This Australian Home Mixes Natural Woods, Muted Colors, and Interesting Forms for a Calm Vibe

published Nov 24, 2020
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Name: Ellen Maire, Patrick, and Joni
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Ellen, Patrick, and their daughter Joni, age 2 1/2, live in a post-war brick house in Melbourne, Australia. Their charming home is flush with original details such as cornices, ceiling plasterwork, and lovely wooden window frames. It’s an architectural style that suits the couple’s nature and vintage aesthetic perfectly.

Ellen is an illustrator, painter, and botanical enthusiast who (like many people) has been working from her home, and yes, her artwork does adorn some of the walls. She’s not the only one creating things for their space, though; Patrick works with wood and has crafted smaller items found in their home such as the bedside tables and a shoe rack.

On her style and inspiration: Ellen describes her interior style as “eclectic, vintage, natural,” saying she draws inspiration from mid-century design, the ’70s (“the good bits”), and traditional Japanese influence. This all adds up to a natural spin on modernism that feels super relaxed.

On her favorite element: Ellen says she loves “our wooden windows, fireplace, and the sunlight that fills the house most days.”

On toy rotation: To keep the mess manageable Joni and Patrick try to pack away batches of toys at certain times, so they don’t have too much laying around.

On tidying up after a toddler: Keeping the house tidy is Ellen’s biggest challenge. “We are continually picking up after our tornado toddler,” Joni says. “I find picking up toys throughout the day and keeping them stored nicely helps,” she add. “The floor is constantly covered in crumbs, though!,” she laughs. “I have to sweep up about four times a day!”

Best Advice: Not to take house styling too seriously. Not everything has to perfectly match; sometimes contrast ends up working the best. 

Dream Sources: Heimur, Woodchuck (Netherlands), CIBI, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pop & Scott.

On the best compliment she’s received: I had one friend tell me our house is like a museum, as there was so much to look at in each room. A vintage

On using vintage in kid rooms: All the furniture in Joni’s room is vintage. Ellen likes it because, says she and Patrick have always been “drawn to more interesting pieces with history rather than your typical nursery room fit out.” They also say Joni has always been quite respectful of furniture (for the most part). “We didn’t need to baby proof the furniture as much as some parents with super-energetic kids,” she says.

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

On stylish storage: “Patrick made the hat stand on a whim and it turned out great,” says Joni of the wood stand to the right of the vintage dresser in their entryway. The wooden peg rail / shelf is by Woodchuck, who Joni describes as “amazing designers based in the Netherlands.”

On a bedroom indulgence: Ellen says the linen bedding (from Australian brands Bed Threads and In Bed Store ) was a worthwhile splurge.

On the power of DIY: “I can’t make anything other than my artwork, but I absolutely love the beautiful wooden bedside tables that Patrick made that live in our bedroom,” says Ellen. “He just plays around. He’s a creative person.”

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott
This work-from-home set up is in the bedroom. The vintage pinboard was a gift from a friend friend.

Thanks Ellen, Patrick, and Joni!