anne ditmeyerinterior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: stewart russell of spacecraft

by anne

In 2000, Stewart Russell and Donna O’Brien relocated to Melbourne, Australia, from London and founded , a studio and shop focused on a creative range of printed goods and products. With their two daughters, Grace and Flora, they now split their time between Fitzroy, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, and a wooden farmhouse on the Mornington Peninsula, which we’re lucky enough to have a peek at today. They haven’t changed much since moving in, realizing that the 1920s interior suited them well, so they just fixed things up a bit and moved in a few things. Their goal is to keep the house simple and casual, making it a place they can go to enjoy nature and the landscape around them — and disconnect (no Internet). Despite being only an hour away from their city home, it’s a healthy escape for the whole family. Thanks, Stewart! —

Thanks to for the photographs and Danielle Smyth, who was doing an internship at the studio and stood in as stylist!

Image above: This room lights up in the morning; it has eucalyptus, grevillea and bottle brush trees close to the east wall that attract an enormous variety of native birds. The bird song at first light is so intense that if you plan to sleep late this isn’t the right room to fall asleep. The photo shows patchwork bed linen (sewn by the incomparable Jeannette Mayne), magnificent red bottle brush in flower, a margarita dress hanging and a small painting by Bessie Sims, an important central-desert indigenous artist.

Image above: Artwork is everywhere. In the kitchen, a backing cloth painting hangs above a table featuring a model village by Grace. On the mantle is a ceramic piece by friend and collaborator Kate Daw, and under the table is an original series, artplay seat.

Image above: Also in the kitchen, artplay boxes are used as kitchen storage/shelving. The ceramic cockerel was a gift from an adventure in Turkey (if I remember rightly, it was made as a talisman for Turkish football team Trabzonspor). On the wall is a map of Philip Island, due east of Merricks, where we go by ferry to see a huge colony of tiny penguins.

Image above: Flora’s bedroom with her riding boots and an Angel I created to look after her when she falls off.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the sneak peek (and all of the images on one page) after the jump!

Image above: The kitchen is the center of all indoor activities; propagating seeds, rudimentary joinery, animal husbandry, communal cooking, drawing and very occasionally homework. The Tasmanian oak floors that run throughout the house are original and in exceptional condition.

Image above: This white-tiled bathroom is light filled. Next to the bathtub is a limited edition zaishu seat with spacecraft prints.

Image above: This is a quieter bedroom; Grace uses this room in summer but moves in with Flora in winter. It’s periodically covered in photographs and drawings of horses. The room is only accessible from an outside door or if you’re nimble through an internal window. When you need to escape from the kitchen, this is where to go.

Image above: We found an old house name plaque in the attic. I’m familiar with rowan trees in Scotland, and we had a huge one in our garden growing up in Scotland. No rowan trees are in the gardens now and the name hasn’t been accepted, but it’s a nice reminder of a previous link [to] the house [in] Scotland.

Image above: The outdoors is the key feature of life in this part of the world; the seas can be big and the coast line rugged and compelling. In winter, wet weather gear is a good friend.

Image above: One of the many mature oak trees in the gardens. They create a cool haven in summer. When Grace doesn’t want to be found, look up — you usually find her high up in this oak tree.

Suggested For You


  • Red and lime green is such a hot color combination right now. I particularly love when a red and white pattern is combined with a bright green.

  • This house looks like by rights it should be cluttered/overwhelmed, given the amount of art — but it’s not. So much calm white, with points of bright color simply giving focus to each room and its geometry. Lovely.

  • yay for the ceramic cockerel ! i could not believe when i bumped into the name of the team i support reading the explanations of pictures ! what a small world ! beautiful house by the way ;)

  • What a lovely house! I love the red and white patterns. Also, I’m sure the angel over the bed is for when the child “falls off to sleep”, but I giggled thinking about a special patron angel for when kids “fall off” the bed. ^_^

  • A seriously lovely store and designs that are so refreshingly different. Nice to see a laid-back weekender to match. Thanks

  • I adore that quilted dovet cover, so good to see great quilting again. Were could I find one of my own?

  • Thanks everyone for the comments, enjoying sharing the images.

    @Ceren – I used to follow the fortunes of Trabzonspor because of this gift, but must admit haven’t for a while. How are they going ?

    @Abigail – I think I meant, ” falling off” horses, but sleep and falling out works well too

    @Dan – thanks for your interest – we plan open an on line store in 2011, but for the moment the stores handle enquiries for overseas, nice and personal.

    @Jess – thanks Jess, our stores are in Melbourne and we don’t have an outlet outside of Australia but stores will send you images and details of the patchwork bed linen.
    [email protected]

  • Could you tell me who is the maker of the ‘artplay’ seat? Really love the construct, simple, bold design!

  • Rowanberry! How wonderful! My son’s name is Rowan, and now I want that sign!

    Really lovely home.

  • @Tony – artplay is set of limited edition products designed and made by spacecraft studio. check website for more images of the construction of the artplay seat and current edition.

  • well, we are at the top spot in turkish league nowadays, have great hope this season to be champions ! if we become the champions this season, wait for great things to come in your way ha ? :) or maybe you should come visit Trabzon again. who knows :) anyways keep the good style going !

  • Hello,

    what is exactly on the table in 5th picture? Are they wooden pieces with a printout on it? They are really great. I like them!!!

  • @ Seda Han – they are a set of printed wooden blocks – screen printed photographs of Australian and European architecture. It’s called Artplay 3D, check the studio blog on the website for more images. Thanks for your interest !

Leave a Reply

Design*Droits-Humains reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.