This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Perfectly Personalised Art Deco Rental

Homes

The maximalist yet personal feel of Leila Sanderson and sound engineer Tony Espie‘s South Yarra apartment is something that can only be achieved over a long period of time… 12 years to be exact!

Leila and Tony have filled the art deco space with plenty of contrasting colour, ribbon rosettes made by Leila (aka Skinny, owner of Skinny Wolf), and foliage from her florist work with Katie Marx

It’s a heartwarming space, which celebrates the history and style of its original architecture. And would you believe, it’s a rental?!

1st December, 2021

1960s green velvet couches bought from a friend, who bought them from a lady who’d had them in her ‘good room’ with plastic covers on! Coffee table and wooden stool made by Greg Hatton.  Large ribbon rosette made by Leila for her store Skinny Wolf. Various cushions from Bonnie and Neil; Greenhouse Interiors; and Aura Home. Plates on display are a mix of Lucas Grogan and vintage. Bowl and vases on the coffee table from Chapel Street Bazaar. Large pills on coffee table made by Leila (‘Because like a lot of people, I’ve been thinking a lot about health recently!’). Flowers all arranged by Leila. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Leila Sanderson and sound engineer Tony Espie! Rug from Temple & Webster. 1960s green velvet couches bought secondhand. Coffee table and wooden stool made by Greg Hatton.  Large ribbon rosette made by Leila for her store Skinny Wolf. Flowers arranged by Leila. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vases and bowl from Chapel Street Bazaar. Large pills made by Leila by air drying clay. Roses grown by Petrina Burrill. Bridget Bodenham ceramic dish filled with shells. Greg Hatton coffee table. Vintage chandelier bought from a friend. Disco balls a gift from Katie Marx. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

‘A florist favourite: coral charm peonies! Only available for a very short season and they change colour as they age!’ says Leila. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage mirror. Vintage oil jars in crate from Camberwell Market. Rainbow neon light from Sunny Life. 1970s pinstripe velvet armchair sourced by Curated Spaces. Sage and Clare cushion. Cymbidium orchid watercolour artwork by Zoe Langbridge. Various pots by Temple & Webster and Few and Far. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Giant rosette, cake, table cloth  flower arrangements, and chairs upholstery all by Leila/Skinny Wolf. Lampshade from The Society Inc. Bridget Bodenham ceramics. Large metal footed bowl from an op shop. Medium footed beeswax bowl/candle holder from The Raconteur. Vintage mirror. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Botanicum print by Katie Scott. Old man in hat painting and vintage tapestry from Etsy. Metal torso sculpture a gift from a friend. Lamp on shelf and hanging lampshade from Ikea. Paper poppy by Revery Paper Flora. Cherry neon light by Sunny Life. Gold ceramic cherries by Mondo Cherry. Large splattered serving plate from Home & Abroad. Dulux Submarine on kitchen cabinets. Leila’s collection of white ceramics! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Cake, flowers arrangements and curtains all made by Leila! Dulux Submarine on the kitchen cabinets, and Dulux Victoriana on the walls. Ikea lampshades. Dowel Jones Thimble Stool. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Original 1930s yellow sink and bath with the previous tenant’s plumbing! William Morris shower curtain from Society6. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Vintage glass vase. Yellow ceramic cup from The Mod Collective. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Rosette by Leila for Skinny Wolf. Flowers arranged by Leila. Fitted cabinets constructed by a previous tenant. Ceramics by Bridget Bodenham and Tara Burke. Peach candle holder from Jumbled. Bendy candle stick from Area Ware.  Candles from Queen B and Norsu. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Denim patchwork quilt and cushion, liberty print quilted pillowcases, rosettes and gold cape all by Leila/Skinny Wolf. Vintage Bitossi lamp. Blue and white checked pillowcase with frill from Society of Wanderers. Pink checked cushion with frilled edges by Projektityyny. Yellow velvet flower cushion from Kip&Co. Velvet bedhead from Temple & Webster. Fitted sheet by Castle and Things. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Tony in his home studio surrounded by his music memorabilia. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Music memorabilia in Tony’s studio, including two of his ARIA nominee trophies and the latest album by The Avalanches that he worked on! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 1st December 2021

‘I buy things because I love them, not because they go with other things.’ – Leila Sanderson

South Yarra’s art deco apartments are often tightly held – just ask Leila Sanderson and Tony Espie! 

When Tony first moved into this particular apartment, his initial housemate had been renting a room since the ‘70s, over which time she’d lovingly renovated the space like she owned it. Tony’s partner Leila Sanderson, owner of online store Skinny Wolf, eventually moved into the apartment, and the couple are still here 12 years later! 

The home is one of two apartments in a 1930s streamline moderne building. What it lacks in heating or cooling (!) it makes up for flexibility, allowing Leila and Tony to make most cosmetic changes as they please. Its three bedrooms afford Tony, who is a sound engineer, enough space for a home studio, which also helps to drown out the noise of nearby Punt Road! 

Updates over the years have included many paint jobs, with Dulux Submarine currently featured on the kitchen cabinets, and Dulux Victoriana on the contrasting pastel wall. ‘I could never live in a neutral interior, although I like other people’s neutral interiors!’ says Leila.

Leila describes the home’s aesthetic as maximalist with a hint of grandmillennial, while Tony calls it cosy, comfy, and even ‘dead!’ ‘That’s a sound engineer’s description of having lots of soft furnishing that deaden the sound!’ explains Leila.  

Vintage wares complement the home’s original art deco features, while Leila’s colourful ribbon rosettes and textured pieces oodles of personality. ‘I buy things because I love them, not because they go with other things,’ she says. 

Leila is also a florist working for Katie Marx, so there’s always plenty of flowers and foliage on rotation in the home. 

It’s hard to create a rental property that feels personal and embedded with history, but Leila and Tony have done just that in this very special home! 

This Week

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'warped maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.

Homes

An Incredible 1896 Waterfront House, Accessible Only By Boat

Garden designer Richard Unsworth shares ‘Trincomalee’ – his magical 1896 waterfront home in northern Sydney, accessible only by boat.
Lucy Feagins
  19 hours ago

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

Words From The Wise

Pushing Against The Status Quo As A Creative Professional, With Designer Timothy Moore

Sibling Architecture director and co-founder Timothy Moore shares refreshing advice about embarking on a career in architecture and design -...
Haroula Karapanagiotidis

Shopping

The Ultimate Outdoor Furniture Guide

From sleek and chic to fun and playful, here are four different schemes for the outdoor dining situation of your dreams!

News

WIN A One-Of-A-Kind Artwork By Local Artist Dave Kulesza - aka Boris Bombay!

Bombay Sapphire are giving away a nostalgia-fuelled, pop art-esque tiled artwork by Boris Bombay (aka Dave Kulesza) to one lucky winner!
Sponsored

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Stays

Stay Off-Grid In A Tiny House, Or Restored 1890s Hut, On The One NSW Property!

Escape to one of two tiny houses or a restored 1890 hut at Wildernest, located on the edge of the NSW Southern Highlands.

News

Melbourne's Futuristic New Gallery For Art + Science

Excitement is high – the latest museum in the international Science Gallery Network opens in Melbourne today!
Sponsored

Architecture

A Minimal Intervention Weatherboard Home Makeover

A Seddon weatherboard renovation by Circle Studio Architects that doesn’t erase its past, but firmly enhances its future.

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Turned Multigenerational, Japanese-Inspired Home

Arcke architects lifted this Queenslander to accommodate a two-bedroom apartment underneath, and provide better connections to the outdoors

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Trailblazing Curator, Shonae Hobson

Inside the day of Kaantju woman and curator of Indigenous art at the NGV, Shonae Hobson!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Florist’s Sentimental Hobart Home

The South Hobart unit of florist Eliza Hobart is a romantic, lived-in space surrounded by greenery.

Homes

A Stylist’s Charming Country Home

Stylist and Read&Hall co-owner Emma Read shares her 1920s family home filled with vintage pieces in Willunga, South Australia.

Homes

An 1870s Church Turned Stylist’s Family Home!

Stylist at Read&Hall Sarah Fairhead Hall and husband Adam converted an 1870s church in Willunga, South Australia into their family home!

This Week

Homes

An Incredible 1896 Waterfront House, Accessible Only By Boat

Garden designer Richard Unsworth shares ‘Trincomalee’ – his magical 1896 waterfront home in northern Sydney, accessible only by boat.
Lucy Feagins
  19 hours ago

News

WIN A One-Of-A-Kind Artwork By Local Artist Dave Kulesza - aka Boris Bombay!

Bombay Sapphire are giving away a nostalgia-fuelled, pop art-esque tiled artwork by Boris Bombay (aka Dave Kulesza) to one lucky winner!
Sponsored

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'warped maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.

Creative People

Creating Original, Ever-Changing Gardens With Kep Horticulture’s Andy Kepitis

Kep Horticulture founder Andy Kepitis talks how to create dynamic gardens, and his aversion to 'certain' plant palettes!

Stays

Stay Off-Grid In A Tiny House, Or Restored 1890s Hut, On The One NSW Property!

Escape to one of two tiny houses or a restored 1890 hut at Wildernest, located on the edge of the NSW Southern Highlands.

Architecture

A Minimal Intervention Weatherboard Home Makeover

A Seddon weatherboard renovation by Circle Studio Architects that doesn’t erase its past, but firmly enhances its future.

Shopping

The Ultimate Outdoor Furniture Guide

From sleek and chic to fun and playful, here are four different schemes for the outdoor dining situation of your dreams!

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Turned Multigenerational, Japanese-Inspired Home

Arcke architects lifted this Queenslander to accommodate a two-bedroom apartment underneath, and provide better connections to the outdoors

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Trailblazing Curator, Shonae Hobson

Inside the day of Kaantju woman and curator of Indigenous art at the NGV, Shonae Hobson!

Words From The Wise

Pushing Against The Status Quo As A Creative Professional, With Designer Timothy Moore

Sibling Architecture director and co-founder Timothy Moore shares refreshing advice about embarking on a career in architecture and design -...
Haroula Karapanagiotidis

News

Melbourne's Futuristic New Gallery For Art + Science

Excitement is high – the latest museum in the international Science Gallery Network opens in Melbourne today!
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Homes

A Florist’s Sentimental Hobart Home

The lush, lived-in South Hobart home of florist Eliza Rogers.

Homes

A Stylist’s Charming Country Home

The Willunga family home of stylist and Read&Hall co-owner Emma Read.

Homes

An 1870s Church Turned Stylist’s Family Home!

Stylist at Read&Hall Sarah Fairhead Hall and husband Adam converted an 1870s church in Willunga, South Australia into their family home!

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.