine rack via Design Stuff. Lamp from Ikea. Vintage sofa. Painting by Van Tho purchased in Vietnam. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Mirror and art by Sarah. Stool custom made by Harbro Furniture upholstered in fabric from Kelly Wearstler available at Elliott Clarke. Vintage sideboard, found on the roadside in Brisbane, restored by Sarah with handles from Made Measure. Hallway wall colour is Dulux ‘Lama’. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Plant and ceramic planter from The Plant Society. Large plate from Benna Co. Brass incense holder via Modern Times. Ceramic on legs via The Plant Society. Hand incense holder found  while staying in Williamsburg, New York. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Artworks by Jessalyn Brooks. Large black ceramic and purple cup by James Lemon from Pepite, small squiggly vessel from Coburg Pottery Collective. Plant from The Plant Society. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Ceramics from Pepite,. Bear artwork found on Etsy. Abstract artwork by Tim Jones. Plant and planter via The Plant Society. Artwork on magazine stack by Gabrielle Jones. Plaster plinth made by Sarah for NGV Art of Dining. Zig Zag vase from Mociun Home. Footed vase via The Plant Society. Prosthetic leg painted by Sarah. Arancini Lamp via Moda Piera. White sculpture via Natalie Rosin. Vintage record player found on Facebook Marketplace. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Thonet Hoffman armchairs as dining chairs. Dining table from Harper’s Project. Stool custom made by Harbro Furniture upholstered in fabric from Kelly Wearstler available at Elliott Clarke. Painting by Van Tho purchased in Vietnam. Plant and planter from The Plant Society. Vintage coffee table via Curated Spaces. Lamp Ikea. Vintage orange swivel chair found on Facebook marketplace. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Less wall shelving from Trit. Bench by HK Living via House of Orange. Dog artwork is actually a large piece of Ikea fabric stretched on a canvas. Other art by Sarah. Plants from The Plant Society. Ceramic sculptures by Anchor Ceramics from Hub Furniture. Tantri Mustika ceramic vase on middle shelf. Top shelf vase from Freedom. Thonet Hoffman armchairs as dining chairs. Dining table from Harper’s Project. Vintage orange swivel chair found on Facebook marketplace. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Vintage pendant found on Facebook marketplace with coloured sections added by Sarah. Yellow vase from West Elm. Timber platters by Zanat Studio from Hub Furniture. Sarah’s favourite blue vase found on a trip to Tokyo. Thonet Hoffman armchairs as dining chairs. Dining table from Harper’s Project. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Less wall shelving from Trit. Bench by HK Living via House of Orange. Dog artwork is actually a large piece of Ikea fabric stretched on a canvas. Other art by Sarah. Plants from The Plant Society. Ceramic sculptures by Anchor ceramics from Hub Furniture. Tantri Mustika ceramic vase on middle shelf. Top shelf vase from Freedom. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Vintage pendant found on Facebook marketplace with coloured sections added by Sarah. Yellow vase from West Elm. Timber platters by Zanat Studio from Hub Furniture. Sarah’s favourite blue vase found on a trip to Tokyo. Thonet Hoffman armchairs as dining chairs. Dining table from Harper’s Project. Vintage orange swivel chair found on Facebook Marketplace. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Artwork and pink ceramic piece by Sarah. Plant via The Plant Society. Crockery from Hasami porcelain. Dish brush from Pan After. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Hall runner from West Elm. Dulux ‘Lama’ paint shade. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Robe from Kip&Co. Towel from Baina. Art print by Ghost Patrol. Bathmat from Cold Picnic. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Vintage cabinet found and repainted by Sarah. Vintage trunk at the Woolloongabba Antiques Centre in Brisbane. Dulux ‘Gold Dust’ wall colour. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Dulux ‘Gold Dust’ wall paint. Lamp and side table are both vintage finds from Jolie Laide. Rug from West Elm. Bedhead made by Sarah using fabric from Unique Fabrics and The Fabric Store. Curtains by Esenar. Art by Sarah. Ceramics on bedside table from The Coburg Pottery Collective, storage dishes from HAY. Purple sheets from Kip&Co, and olive from In Bed. Incense holder by Tantri Mustika. Wall sculpture by Natalie Rosin gifted to Sarah for her 30th birthday. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Artwork in hall from Gallery Midlandia. Artwork in bedroom by Jessalyn Brooks. Side table from Weylandts. Curtains by Esenar with fabric from Unique Fabrics. Hallway paint colour is Dulux ‘Lama’. Bedroom paint colour is Dulux ‘Gold Dust’. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Dulux ‘Gold Dust’ wall paint. Lamp and side table are both vintage finds from Jolie Laide. Rug from West Elm. Bedhead made by Sarah using fabric from Unique Fabrics and The Fabric Store. Curtains by Esenar. Art by Sarah. Ceramics on bedside table from The Coburg Pottery Collective, storage dishes from HAY. Purple sheets from Kip&Co, and olive from In Bed. Incense holder by Tantri Mustika. Wall sculpture by Natalie Rosin gifted to Sarah for her 30th birthday. Photo – Dylan James. Styling – Sarah Shinners

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 11th November 2020

‘I love pushing the boundaries with colour. I mean what’s the worst that can happen?’ – Sarah Shinners

After a three year stint in Brisbane, designer manager Sarah Shinners and her husband Patrick Shinners returned home to Melbourne in 2013, with their hearts set on living in the city’s inner north. The couple eventually found the perfect rental home in Clifton Hill, and have remained here ever since. 

The house is a Victorian single-fronted terrace, renovated around the 1980s. Many of its original quirks remained when Sarah and Patrick moved in, but the interiors had been subject to an all-beige makeover that they quickly hoped to rectify!

Renovations are not typically allowed in Australian residential rental properties, but Sarah and Patrick’s landlord was fortunately open to cosmetic changes, even agreeing to financially cover some of the value-adding updates. ‘We are lucky to have a very flexible landlord who we have openly discussed our aspirations with, and successfully negotiated things like extended lease periods,’ Sarah says. ‘We also offered to split the cost (as we did for our curtains) or cover the cost (as we did for painting) of works to make them more viable for the landlord and ourselves.’

Changes have been made slowly over the past six years – the most significant being the repainting of the bedrooms, hallway and bathroom. Never one to shy away from colour, the impact has been exactly had Sarah hoped. She explains, ‘So many people when they first saw the brushouts I shared on Instagram commented with a nervous sentiment, “Wow, bold choice” or, “Could be really wrong or really right,” [but] I love pushing the boundaries with colour. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? You paint over it? My only regret is not being able to paint the cornices and ceilings in the same colour as the walls!’

The previously cold bedrooms now feature Dulux’s Gold Dust, which adds incredible impact and warmth to these rooms. ‘We’ve found this colour to be quite the transformer, changing from a sunny yellow when the morning light hits, to a deep caramel on cosy winter evenings,’ she says. 

The hallway meanwhile is painted in Dulux’s Lama – a fleshy, peach tone that perfectly offsets the caramel gold. ‘I love it when I’m looking out from one of the bedrooms into the hallway and catch a vignette of both colours side by side,’ Sarah says.  

Complementing these colours is a melting pot of art and objects Sarah has created or collected over many years. ‘I see my home as an experimental space where prototypes are trialled, personal creative endeavours are displayed, and items researched during daily work are distilled to create a place that is bold, homely and layered,’ she says.

Every piece in the home is special, but not precious. ‘I want visitors to my home to feel immediately at ease and relaxed – to grab a cup from the kitchen shelf and make themselves a cup of tea, and melt into the couch. There are beautiful, curated things surrounding you, but no pretence or stuffiness to make you feel like you can’t touch anything.’

Next on the Sarah and Patrick’s renovations list… carpet!

See more of Sarah Shinner’s design work on the Simone Haag website

This Week

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  11 hours ago

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  19 hours ago

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Similar Stories

Homes

A Creative Family's Eclectic Apartment in Melbourne’s CBD

Designer Michael Chazan and photographer Ying Ang have made this new Melbourne CBD apartment their character-filled family home.

Homes

An Artist's Thoroughly Sophisticated Brisbane Rental

Decorated with vintage furniture, treasured artwork and handmade ceramics, potter Nicolette Johnson and web designer Tom Dawson share their

Homes

An Eclectic Shopfront-Turned-Sharehouse in Collingwood

Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley meets antique store (!) in this extra special Collingwood rental.

This Week

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  19 hours ago

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  11 hours ago

Similar Stories

Homes

A Creative Family's Eclectic Apartment in Melbourne’s CBD

This creative couple have made a new Melbourne CBD apartment their character-filled family home.

Homes

An Artist's Thoroughly Sophisticated Brisbane Rental

The art-filled Queensland cottage of Nicolette Johnson and Tom Dawson.

Homes

An Eclectic Shopfront-Turned-Sharehouse in Collingwood

Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley meets antique store (!) in this extra special Collingwood rental.

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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net