During the weekend I was reflecting on press from over the years and paused when looking at an article about my old home in South Melbourne. It was truly one of a kind. When I attempted to describe it to people it never made sense, it would usually go something like 'It was two homes in one and was the old Italian club so has a hall like feel and really tall ceilings'. Very understandably I would usually get a really confused nod back from who ever it was I was telling. The house was split into two, one side for the kids and another side for me which was upstairs and was very lofty. Each side had it's own entrance and kitchen and we ended up putting a door in so we didn't have to go in and out every time.
When you entered through the main door you would immediately see a nine metre high atrium which took you up to the upstairs living areas. On this level was a butler's kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living area and a mezzanine attic which featured my studio. The mezzanine was fantastic as it had a glass roof which provided natural light which is always helpful when painting. The downside to this and for those who are contemplating putting a glass roof in is that it attracts a tremendous amount of heat and can be unbearable at times during the day. The layout on all three levels was vastly open which I always adored because it gave me so much room to decorate and had an abundance of light which is very important to me.
The downstairs area still reflected the dance hall vibe as it's ceilings were at least 4-5 metres high and was incredibly wide. We had a new kitchen installed and the ceiling painted red to match the Campari lights and red chandelier we put in. The kids's bedrooms were downstairs both painted different shades of blue and the laundry hidden away behind very striking pink cabinets. I bought two white Poltrona Frau Kennedee sofas for the downstairs living area because it needed large sofas to fill the space and balance the red ceiling. Through my travels I picked up a lot of unique pieces to decorate the house. The only way to describe the style is eclectic, as I rarely had a space which had one style. Most pieces were antiques which I love and some inherited from my parents. My goal for this home was to create spaces which were welcoming to guests and inspiring to live in. I think we succeeded at achieving that.
The building was built in 1857 by Knight & Kerr who interestingly also built the Victorian Parliament house. Over it's life the building was home to the Mechanics Institute, The Italian Club Cavour and also a dance hall. I was once told Frank Sinatra visited when he was in Melbourne, so let's just pretend that is true. It had so much character and appeal which I believe is hard to find now. My next home will most likely be a smaller version of this style as I just adore the loft style living and to be honest my furniture won't suit many other styles.