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.