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A Dreamy, Nostalgic Family Home in Melbourne's Suburbs

Homes

The Malvern East family home of Josh, Anastasia, Stella (4) and Reuben Elias (3) was already beautiful when purchased in 2017, but simplistic renovations over the years had stripped the interiors of character. 

Walking through the updated home now, it’s not immediately obvious what is old, and what is new… but what is abundantly clear, is just how much love and care has been poured into renovating this beautiful family home. Not only have the couple succeeded in opening up the space to suit their young family’s lifestyle, they’ve instilled a more ‘lived-in’ feel through the use of recycled materials, relaxed furnishings, and by planting an enchanting garden.

12th May, 2021

Handmade Portuguese tiles from Urbanedge. Kitchen cabinets by deVOL Kitchens UK. Stone benchtops from CDK Stone. Antique workbench kitchen island found at auction. Antique bread proofing bowl from Bells Vintage. Antique stone mortar and pestle. Antique mezza luna from Found Hepburn. Bowl holding garlic from our garden by Andrei Davidoff. Ceramic platter holding quinces by Seala Lokollo. Vintage swinging door found at a salvage yard. Spray painting artwork by Charles Blackman framed by Icon Framers. Ilve freestanding oven/stove. Steelframe casement windows with original brass hardware found at a salvage yard. Tapware in nickel by Perrin and Rowe. Bamboo blinds from Cobra Cane. Fiberglass hand sculpture found at auction. Copper kettle from Mr Kitly. Rocket Giotto Cronometro coffee machine. Artwork ‘Here comes your man’ by Kirsty Budge. Vintage milk jug. Light mill from Garden Objects. Vintage glass cabinet to the right Angelucci. Antique bobbin corner chair found on Gumtree. Antique farmhouse dining table found at auction and restored by Anastasia. Antique original Thonet bentwood chairs from eBay. Pendant light by Anna Charlesworth. Vintage Italian bar cart. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Josh, Reuben, Stella, Anastasia and dog Henri standing on the front porch. The family built a new path from bluestone steppers salvaged from Port Melbourne docks, which is now dotted with self-seeded seaside daisies. Vintage mid-century planter bought at auction. ‘I’m looking forward to watching the wisteria blossom this coming spring, I have been carefully training it up the front columns over the front porch this past year now,’ says Anastasia. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The view to the quince tree through steelframe casement windows with original brass hardware found at a salvage yard. Curtains from Pottery Barn. Candlesticks by Astier de Villatte. Black vase holding dried scabiosa stellata seed heads by Asobimasu Clay. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kitchen looks out to the rear garden over the vegetable and herb garden. Vintage jug. Kitchen cabinets by deVOL Kitchens UK. Artwork ‘Here comes your man’ by Kirsty Budge. Vintage milk jug. Light mill from Garden Objects. Antique workbench kitchen island found at auction. Tapware in nickel by Perrin and Rowe. Bamboo blinds from Cobra Cane. Stone benchtops from CDK Stone. Ceramic platter holding quinces from our tree by Seala Lokollo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Antique workbench kitchen island found at auction. Ilve freestanding oven/stove. Kitchen cabinets by deVOL Kitchens UK. Ceramic platter holding quinces from our tree by Seala Lokollo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Handmade Portuguese tiles from Urbanedge. Kitchen cabinets by deVOL Kitchens UK. Stone benchtops from CDK Stone. Antique workbench kitchen island found at auction. Antique bread proofing bowl from Bells Vintage. Antique stone mortar and pestle. Antique mezza luna from Found Hepburn. Bowl holding garlic from our garden by Andrei Davidoff. Ceramic platter holding quinces from our tree by Seala Lokollo. Vintage swinging door found at a salvage yard. Spray painting artwork by Charles Blackman framed by Icon Framers. Ilve freestanding oven and stove. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Tahlia sofa by Molmic sofa. Hale Mercantile stripe bolster cushion. Steel frame French doors from The Steel Design. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘Daphine’ floor lamp by Lumina from Enlightened Living (formerly ECC). Curtains from Pottery Barn. Antique armchairs purchased at auction, reupholstered in fabric from ‘Westbury’ fabric by Keane Living. Stripe cushions made from antique linen from Bells Vintage.  Antique Tudor coffee table purchased from Gumtree. Coffee table books on Anastasia’s favourite artists such as Kiki Smith, Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse. Ottomans designed by Anastasia. Bud vase holding dried poppy seed heads by Cecile Daladier. Hand dipped beeswax duplero candle made in Italy and handmade terracotta Italian candle holder, both from Elias Mercantile. Preserved dandelion globe from Elias Mercantile. Anastasia’s collection of rare and out of print books about and by Edna Walling, her garden hero and inspiration! Kelly Wearstler marble sculpture.  Antique French milking stool purchased at auction. Antique Jacobean barley twist side table, antique bobbin corner chair and vintage lamp purchased from Gumtree. Steel frame windows with original brass hardware found at a salvage yard. Tahlia sofa by Molmic sofa. Hale Mercantile stripe bolster cushion. Steel frame French doors from The Steel Design. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sisal square rug from the Natural Floors company. Antique Tudor coffee table purchased on Etsy. Hand-dipped beeswax duplero candle made in Italy and handmade terracotta Italian candle holder, both from Elias Mercantile. Preserved dandelion globe from Elias Mercantile. Anastasia’s collection of rare and out of print books about and by Edna Walling, her garden hero and inspiration! A small bronze vase found on Anastasia’s travels in India. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Curtains from Pottery Barn. Antique armchairs purchased at auction, reupholstered in fabric from ‘Westbury’ fabric by Keane Living. Stripe cushions made from antique linen from Bells Vintage.  Antique Tudor coffee table purchased from Gumtree. Coffee table books on Anastasia’s favourite artists such as Kiki Smith, Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse. Ottomans designed by Anastasia. Bud vase holding dried poppy seed heads by Cecile Daladier. Hand dipped beeswax duplero candle made in Italy and handmade terracotta Italian candle holder, both from Elias Mercantile. Preserved dandelion globe from Elias Mercantile. Anastasia’s collection of rare and out of print books about and by Edna Walling, her garden hero and inspiration! Kelly Wearstler marble sculpture. Antique French milking stool purchased at auction. Antique Jacobean barley twist side table, antique bobbin corner chair and vintage lamp purchased from Gumtree. Steel frame windows with original brass hardware found at a salvage yard. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Antique trunk from Etsy to hold fireside tools and kindling. Curtains from Pottery Barn. Antique armchairs purchased at auction, reupholstered in fabric from ‘Westbury’ fabric by Keane Living. Stripe cushions made from antique linen from Bells Vintage.  Antique Tudor coffee table purchased from Gumtree. Coffee table books on Anastasia’s favourite artists such as Kiki Smith, Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse. Ottomans designed by Anastasia. Bud vase holding dried poppy seed heads by Cecile Daladier. Hand dipped beeswax duplero candle made in Italy and handmade terracotta Italian candle holder, both from Elias Mercantile. Preserved dandelion globe from Elias Mercantile. Anastasia’s collection of rare and out of print books about and by Edna Walling, her garden hero and inspiration! A small bronze vase found on Anastasia’s travels to India. Antique French milking stool purchased at auction. Antique Jacobean barley twist side table, antique bobbin corner chair and vintage lamp purchased from Gumtree. Japanese ceramic bud vase. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘We shifted a wall in the hallway to open the space up and increase the size to match the size of the front entrance which was wide,’ says Anastasia. ‘The hallway used to be 800mm wide, it is now almost 2m wide, it feels much more spacious now and the children love to run laps.’ Original hardwood floors. Antique Aubusson Verdure 17th-century tapestry from Brownrigg UK. Antique farmhouse dining table found at auction and restored by Anastasia. Antique original Thonet bentwood chairs, the first ever piece of furniture Anastasia purchased as a 16 year old from eBay. Pendant light by Anna Charlesworth. Vintage Italian bar cart. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Oak wall system by Kai Kristiansen from Nord Modern. Vintage glass bottles and ceramic cup. Face plate by Oscar Piccolo. Wax artwork by Merylin Lloyd. Bud bowl from Isla & Olive. Antique brass candlesticks. A paper nautalis shell found in a rockpool along the Great Ocean Road. Bowl holding shells and coral collected on Anastasia and Josh’s honeymoon by Astier de Villatte. Bronze pendant and small vase found on travels in India. Portrait of a pregnant Anastasia by Ophelia Mikkelson. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

deVOL bathroom cabinets in ‘Linen’. Mirrors from Schots. Bronze batten light holder from Fat Shack Vintage. Tapware in nickel by Perrin & Rowe. Catalano vanity. Towels by Hale Mercantile from Manon Bis. Terrazzo floor tiles from Fibonacci Stone. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Antique lead and alabaster ceiling light purchased at Armadale Antique Centre. Antique linen press found at an antique store in Tyabb. Artwork by Jahnne Pasco White on the mantle. The Bbd cover by Elias Mercantile and Charvet Editions. Antique bedside tables found at auction. Custom Beni Ourian natural wool rug from Etsy. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Wall pocket by Numero 74. Filled with handmade toys made Anastasia’s mother. Antique pine sleigh bed from Bells Vintage. Various artworks on the window and walls by Reuben. Ladderex shelving from Smith Street Bazaar. Antique wicker toy box and picnic basket found on Gumtree. Vintage bedside table, handmade wooden train and lamp found at op-shops. Handmade wooden train toy from Epoche. Vintage drum found in America. Wooden fairy house from Honeybee Toys. Striped floor mattress from Yoli and Otis. Linen pillow cases by Hale Mercantile. Ikea doona cover. Quilt by Basshu Japan from Heffernan and Haire. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Shelf made by Josh. Vintage box holing small toys found at an antique bazaar. Toy car by Wooden Story. Collection of Ostheimers wooden animals from Honeybee Toys. Handmade whale and merman dyed with avocado pits by Full Flower Moon. Ammonite fossil purchased from the Melbourne Museum Store on Reuben’s birthday. Wooden truck from Such Great Heights. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Tapware in nickel by Perrin & Rowe. Towel by Hale Mercantile from Manon Bis. Scented terracotta pomegranate by Santa Maria Novella. Rose geranium plant in a vintage terracotta pot. Window salvaged from the demolished original kitchen and repurposed in place of a smaller window originally in the main bathroom. Tiles from Earp Brothers. Stone surround by CDK Stone. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Antique pine sleigh bed found at an antique store in Castlemaine. Muslin canopy made by Anastasia. Pillowcases by Camomile London. Doona cover from Ikea. Daisy pillow by Oeuf. Music box bear by Kallisto. Handmade gnome doll ‘Dandelion’ made by Anastasia using scraps found around the house during the first 2020 lockdown. Floral floor mattress from Yoli and Otis. Vintage bookshelf purchased at auction. Vintage bedside table purchased from Gumtree. Vintage cane chair purchased at a bazaar. Maileg deer toy. Original leadlight windows. Bunny Rabbit money box from Big Dreams. De Noest butterfly silhouette light from Honeybee Toys. Raduga Grez mountain stacker from Tanglewood Toys. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Read our separate story about Anastasia’s glorious family garden here! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The front entrance overgrown with verbena bonaris, seaside daisy and an array of perennials through the borders. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Josh and Rueben playing in the street. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 12th May 2021

‘We stacked every brick, chipped off the plaster and mortar, and then later reused them to build the extension.’ – Anastasia Elias

There aren’t many people who can take an already renovated 1930s property, renovate it again, and end up with an even more characterful, charming home.

Instead of trendy fixtures and an ultra-contemporary extension, owners Josh and Anastasia Elias updated their Malvern East home to feature recycled materials and secondhand furniture throughout. 

‘When expanding the footprint of the home, we didn’t want to impose upon the original character,’ says Anastasia, founder of new homewares business Elias Mercantile. ‘We loved the warmth that came with the age of the original home and wanted to help it grow a little to accommodate our family.’ 

Josh and Anastasia designed the renovations and extensions themselves under the tutelage of Nick Gribble from Restored Building Co, interior designer Studio AMI, and consultant Moyshe Elias. 

Works in the original portion of the home involved shifting the previously narrow and dark hallway; dividing the formal dining room into a powder room, walk-in wardrobe and en suite; and converting the attic into storage space. 

The kitchen, sunroom, outhouse and laundry were demolished to create the rear extension, but original materials were salvaged in the process. Anastasia explains, ‘We stacked every brick, chipped off the plaster and mortar, and then later reused them to build the extension.’

Several reclaimed windows with steel-frames and brass hardware now open this rear area up to embrace the outdoors.  

Other reclaimed materials in the home include several internal doors, and a glass window used in the en suite. ‘I have such wonderful memories racing around Victoria to visit far off salvage yards, searching for that perfect something that would form the tapestry of what would become our home,’ Anastasia says. 

The handmade and hand painted kitchens cabinetry is the work of UK cabinet maker, deVOL Kitchens, who Anastasia came across on Pinterest. Initially out of reach due to budget constraints, these were able to be included after reworking the design. Anastasia says, ‘After doing some research we realised that if we kept the design of the kitchen simple we could feasibly import our kitchen and mix the cabinets with loose furniture.’ 

The couple’s existing large mid-century glass-fronted cabinet in particular works to soften this space, while increasing valuable storage space. ‘We wanted to use it in the kitchen, so that was a great influence on the layout for the kitchen and how it evolved. We then found a beautiful old workbench at an antique auction which became the island,’ says Anastasia. 

The home’s main bathroom was also reconfigured at the suggestion of Anouska Milstein of Studio AMI to accommodate a separate bath and shower. Surfaces inside and out have been painted with Dulux Natural White

The cherry on top of this delightful renovation is the abundant garden, which was planted with help from Bespoke Landscapes just two years ago! A neighbour’s towering historic tree canopy including an enormous Norfolk pine further adds to the landscape, while inviting dramatic silhouettes into the home on clear nights. (Take a closer look at the garden here!)

Anastasia describes the completed property as nostalgic, and timeless. ‘It is a true reflection of what we believed would be the best outcome for the home; a response to what it was lacking, with an open mind to what it could be.’

If you love Anastasia’s style, check out her brand new homewares business, Elias Mercantile.

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