East Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s most tightly-held areas, and walking through the leafy streets lined with grand period homes, it’s not hard to see why.
Among the residents of this dreamy inner-city locale are Frances Normoyle, co-owner and designer at furniture selling platform and design business Playground, and Lauren Everett, PR professional at Think HQ, who began renting an art deco apartment here in August 2019.
‘I have developed a deeply passionate and enduring love affair with East Melbourne in my time living here,’ says Frances. ‘I’m sure this amorous relationship will persist well into my old age.’
Not only did the housemates find an apartment with great 1930s bones, they also hit the landlord jackpot, who allowed them to repaint elements of the property. (‘There was a heinous red feature wall in our dining room which we painted over,’ Frances explains.)
The apartment today features many of its original detailing such as wide windows and gentle curves, and these are accentuated by a colourful mix of postmodern, mid-century Scandinavian, and custom design pieces. This controlled use of colour, and smattering of strong design silhouettes has resulted in a a sleek, yet relaxed and characterful home.
When in need of a little more novelty, Frances has also been known to paint a piece of furniture a fresh colour, such as the bedside shelf, recently coated with Burnt Earth by Dulux.
Lauren and Frances’ home is a compact space with defined rooms, so they’ve created multipurpose zones wherever possible. ‘Our dining table becomes an office, the lounge a spot to dine, and the kitchen a place to host,’ says Frances. ‘We were considered in our approach to selecting furniture, in that we prioritised pieces that we knew would serve us.’
Rumour has it that Lauren and Frances’ building was once a constant party house, but today the residents operate at a much slower place, and that’s mostly the way they like it! Frances describes the area as ‘tree-lined streets and old men reading in their windows. It’s nostalgic and so romantic.’
‘We love living up in the trees and watching the leaves turn. It’s a lovely space to co-exist and also watch the world around us evolve.’