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A Very Melbourne Share House Rented By Creative Beekeepers!

Homes

This Fitzroy share house has long been in the ‘Honey Fingers family.’ The founder of the urban beekeeping collective (which makes bee-friendly honey and runs courses, among other things), Nic Dowse, has been hosting bees on the site’s rooftop terrace for years. When the previous tenants moved out last year, his friends — artists and fellow beekeepers Samantha McIntyre and Elsa Bryant — moved in, allowing the arrangement to continue! 

With the approval of a supportive landlord, Samantha and Elsa have painted the sprawling apartment, filled it with sentimental furniture and ceramics, and continued to host Nic’s thriving bees!

13th July, 2022

Green couch from Jolie Laide. Blue resin bowl by Kate Rohde. Rug, cabinet and chandelier inherited with the house. Thonet replica chair sourced from Marketplace. Strawberry vase by Samantha McIntyre. Artwork left to right: Pink framed work by Stanislava Pinchuk. Diptyque by Julian Hocking. Canvas behind pole by Samantha McIntyre. Watercolour painting and smaller drawing by Elsa Bryant. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Sam’s studio window ledge! Candle by Andrej Urem. Colourful tall sculpture by Samantha McIntyre. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Artist and beekeeper Samantha McIntyre (left) with Elsa Bryant (right). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The cosy living space! Rug designed by Suzanne Forge. Artworks and checkered bowl by Samantha McIntyre. Lamp by Isamu Noguchi. Vintage replica Wassily chairs. Glass vase by R+D.Lab. Ceramic arch by Elsa Bryant. Pink plinth by Condo Objects. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Ceramic arch by Elsa Bryant. Vase by Samantha McIntyre. Lamp by Isamu Noguchi. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Green tiled bench from Hattie Molloy. Strawberry vase by Samantha McIntyre. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Inside the vintage kitchen! Purple Smooth Shelf / Tiny by Nicole Lawrence. Lemon bowl by Samantha McIntyre. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Rug sourced on Marketplace. All artwork is by Samantha McIntyre. Table, chairs and cabinet were inherited with the house. Vintage bowl on table inherited from Elsa’s parents. White Carafe by Mud Australia. Glass vase by R+D.Lab. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Leafy pot plant from Bunnings. Checkered bowl by Samantha McIntyre. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Checkered ceramics by Samantha McIntyre. Glass by Face Vessel. Stack of vintage plates. Plate with onion by Emma Corcoran. Petal plates by House Editions. Patterned plate by Seletti. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Vintage timber furniture complements the rustic brick interiors! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A pastel pink view into the bathroom! Old stool and cat mask. Baby vest on wall by Abbey Keep. Painting by Amalia Keefer. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Sam’s bedroom. Lamps from CCCS. Female figures on book and window by Emma Corcoran. Bedside unit by Kartell Componibili. Black bust and check pieces by Sam. Framed artwork by Angie Pai. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Ficus tree from Lygon St Nursery. Rug by Suzanne Forge. Bedside unit by Kartell Componibili. Black check bowl by Sam. Knit blanket is by Curio. Bedding by Deiji Studios. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The cute and moody bathroom! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Elsa’s bedroom is a lavender colour, in contrast to Sam’s pastel pink! Bedding by The Sheet Society. Art above bed by Sarah Bell. Smaller artwork by Sam. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 13th July 2022

‘The whole space is good to move around in, sit in, and lie on the floor.’ 

The Design Files has featured hundreds and hundreds of Melbourne homes over the past 13 years, but never a rental property in the hands of beekeepers!

Nic Dowse, founder of urban beekeeping collective Honey Fingers, has been hosting his bees on this Fitzroy property’s rooftop for almost 10 years. When the huge adjoining apartment became vacant last year, he and fellow beekeeper Samantha McIntyre couldn’t imagine not keeping it in the Honey Fingers family, so Samantha and friend Elsa Bryant moved in!

‘It is very sentimental to me, as it’s the first location I ever went beekeeping in 2018,’ says Samantha. ‘Nic has a longstanding relationship with the beautiful owner of the property, who was more than happy to have us beekeepers take over from the previous, wonderful tenants.’

Elsa studies art at VCA, and Samantha is the artist behind ceramics label The Soda Fountain — pursuits that are reflected in their home’s creative feel. Together they’ve imbued their personal style into the space, incorporating several of the owner’s personal items (who owns the entire building and previously lived here for 10 years) into a ‘eclectic mix of older, country-esque pieces with a touch of modernity.’

‘She was an amazing interior designer and designed some of the rugs we look after in the home,’ says Samantha. ‘Her love of the place is contagious, which is evident in the longstanding tenants living in other parts of the building.’

Since moving in, Samantha and Elsa have slightly neutralised the home’s colour palette (previously made up of vibrant different coloured walls); added curtains for more privacy; and reconfigured the layout to optimise what’s essentially one big room! 

‘Keeping an open flow to each area so one can move freely from each “space”, and being able to see unhindered from one side of the room to the other, was very important to me,’ says Samantha. 

‘I also wanted to mix up the old with the new in each room, so adding the perfect painting or sculpture, vase or plant that blended well with what was already there was a fun challenge.’ Among these pieces are the first ceramics Samantha ever made, in her signature checkered and wobbly style.

Due to rain we were sadly unable to photograph the home’s rooftop terrace, but it’s an equally sprawling space where Nic’s bees live among established plants. 

Samantha calls the home her sanctuary. ‘It has all my favourite things in it, down to my cats and my book collection. It’s always safe and cosy.’

‘In summer, I spend a lot of time on the rooftop in the sun. Otherwise, the whole space is good to move around in, sit in, and lie on the floor.’

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net