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 Sydney Family Home Inspired By Wes Anderson, Art Deco + English Country Gardens

Homes

In 2021, Chloe Brookman, founder of homewares, apparel and children’s products label Olli Ella, and her husband Charlie Wheeler bought a 1910 home in South Coogee, and embarked on a major transformation project.

Working with architect Sofia Husni to renovate and extend the Sydney property, the couple have created a home that feels classic, yet entirely unique!

The result is a sophisticated and inspired space for Chloe, Charlie and their five children Tennyson (13), Arlo (10), Nell (6), August (3), and Quentin (1), combining diverse influences – from Wes Anderson film sets, to art deco colour palettes, Mediterranean patterns, and English country gardens!

9th November, 2022

The dining room of Chloe and Charlie’s home. ‘This is the real hub of the house, with four boys and one girl – there’s lots of eating happening!’ Chloe says. Tiles are 150-year-old Serbian roof tiles that have been repurposed. Custom made dining table designed by Chloe. Vintage Danish chairs that have been reupholstered. Custom French doors painted in Dulux Herb Planter. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Another view of the light-filled living room. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Olli Ella co-founder and CEO Chloe Brookman. Dressed in Olli Ella clothing. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Pendant custom made by Anna Charlesworth. Reclaimed terracotta floor tiles. Reclaimed aggregate benchtops. Custom made bar stools designed by Chloe, made from reclaimed oak with brass accents. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Vintage artwork by unknown artist. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Another look at the beautiful kitchen. Chloe says the home was created using reclaimed materials almost exclusively – including the kitchen’s floor tiles and benchtops. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The incredible spiral staircase! Vintage hand chair. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘We wanted to maximise light when designing the house, hence the huge windows above the dining area,’ Chloe explains. The door hardware was custom made in India. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Inside the living room. Custom-made sofas designed by Chloe. Burl coffee table by Condo Objects. Reupholstered vintage sheepskin chair. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Jute rug custom made by Olli Ella. Custom made sofas designed by Chloe. Burl coffee table by Condo Objects. Reupholstered vintage sheepskin chair. Walls painted in Dulux Casper White Quarter. Feature wall painted in Dulux Moorland. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The home’s sophisticated interiors masterfully blend past and present. Vintage wall lights. Wall painted in Dulux Moorland. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The show-stopping staircase from above. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

This living space is one of Chloe’s favourite rooms in the house. Rug custom made by Olli Ella. Vintage sofa that’s been reupoholstered in sheepskin. Custom fireplace. Belgian church wall sconce, burl table and child’s chair are all vintage. Mushroom basket by Olli Ella. Walls painted in Dulux Casper White Quarter. Feature wall painted in Dulux Moorland. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Burl mirror by Condo Objects. Wall painted in Dulux Moorland. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

A closer look at the wavy shelves in Chloe’s office. Sculpture and painting by Chloe. Vintage lamp and framed artwork. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Wallpaper from Milton and King. Vintage bamboo desk and brass chair. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Pop of pink brighten up the kids bathroom, covered in checkerboard tiles. Vintage milking stool. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Basin by The Water Monopoly. Vintage brass Italian wall lights. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The main bedroom! Custom made wall sconce. Cushions on bed by Bonnie and Neil. Bed linen by Cultiver. Lower walls painted in Dulux Feather Soft with limewash on the upper walls. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

‘Our ensuite bathroom is probably the most paired down of any room in the house,’ Chloe says. Drawer and cupboard hardware by Hepburn Hardware. Towels by Cultiver. Bathtub by Turner and Hastings. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Custom made vanity with brass legs. Vintage Italian wall sconces. Hardware by Hepburn Hardware. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Chloe says their outdoor fireplace is the ultimate ‘treat’ across both summer and winter and summer. Checkerboard marble tiles from Aeria. Chairs by Alba Atelier. Cushions by Bonnie and Neil. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

The family has their own ‘little food forest’ complete with chickens, vegetable garden and 15 fruit trees in their backyard. Exterior combines cladding painted Dulux Casper White Quarter, blackbutt timber and reclaimed bricks. Windows and doors painted in Dulux Herb Planter. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 9th November 2022

‘It’s all over the place, fun, and classic!’ – Chloe Brookman

Chloe Brookman and Charlie Wheeler never saw their South Coogee home before committing to purchase, yet they knew it was in the perfect location, and perfectly primed for a major renovation. 

‘I had been looking for a property from where we were living in Byron Bay at the time. After a couple of trips to Sydney with our youngest being a newborn, we started to do virtual walkthroughs,’ explains Chloe, CEO of Olli Ella. Chloe and her sister co-founded the popular homewares, apparel, and children’s toys label in 2010, and over the past twelve years have turned the brand into an extraordinarily successful business, with four international offices.

‘We really adored this house but didn’t get the opportunity to see it in person because another party’s buyers’ agent pushed for a quick sale, so we were forced to put in an offer, which was successful!’ Chloe explains, adding – ‘Sydney real estate is no joke!’

The 1910 single-storey house was located on an especially large block by Sydney standards, with potential to extend, and enough space for chickens and vegetable gardens. 

Chloe learned from their neighbour (lovely 94-year-old neighbour Norma who’s lived next door since the ‘50s!) that the property had undergone several ‘unfortunate’ renovations over the years, but luckily some original features had been preserved. 

The plan was to extend the home upwards and outwards to suit Chloe, Charlie, and their five children, while retaining as much of the original facade as possible. 

A major renovation ensued, designed in collaboration with architect Sofia Husni. ‘We kept all external walls, we extended a bit out the back to add an outdoor alfresco area, fireplace, and roof garden. We put in new floors, added lots of windows, and had a lot of fun,’ says Chloe. 

The home now spans three levels with the main living areas on the ground floor; the bedrooms and office on the first; and top floor with a kids rumpus and media rooms. Reclaimed bricks were used to construct a new extension at the rear of the home, which is lined with 50-year-old Serbian roof tiles in the kitchen.

The interiors showcase a myriad of influences, from the symmetry of Wes Anderson film sets, to memories of trips to Italy and Morocco, and nearby art deco properties with green and dusty pink facades.

Dulux paint was used to recreate these palettes, with Dulux Casper White Quarter on the exterior, most internal walls and ceilings; Dulux Feather Soft on the main bedroom wainscoting; Dulux Herb Planter on doors and trims; and ‘the most incredible green’ Dulux Moorland throughout the original rooms. 

A highlight of the home is the sculptural, winding staircase designed by Chloe. ‘We are always up and down the stairs and I wanted something to feel a little Escher-esque!’ she says. 

Developing the garden was an equally important component of the renovation, based on Chloe’s childhood growing up in England, and delighting at how country gardens spill into their residences. The family have created a ‘mini food forest’ on the property, where chickens, dogs, cats and children roam free!

Chloe says the completed home perfectly reflects her family’s style, yet somehow, it feels like it’s been standing as is for 100 years. ‘It’s very much us,’ she says. ‘It’s all over the place, fun, and classic!’

This Week

Studio Visit

Designer Jordan Fleming Makes Playful ‘Creatures’ That Double As Lamps

Her handcrafted pieces are like towering, functional sculptures as tall as people – that look like they could come alive at any moment!
Christina Karras

News

A Summery New Collection By Australia’s Oldest Textile Mill

Shop Waverly Mills’ beautiful new range of blankets, rugs, and throws, with all fabrics made at their century-old factory!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras

News

The Melbourne Label Making Stylish Kids' Wetsuits That Grow On Trees

Fants make kids’ wetsuits from natural rubber that look good and do good.
Sponsored

Interiors

A Coastal Oasis Designed + Built By The Owners

Lauren Patista-Trickey and Jonathon Patista admit being both client and builder/designer was 'a journey', but the result made it all worth i...

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.

Homes

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

Modernist architect Ernest Fooks designed some of Melbourne’s outstanding mid-century properties, including the 1960s home of Ilana Moses
Lucy Feagins
  21 hours ago

Architecture

A Renovated Fitzroy Home, Inspired By The Candied Colours Of Italian Dessert

This Edwardian brings a delectable taste of Italy to Melbourne with its stained-glass windows and peachy pink interiors!
Christina Karras

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras

Stays

Escape To This Magical Tiny Home In The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Step inside an adorable, off-grid getaway on a farm, with 'no distractions', limited phone reception and a wood-fired hot tub.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Bonnie & Neil's Sunny New Collection Is Inspired By Mediterranean Beach Clubs

Bonnie & Neil are bringing the colours of the Italian coast and Grecian-style prints to our home with their new summer collection!
Christina Karras
  13 hours ago

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!

Homes

Australian Fashion Legend Pip Edwards’ Rose Bay Home

The bold yet sophisticated home of the P.E Nation co-founder and creative director, in Sydney's Rose Bay.

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.

This Week

Architecture

A Renovated Fitzroy Home, Inspired By The Candied Colours Of Italian Dessert

This Edwardian brings a delectable taste of Italy to Melbourne with its stained-glass windows and peachy pink interiors!
Christina Karras

News

The Melbourne Label Making Stylish Kids' Wetsuits That Grow On Trees

Fants make kids’ wetsuits from natural rubber that look good and do good.
Sponsored

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Studio Visit

Designer Jordan Fleming Makes Playful ‘Creatures’ That Double As Lamps

Her handcrafted pieces are like towering, functional sculptures as tall as people – that look like they could come alive at any moment!
Christina Karras

News

A Summery New Collection By Australia’s Oldest Textile Mill

Shop Waverly Mills’ beautiful new range of blankets, rugs, and throws, with all fabrics made at their century-old factory!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Tiny Slice Of Japan Inside A Pink Darlinghurst Terrace

Ceramicist Laura Butler shares her 1890s Darlinghurst pink terrace, renovated by Trias in accordance with Japanese design principles.

Stays

Escape To This Magical Tiny Home In The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Step inside an adorable, off-grid getaway on a farm, with 'no distractions', limited phone reception and a wood-fired hot tub.
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Coastal Oasis Designed + Built By The Owners

Lauren Patista-Trickey and Jonathon Patista admit being both client and builder/designer was 'a journey', but the result made it all worth i...

Shopping

Bonnie & Neil's Sunny New Collection Is Inspired By Mediterranean Beach Clubs

Bonnie & Neil are bringing the colours of the Italian coast and Grecian-style prints to our home with their new summer collection!
Christina Karras
  13 hours ago

Homes

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

Modernist architect Ernest Fooks designed some of Melbourne’s outstanding mid-century properties, including the 1960s home of Ilana Moses
Lucy Feagins
  21 hours ago

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney.

Homes

Australian Fashion Legend Pip Edwards’ Rose Bay Home

The bold yet sophisticated home of P.E Nation co-founder and creative director, Pip Edwards.

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.

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