When looking to buy a property in 2019, Neel Moorley was initially seeking an old Victorian house to renovate, until this Brunswick, Melbourne warehouse changed everything. ‘When I walked inside and saw this light filled space I knew that I wanted it,’ says the hairdresser and owner of Neel Loves Curls.
Originally a rope factory, the three-level building was converted into a residence around the 2000s, featuring sleek, monochrome interiors – except for the art collection of the vendors. Neel was inspired by their time in the home, and hoped to build on this legacy himself!
After securing the house and moving in, Neel sanded back the black floors, to create a more neutral backdrop. He then took the home’s art collection to the next level, hanging across the warehouse walls close to 250 masks collected from Mexico, Myanmar, Indonesia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, and Greece to name a few! Most of the masks have been collected on travels, or sourced from Facebook Marketplace, op-shops, markets, and via friends. ‘People that know I collect them message me to ask, “Do you need this one?”
Neel has also commissioned multiple murals and artworks specifically for his home. The courtyard features a mask-inspired mural by Pit Arteaga; the bedroom painting is by Soleveins (‘I’d seen his work on the walls in Fitzroy and wanted his art in my home,’ says Neel); the murals above the stairs and in the bathroom are by Sebastian Berto; and the front door artwork is by David Lee Pereira. ‘I’d seen his work on silos and asked him to paint my front door. His floral work feels amazingly lifelike,’ says Neel.
The staircase on entry to the home has also been painted in rainbow colours, which makes Neel and his guests smile. ‘My home is a social hub and every time friends come over they see something new which they hadn’t seen before.’
Last but not least, Neel has spent time updating the courtyard to feel closer to nature, replacing tired pavers with salvaged railway sleepers, and adding an outdoor shower.
The completed home is a breath of fresh air that’s eclectic, cheerful and kitsch, yet cohesive and totally reflective of its very creative owner!