To give a house that homely, lived-in feeling, a style update alone does not always suffice. That was the case with my Northcote project: after one meeting with the client and a walk through the home, we decided a bigger makeover was in order.

I began with the daughters’ bedrooms. They were a little bare, so I added new rugs, chairs and mirrors – topped off with decorative cushions. Now they are comfortable and sleek.

Making an underused space beautiful and practical

The client had a formal sitting room going unused. I figured that if I was to revitalise it, the family would find it a warm and welcoming space. I dressed the walls in green grass paper, laid a custom-made rug, and added a console table and feature lamps. They had a modular sofa that already suited my redesign, so I topped it with some scatter cushions to tie it in.

I moved next to the informal kitchen-dining-family room area, a modular zone which lacked warmth and a distinct visual style. The client had contributed a sofa, a dining table with chairs, and some amazing light fixtures, but it needed more. So I sourced a new rug and set it beneath a new imported coffee table. Next came lighting and decorations: I added feature lamps and sculptures to finish the look.

Finally, to the dining area, I added new side tables and a custom-made sideboard.

Dynamic style for the master bedroom

First, I sourced an imported silk wallpaper to be installed to the stairwell leading to the master bedroom. No easy feat for my paper installer, but the result was worth every bit of effort.

On to the bedroom: Imported lighting fixtures gave the dull room a touch of lustre. I added a writing desk and chair, as well as a bedroom chair and side tables. I also designed a custom stool to sit at the end of the bed.

The hero of the design, however, is a custom wall-to-wall black and white carpet. It covers the entire bedroom and extends to the his and hers dressing rooms. Lastly, to add extra dynamism to the dressing rooms, I placed a custom green velvet ottoman.

Bold, eye-catching oak for the study

This room, situated on the upper level, also needed a makeover. I pulled out all existing joinery and installed custom-made American oak joinery, with all new cabinets, in its place. To the walls I installed copper grass paper – along with the new sheer curtains, it added some softness to complement the feature bronze pendant light.

Finally, I laid the same black and white carpet as the master bedroom.

What started as a house of disparate styles with little warmth has now become a home with a distinct lived-in feeling – and the client is thrilled with the end result.

Location: Northcote, Melbourne
Photographer: Martina Gemmola