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The Design Files’ Top 10 Australian Homes of 2022!

Homes

Today we’re kicking off our annual tradition of revisiting the ‘best of’ stories from the past year, with our favourite (and most popular) column; Australian Homes

These homes are TDF’s bread and butter – and boy, did we see some spectacular ones this year; from an art-filled Melbourne rental to a sweeping Wes Anderson-inspired Sydney abode, and a hidden mid-century gem in the Dandenongs!

 So, without further ado, here are your most popular Australian homes of 2022!

26th December, 2022

‘The only white wall in the house’ is painted in Dulux Vivid White. Travel finds and vintage pieces fill the space. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The windmill dates from the 1940s and used to pump the water captured from the roof back up to the tanks. We have restored it and next year hope to connect up the water to use for the garden in times of drought,’ says Richard. Photo – Anson Smart

Artwork by Evi Oetemo and photographer Gary Heery sit amongst vintage finds. ‘The house dates from 1896 but parts were heavily reworked in the late 70s using rare Australian hardwoods,’ says Richard. Photo – Anson Smart

 

An Incredible 1896 Waterfront House, Accessible Only By Boat

We see phenomenal houses on a daily basis at The Design Files, but rarely do we audibly gasp like we did seeing garden designer Richard Unsworth’s home for the first time!

Located on Rocky Point in Lovett Bay – a northern Sydney suburb only accessible by water – Richard has been holidaying in this house for 25 years with the previous owner’s daughter, Justine Johnston. The friends and their respective partners purchased the home together from Justine’s mother six years ago, spending weekends by the water ever since!

Read the full story here.

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

‘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

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

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

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!

Read the full story here.

Kitchen island from Ikea. Painting and ceramic on wall by Kate Isobel Scott. Photography – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

An Under-The-Radar Modernist Masterpiece In The Dandenongs

When we first came across images of this house, we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing!

Usually a mid-century house of this calibre has been well-documented in the media, yet this near-original condition property with an amazing indoor garden and pond is almost completely unknown!

Located in Melbourne’s Ferny Creek, on the edge of the Dandenong Ranges, the house has been in the hands of White Salt Photography owner Janine Harris and her family since 2014. They’ve restored the original living spaces, while renovating the bathrooms and a kitchen to suit their young family.

Read the full story here. 

Tamarama’s best apartment balcony! Paintings by Sam Shub. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Paintings by Sam Shub. Mobile by Walk In The Park Studio. Vintage ’70s lamp and side table from Mitchell Road Antique & Design Centre. Vintage side table from Curated Spaces. Throw by Slowdown Studio. Bed linen by Bed Threads. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Tall green vase by Sam Shub (Charlie’s grandfather). Small vintage vase. Paintings and photography by Charlie Ford, Nick Modrzewski, Kris Andrew Small, Nabilah Nordin, Mark Chu, Micke Lindeberg, Otis Hope Carey, Jake Reston and Sam Shub. Large photo artwork by Charlie Ford. Table gifted by Charlie’s grandmother. Sideboard that Jordana found on the street and refurbished. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

A Spanish Mission Wonderland In Tamarama

The apartment of film and TV directors Jordana Johnson and Charlie Ford is one of those rare rental properties most Sydneysiders only dream of.

Located in a circa 1915 Spanish Mission building, the apartment’s elevated position in Tamarama (on aptly named Wonderland Avenue!) provides views of the ocean in one direction, and the building’s leafy garden on the other, while offering plenty of interior space for the couple’s sentimental art collection.

Read the full story here.

Wooden works on beam by Alex Booker. Two square works on wall by Sally M Nangala Mulda. Cardboard cutout on wall by Klaas Gubbels. 1960s oak cabinet upstairs by Thygesen & Sorensen. Hand embroidered pillow by Kate Isobel Scott. Tonga stool from Pan After. Table Lamp #1 by Nicole Lawrence Studio x Seb Brown. Pan After basket. Green chair from CCSS Melbourne. Niels Eilersen ‘Arizona’ Sofa by Jens Juul Eilersen. Pillow on sofa by India Mahdavi. Upper yellow artwork on wall by Martin Lukáč. Lower yellow artwork on wall by Gijsje Heemskerk. Raffia Donut Stool by Pan After.  Le Feu De L’Eau Chartreuse candle. Photography – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Wooden works on beam by Alex Booker. Two square works on wall by Sally M Nangala Mulda. Cardboard cutout on wall by Klaas Gubbels. Table Lamp #1 by Nicole Lawrence Studio x Seb Brown. Green chair from CCSS Melbourne. Tonga stool from Pan After. Photography – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Kitchen island from Ikea. Painting and ceramic on wall by Kate Isobel Scott. Photography – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The Charming Fitzroy Rental Of Two Artists

It’s amazing what colour infused across art, textiles, and books alone can do for a home, especially when styling a rental property. In the hands of artists, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk and Kate Isobel Scott, a previously cobweb-ridden house has become a warm eclectic home… without making a single structural change!

In creating this home, Jordy and Kate have invested in furniture they’ll have for many years, shipped across delightful pieces and books from their previous home in The Netherlands, and embraced brick and timber surfaces to personalise their Fitzroy rental property.

Read the full story here.

Blue vase by Lucy Tolan. Vase on coffee table from Morgan Peck. Blue dish by Clae Studio. Planter, sculpture and striped lamp by Neighbourhood Studio. Painting above planter by Patrick Japangardi Williams. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Side table and planter by Neighbourhood Studio. Vase on coffee table from Morgan Peck. Blue dish by Clae Studio. Cushion by Clumsy Clumsy. Print by Lilli Waters. Lamp by Lucas Wearne. Walls painted in Dulux Natural White. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Shelf by Neighbourhood Studio. Painting by Ton Gerrand. Kitchen cabinetry from Ikea. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Thornbury Cafe Turned Delightful DIY Home

Buying a home in covetable Thornbury took plenty of research, patience, and persistence for artist Lucas Wearne of Neighbourhood Studio and social worker Lucy Hyslop.

The couple searched across commercial and residential listings for something suitable, which eventually led them to a historical shopfront most recently used as a cafe.

Lucy and Lucas spent six weeks getting the property to a habitable state, creating the charming home you see today!

Read the full story here.

The South Yarra home of Mandy Wilton, designed by Seam Godsell. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A potted Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ in the courtyard creates a minimalist, Japanese feel. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Customised timber joinery by Carpentry by Stu. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

An Architecturally Superb Melbourne Home By Sean Godsell

When our art director Annie Portelli returned from photographing this house, she said it was her favourite home we’ve ever featured – and that’s a pretty big call!

Designed by one of Australia’s most acclaimed modern architects, Sean Godsell, the recently renovated South Yarra home is refined, warm, and meticulously considered.

Owner Mandy Wilton lives here with her son Nicholas (whose home and business occupies the rear self-contained quarters), while her other son Dominic lives just three doors down with his family. The home’s internal courtyard and clever design allows space for the entire extended family to congregate — something they do very regularly!

Read the full story here.

Dining looking into kitchen. Kitchen with spotted gum veneer, natural brass and reeded glass. Czech made rattan dining chairs from Facebook Marketplace. Cultiver tablecloth. Anfibio from Supellex sofa. Photography – Eve Wilson. Styling – Annie Portelli

The dining/living area with mezzanine bedroom above. Photography – Eve Wilson. Styling – Annie Portelli

Looking down to the living room from the mezzanine. Anfibio from Supellex sofa. Swedish bamboo armchairs from Angelucci. Rug bought from Joels Auctions. Mirror by Sarah Shinners. Photography – Eve Wilson. Styling – Annie Portelli

Butterfly chair from Angelucci. Czech made rattan dining chairs from Facebook Marketplace. Cultiver tablecloth. Akari pendant. Photography – Eve Wilson. Styling – Annie Portelli

A Mid-Century Renovation That Masterfully Blends Old And New

If interior designer Sarah Conly and engineer Hugh O’Brien hadn’t bought this mid-century house, it’s likely the Ivanhoe East property wouldn’t exist today.

Not only did the couple save the home from potential demolition, they’ve spent the last two years enhancing its 1960s bones with sympathetic restorations that masterfully blend old and new.

It’s been A LOT of work, but the result is one very special home!

Read the full story here.

Artwork by Jordy Kerwick. The record cabinet was made and designed by Liam with wood he salvaged from a rubbish pile heading to the landfill. The red couch was a Facebook Marketplace find and the kilim cushions are from a shop in Turkey’s Grand Bazaar. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

Liam completed all the tiling himself using vintage tiles. The kitchen island counter top is made from recycled 1940s parquetry dance floor, salvaged from a theatre. The vintage Planet lamp is from Liam’s grandfather. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

The glass vase on the coffee table is 1940s depression glass and the Hairy Chair is from CCSS. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

 

The 1970s Mudbrick Home Of Jewellery Designer Olivia Cummings + The Teskey Brothers Drummer Liam Gough

The home of Liam Gough, drummer of The Teskey Brothers, and Olivia Cummings, designer and founder of jewellery label Cleopatra’s Bling, is a classic mudbrick home, typical of Melbourne’s north-east.

The couple purchased the 1977 owner-built home in North Warrandyte last year, and have since undertaken only minor updates that celebrate the original design.

Over the past twelve months, this has been the perfect work-from-home and living haven for Liam & Olivia, surrounded by towering trees and native wildlife!

Read the full story here.

Upper artwork by Stephen Bird. Lower artwork by Lewis Miller. ‘The kitchen is a tiny galley style! Every kitchen in Beverley Hills is. When I bought my place it had recently been given a white makeover but lacked in storage and was blindingly white as the large windows face east. I changed the lighting throughout and added dimmer switches; this has altered the mood tremendously,’ says Leigh. Photo – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Akari pendant light. Togo Ligne Roset sofa and footstool upholstered in lilac Kvadrat velvet. Painting by Heather B. Swann from Station Gallery. ClassiCon side table. Photo – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Inside interior designer Leigh Ellwood’s apartment in the Beverley Hills complex in South Yarra, Melbourne. Flos Toio Floor Lamp. Vitsœ storage. Svenskt Tenn cushion. Loom rug.  Large painting by Heather B. Swann from Station Gallery. Painting in shelves by Lewis Miller. Ptolomeo bookcase. Artek bed. Photo – Eve Wilson. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

A Historic Melbourne Apartment With Artful, Lived-In Interiors

Interior Designer Leigh Ellwood is a relatively new resident of the famous 1930s ‘Beverly Hills’ apartments in South Yarra. She’s known of the complex for over 30 years, but was still struck by the light-filled interiors when inspecting this particular apartment for sale – and couldn’t resist snapping it up!

Leigh invited us in for a tour of her calm and content space, personalised with a thoughtful edit of furniture and design objects, and a brilliantly eclectic art collection.

Read the full story here.

The art deco-style exterior of the original home seamlessly meets the addition. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Georgie Rose

The kitchen opening to the property’s main courtyard. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Georgie Rose

The sunny lounge in the original portion of the home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli and Georgie Rose

A Unique 1950s Brisbane Home, Transformed To Bring The Outdoors In

Artist Pip Spiro believes the most beautiful homes are an amalgamation of times, places, and movements  — a sentiment that’s reflected in every element of her Brisbane family house, shared with husband Nick Spiro and children Sydney (6), Beatrix (4) and Fred (1).

The house itself was built in the post-war 1950s era, but adopts an earlier interwar functionalist style, comprising curved brick corners, concrete cantilevered window hoods, and metal verandah railings.

Pip and Nick embarked on a major extension of the heritage home designed by Cavill Architects in 2017. The original brick house meets a stunning white addition, concealing relaxed interiors reflective of the Queensland environment and family of five.

Read the full story here.

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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