A Designer's Family Home, Passed Down Through Generations

Suzy Tuxen, founder and creative director of A Friend of Mine design studio, grew up in Brighton, Melbourne often visiting her nearby Apa’s (grandpa’s) house, with an avocado tree in the backyard.

After a decade living in the city’s north with her husband Shane Loorham (creative director at Liquorice)  the couple moved back to Suzy’s childhood suburb with their two children Raffy (8), and Ced (3) and into the very 1970s house her grandpa once called home!

With the help of a builder friend and interior designer Felicity Miller, the family have since completed an extensive renovation introducing more warmth, light and function across the property’s existing footprint.

The avocado tree is still standing, and has just produced a bumper crop!

Lucy Feagins
Editorial Styling

Annie Portelli + Sarah Hendriks

Supported by Dulux

The living room. Original timber lined ceiling and arched fireplace. Artwork by Michael Wall above the fireplace. Print by Ronan Bouroullec. Hans J. Wegner dining table from Carl Hansen. Reupholstered Featherstone Scape Chairs.

Joe Colombo Bent Ply Chair from Kartell. Artwork by Michael Wall. Ceramic floor tiles by Bruce Rowe of Anchor Ceramics.

From left: Raffy (8), Shane, Ced (3), and Suzy in their living room. Akari Ceiling Pendant by Isamu Noguchi. Artwork by Michael Wall. Black Notes Coat hook by Fred Ganim.

Arflex Strips Sofa by Cini Boeri. Joe Colombo Bent Ply Chair from Kartell. Black Notes coat hook by Fred Ganim. Artwork by Michael Wall. Print by Ronan Bouroullec. Akari ceiling pendant by Isamu Noguchi.

Print by Ronan Bouroullec. On top shelf: Black Alessi Thermos Jug by Michael Graves. Metal vase by Hattie Molloy. Green vase by BZippy. Lower shelf: Bowl from an op-shop. Bookend by Tom Dixon. Black jug by Ben Mendansky. Artwork by Michael Wall.

Bookshelf built into the wall. Maroon brick piece by Nathalie du Pasquier.

The study nook, which used to be a cocktail cabinet! Casala Chair found at an op-shop.

Portrait of Raff by Tobias Gutman. Bookend by Tom Dixon. Black jug by Ben Mendansky. Black vase from Makers Mrkt.

Arflex Strips Sofa by Cini Boeri. Akari ceiling pendant by Isamu Noguchi. Hans J. Wegner dining table from Carl Hansen. Reupholstered Featherstone Scape Chairs.

‘We tried to sympathetically incorporate the pole into the bench, we’d been inspired by some mid-century New Zealand builds that embraced the structural supports, we liked the idea of not trying to hide the pole,’ Suzy says.

The kitchen. Framed artwork by Matlok Griffiths. 1960s lamp bought in Pitigliano, Italy.

The bathroom. Ilse Crawford Jug from IKEA. Mask by Park Pardon from Pan After. Mug from Third Drawer Down.

Artwork by Nathalie du Pasquier from The Wrong Shop. Le Corbusier Lampe de Marseille from Cult. Framed artworks by Carla Grbac and Studio HiHo. &Tradition Como SC53 Portable Table Lamp from Cult. Vintage Bentwood chair. Pendant by HAY.

Ced’s room. Rodolfo Bonetto Boomerang Chair by B-line. Storage unit from Grandfather’s Axe. Framed artwork from Arts Project. &Tradition Setago Table Lamp from Cult. Pendant by HAY.

Raffy’s room. ‘I found two original Kartell Componibilis on the side of the road — both boys have one each!’ Suzy says. Print on left by Steve Gavan. Painting on right by Bec Smith.

The front courtyard with a tropical garden. Vintage Sputnik Satellite Chair inherited from Suzy’s grandma. Vintage Breotex Wire Chair.

Lucy Feagins
Editorial Styling

Annie Portelli + Sarah Hendriks

12th of July 2023
Interior Design

Brighton, VIC/Wurundjeri Country

Suzy Tuxen has many fond memories visiting her Brighton family home as a child, as it used to belong to her late Apa (grandpa).

After many years of inner-city apartment living, the founder and creative director of design studio A Friend of Mine moved back to the bayside Melbourne suburb with her husband Shane Loorham, creative director at Liquorice, in search of more space for their children Raffy (8), and Ced (3), and their family pet, Cotton the Samoyed dog.

‘Dad at the time was renting out Apa’s old place, and long story short, we ended up buying the house off him for a bit of a discount! (Thanks Dad)’ says Suzy.

The original house was a 1970s dark brown brick, with a L-shaped floor plan on a subdivided block.

A lot of the personality and original features had been removed by the time Suzy and Shane bought the house, so they embarked on a renovation with interior designer Felicity Miller and a builder friend who identified the home’s potential.

‘[The builder] came to our house one day and he got excited with a quick pen sketch on a napkin for the floor plan, and it was brilliant, then offered to help us do the build,’ says Suzy.

Felicity designed the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms to be more warm and inviting. ‘The footprint of the house is still the same — with the L-shaped building wrapping around our courtyard — but we rearranged the interior as it was so compartmentalised before,’ says Suzy.

‘We really overhauled the inside of the house, as it was super dark. Where you now see our structural poles in the living room and kitchen there used to be a wall, so you would enter the house and be faced with a wall a metre away. It really wasn’t a great layout.’

The walls were painted Dulux Natural White, which contrasts with the dark Dulux Black facade, to create the illusion of a brighter interior.

‘We traded an artwork in exchange for getting the soft bagged brick render, which really softened and brightened the original deep grout lines of the dark brick,’ Suzy says.

Suzy and Shane also did a huge amount of DIY throughout the renovation, including painting, tiling, and gardening. ‘We started with ripping out an overgrown tangle of ivy and dead trees, and instead planted natives around the back with a new snowy gumtree, monstera, and banana palms out the front so we’d have some greenery to look out upon,’ says Suzy.

The interior styling is art filled, personal, and family friendly, ‘Which it has to be!’ says Suzy. ‘We have family, friends and kids here all the time, and our kids are next level wild… we originally had a glass pendant in the living room but it smashed during a sword fight – so you’ll see we opt for paper lanterns now!’

The couple have also collected many chairs over several years, including the Sputnik Satellite chair from Suzy’s grandmother, and an original Casala chair from an op-shop. ‘We are obsessive chair collectors, we have a no-fakes policy!’ Suzy says.

Post-renovation, Suzy and Shane’s family home is a stylish, yet super functional and down-to-earth family pad – we’re sure Suzy’s Apa would approve!

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