Seasoned renters Lucienne Van Sebille, trade manager at Pop and Scott and stylist, and Sebastian Van Sebille, chef at True North, lived in Melbourne’s inner-north for a decade before making the move to further out to Eltham.
The couple had heard rave reviews about the suburb for years, but thought things surely couldn’t be as amazing as they seem. Turns out, they are!
Even though a potential move out of the city had long been discussed by the pair, it wouldn’t have happened in 2020 if not for the pandemic. Lucienne explains, ‘The owners of our last home sadly had to move back from overseas due to COVID, so it was very tricky for them and us.’
Finding a new rental property mid pandemic was hardly ideal, but everything fell into place after Lucienne spotted this Alistair Knox-designed home up for lease. ‘After constant refreshes on my real estate search page, I literally jumped on the spot in excitement when I first saw this listing! ’ she says. ‘I’m so thankful all things fell into place and we landed here.’
Melbourne entered its second major lockdown (lasting 16 weeks) just days after Lucienne and Sebastian moved into the home, affording the couple and their English cocker spaniel Bertie plenty of time to get to know their new neighbourhood!
‘We are lucky to have really lovely neighbours who have lived here for over 40 years, and can tell us some of the history of the house and all the people who have lived here,’ Lucienne says. ‘Our house was the first to be built on the street and our neighbours, along with the original owners who built here, brought in electricity to the vacant land together. I love that so much!’
While their previous rental properties have required some personalisation to feel like home, the incredible bones of this place speak for themselves.
‘I’ve always put so much of myself into our rental homes over the years – painting walls, replacing light fittings, scraping glow-in-the-dark stars from the ceiling, planting, and painting again!’ Lucienne says. ‘The space lends itself to our furniture, art and other pieces really well, and I feel like everything found its right spot in the house very naturally.’
Some standout furniture items include prototypes and seconds made by Lucienne’s workmates at Pop and Scott, and art by Sebastian’s dad and other loved ones.
The previous residents of this Knox home lived here for 28 years, and together with the owners, they have ensured it’s been beautifully maintained, and repaired with materials faithful to the original design.
‘I mean, Knox knew what he was doing! We’re lucky that our landlords really care for the property… we often jokingly say “you’ve done it again Alistair” when something functions perfectly, like all the external glass doors folding neatly out on themselves,’ says Lucienne. ‘We’re lucky it’s now the home of our family, and hope to live plenty of life here too.’