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.
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 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.