Inside our home


It’s been more than six months since I moved from Perth to Canberra, but in that time I’ve ended up spending more time in Perth than in Canberra, for one reason or another. Now for the first time I’m actually going to be in Canberra for a decent stint, with no trips back to Perth planned for the immediate future! So this seemed like a good time to share some photos from our little home here. Little is definitely the word, as we’re in a tiny one bedroom apartment here. It was a bit of an adjustment after our not-huge-but-very-comfortable 3 bedroom home in Perth, but I’ve quite enjoyed the challenges it’s thrown up. I find the more restrictions you have – and here we had space and financial restrictions – the more creative you need to be, and sometimes you come up with ideas you never would have had otherwise. Within about three days of being here I had put my stamp on our little space and made it feel like our home.

We chose this apartment partly because of its location (it’s in Lyneham, which is a nice green area, and walking distance from a couple of good bars and shops), because it had a little outdoor area (yay!), and because of its aspect – it faces east but has lots of windows on the north side so it’s lovely and sunny, which makes such a difference. It’s also a brand new apartment, which in the absence of a beautiful old house (which are few and far between in Canberra) is kind of nice.

Apart from the bathroom and bedroom there is just one room, with the kitchen running down one wall. It’s a small space, and only a rental, but with a few little touches we’ve managed to make it our own.

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I began the leaf wall when I first moved here and started going for daily walks around the neighbourhood. I was so amazed (and still am) by how beautiful and green it is here and most days I collect a bit of greenery or a feather on my walk and add it to the wall. I really miss having a garden so I find as many ways as I can to bring bits of greenery indoors. The beautiful woven basket is one of my most prized possessions! Last year I became really interested in the work of indigenous Australian basket weavers and James gave me this piece for Christmas, which is from the National Gallery. The red fan is from an amazing shop in Berlin called Manufactum.

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I really love our table from Tressel Table Co., which doubles as a workspace. The only furniture we brought over from Perth was our bed – everything else went into storage and we picked up just the necessities over here. The table is the one piece that was a bit special (although not expensive, as tables go) and is something we plan to keep and hopefully use as a desk down the track. The little tray above is by Oelwein; the salt dish is from Funkis; the coasters are by Filzfelt; the pepper mill was bought in Turkey and the little bottles are from Mr Sparrow.

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I picked up this 1950s-style sideboard and the chair at Mugga Lane Recycling Centre for $20 for the lot! The sideboard came with doors that were locked…and no key. After trying every trick in the book to get them open, James eventually ended up ripping them off and the result is these open shelves, which I actually much prefer. The few pieces of art on top of the sideboard are favourites brought over from Perth, including a watercolour of Kafka by our friend Anne. We’re not allowed to put hooks up in our walls here (ah, the joys of renting!), so tabletop displays are the way to go…everything we have on the walls is up there with non-damaging sticky stuff. The books and the lamp also came over from Perth; the wooden deer is from an amazing vintage shop called Grandpa’s Shed in Fitzroy Falls; the fluro orange magnetic sticks are by Daniel:Emma (from Mr Sparrow); the little wooden houses are from BLANK; the vase was a Christmas present from my mum from Venn.

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Our sofa and coffee table were cheap pieces James picked up as soon as he got here. The sofa converts to a bed, which is handy, but it’s an ugly red vinyl, so we keep it covered with a mix of bright, patterned throws and cushions. The blue and yellow vintage sari throw is from Prismera Design and the red patterned one is from Bali. The cushions are from various places – my favourites are the yellow velvet penny round cushion from Castle, the little square one made by Eko using nani IRO fabric, and the medium square one by Imogen Heath.




The fun thing about moving here and leaving all our stuff in storage was that it gave me the opportunity to scour all the local op shops and salvage yards for a new mish mash of plates, glasses and mugs! My favourite find was a pair of 1960s Swedish serving bowls (that’s one holding the fruit), which I picked up at an op shop for a song. The yellow and white candle holder/vase is from Venn; the little house incense burner is from Mr Sparrow; I wrote a DIY on making the dipped kitchen utensils back here; the envelope above is where I pop little bits of memorabilia from each month; the soft toys were take home gifts from Eko’s boys’ first birthday.


Our bedroom is only small but nice and light and bright. The bunting was a housewarming gift from Angy, who I met through Mr Sparrow; I wrote a DIY on making the paper wreath back here; the velvet cushions are by Kip & Co and were a sweet gift from Jelena when she bought Mr Sparrow.

IMG_1390And finally, the entrance to our little home, with a poster I made for James for Valentine’s Day. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this tour with me!

This entry was published on February 21, 2013 at 11:59 pm. It’s filed under inspire and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Inside our home

  1. I was reading and looking and going wow, wow, wow… gorgeous… and then the soy wax candle ruined it. We obviously all have our own personal ethics, but I would have thought that photographing a genetically modified, chemically bleached, heavy metal hydrogenated oil to make it look acceptable (and even attractive for that matter) is a little beyond the pale – particularly from someone who actually knows better.

  2. Hi Cate, you are absolutely right – so much so that I’ve removed that photo. I bought that candle in Perth about a year ago…I got sucked in by the pretty packaging, which is really unacceptable when as you say, I know better.

    • Anna – what a beautiful response. Thank you. Remember that ‘pretty packaging’ probably felled several forests and was made in China… we have to scratch below the surface. Believe me, on one level I would love to have elaborate boxes made in China. The quotes are cheaper than our minimalist packaging printed in Australia by an ISO certified environmental printer, on elemental chlorine free, Australian FSC certified or recycled card printed with soy ink!! I get it. I genuinely do. And my comment was really aimed at your beautiful photography… if you can just capture one of it billowing out toxic smoke like it does when it is lit, I won’t mind at all! Back to wow, wow, wow… gorgeous now. 🙂 xx

  3. picturette on said:

    I know what you mean about how green it is over here, I made a similar move about 3 years ago—from Perth to Sydney—and the lushness still amazes me! I guess a small place means you curate your belongings and only choose the best things to display 🙂

  4. You’ve done such an amazing job with your apartment! I rent as well (though ours is a very small 2-bedroom… I think I’d rather have one larger room, to be honest! so I can definitely relate to how hard it is to personalize a space that’s not strictly your own. Re wall displays: I’ve been trying to use those sticky 3M hooks to hang things on the wall, but I like your use of… surgical tape? Genius! Much less obtrusive to the eye. P.S you’ve got beautiful things from most of my favourite Perth shops! Love Mr Sparrow. Even more now that Jelena owns it (I met Jelena and Dave yeeeeears ago when we worked together at the same hospital. Beautiful people!).

    • Thanks so much, Laura! The tape I’ve used is mt tape (Mr Sparrow sells it!), which comes in all different colours and patterns and is totally removable so it’s been a godsend here! I actually used to own Mr Sparrow! I started it up almost five years ago but had to sell at the end of last year because I was moving over east. I’m so happy that Jelena took over, though, because she is so lovely and I felt I could trust my baby in her hands!

      • Oh, Anna! I didn’t recognise your name at first, but I met and emailed with you in 2011 when you owned Mr Sparrow 🙂 🙂 I got lots of props for my wedding (Nov 2011) from your store, including various types of string, bottles and some beautiful little camellia sweet bags from Poppies for Grace, which I used for bonboniere sweets and wedding cake! I still remember how lovely you were, how you managed to get some extra stock in when I bought all of your remaining sweet bags, and how you gave me a little bit of a discount. Was such a pleasure, and I completely fell in love with your vision for the store back then. Nice to know that it’s in good hands now… and I’m glad that you’ve settled in well in canberra! Are you going to be staying there permanently? Sending you a big hug… thanks for being a part of our special day… it wouldn’t have been the same without you 🙂

  5. Hi Laura! Oh I absolutely remember you! It was the Poppies for Grace sweet bags that triggered my memory 🙂 I’m so glad you had such a positive experience and that I was able to be a small part of your wedding day! Our brief time in Canberra is actually going to be coming to an end fairly soon – we have some exciting plans in the works to move overseas! I’ll be writing a post on it soon (just want to finalise a few things first!) 🙂 Anyway, lovely to hear from you! xx

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