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A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

Homes

We can’t get enough of Eltham’s incredible mid-century houses, which consistently rate among the most popular home stories on The Design Files!

Lucienne and Sebastian Van Sebille thought the glowing reviews of this suburb (located 20 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD) must be exaggerated, but after moving here in mid 2020, they can confirm it’s truly as magical as they say! 

The couple’s rental property is an Alistair Knox-designed 1970s house that remains as solid and beautiful as the day it was built. 

After 10 years living in Thornbury and Coburg, the True North chef and trade manager at Pop and Scott are relishing their new life among the trees, while getting to know the longstanding locals (alpacas, horses, donkeys and kookaburras among them!).

7th April, 2021

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Thierry Porter. Pop and Scott Dreamer Couch. Rollin’ Stone Coffee Table by Odditi (formerly Lobo Workshop). Armchair sourced by Curated Spaces. Hay Matin Lamp from Open Room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucienne and Sebastian Van Sebille, and their English cocker spaniel Bertie. Artwork by Thierry Porter. Pop and Scott Rocky Record Sideboard and linen lamp prototype. The Armadillo rug was a gift for Lucienne’s 30th from special friends. Sebastian’s record player and amp bought from a garage sale when he was 17! Woven Sculpture by Lucy Nelson via Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘Our living space where we spend a lot of our time in front of the fire or with doors wide open on warm days. It’s a hard space to capture as it is so vast, but being surrounded by windows makes the space feel so light and open,’ says Lucienne. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork on shelf: ‘Bombing of Darwin’ by Pauletta Kerinaiua. Items on shelf: Footed Bowl by Asobimasu Clay. Black Wide Sentinel Vase by Ella Bendrups. Shell collected on the beach in Marion Bay, Tasmania. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork ‘Bombing of Darwin’ by Pauletta Kerinaiua. Painted paper mache bowl made by a friend. Nicolette Johnson blue vase (sadly damaged in transit, but still so beautiful). White chalk vase with handles by Katarina Wells.Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘We love all the built-in shelving in this house and have no problem whatsoever filling them with our bits and bobs,’ says Lucienne. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Drum stools by Pop and Scott. Brass clock from Country Road. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Sebastian’s father Casey Van Sebille. Amber Jug and glassware by Maison Balzac. Ceramics by Amy Leeworthy with nasturtium from the veggie garden. Ferm Living Brass Pond Triverts. Blue Glass Decanter from Made in Japan. The frog candle stick holders are much loved engagement gift that receive a lot of comments at dinner parties! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The house’s incredible stained glass window! Snoopy Lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for FLOS from Euroluce. Life Interiors shelving housing Sebastian’s ever-increasing cookbook collection and Lucienne’s penchant for timber bowls. Candle stick from a local Eltham maker. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Paper lantern by Pop and Scott. Vase by a ceramist at Montsalvat. Flowers from the local green grocer. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage dining table sourced by Curated Spaces. LaClasica Chairs by Spanish brand Stua from Stylecraft (these were ex sample chairs that are still in great condition that Lucienne picked up while at her previous role). Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artworks up the stairs by Sebastian’s sister Mo, who gave the couple a piece for their 30th birthdays. Artwork on brick by Bobby Clark. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Noren door curtain from Pop and Scott. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Handpainted suns by Thea Skelsey. Japanese Noren by Pop and Scott. Curio Blanket in Wheatgrass. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage tiered travertine side tables used as bedsides. Night Owl Lamp by Fritz Hansen from Cult. I Love Linen bedding. Curio Blanket in WheatgrassPop and Scott pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage chair. In Bed x We are Tribe tobacco bedding with In Bed biscuit pillowcases. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Drawers bought off Gumtree. Pop and Scott brass mirror. Vase by Lotte Schwerdtfeger.Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucienne’s mother’s childhood folk harp. Poppy photograph by Kristoffer Paulsen. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Book shelf from Ikea. Big Stripe floor cushions from Good Space. Couch from Lounge Lovers. Velvet lumbar and throw cushions from Pop and Scott. Dizzie side table by Arper from Stylecraft – another ex sample from Lucienne’s previous job.Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Sunday Supply Co umbrella. Palissade table and benches by Hay from Open Room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Artwork by Bobby Clark. Dreamer Couch by Pop and Scott. On shelves: Alvar Aalto Iittala vase. Items on shelf: Footed Bowl by Asobimasu Clay. Black Wide Sentinel Vase by Ella Bendrups. Shell found on the beach in Marion Bay, Tasmania. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 7th April 2021

‘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.’ – Lucienne Van Sebille

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.’

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