Home Beautiful|August 2020
With its deliciously dark walls, the Federation home of Melbourne florist Kate and her husband, Parker, is a testament to the transformative power of color. Soulful yet serene, the inky-hued rooms present as cocooning havens, enlivened by a treasure trove of delightful vintage collectibles, sculptural pendants and, of course, freshly picked blooms. And that’s exactly as Kate envisaged. “To me, a dark palette makes a room feel very tranquil – a space where you do want to put your feet up,” she explains.
Certainly, when Kate and Parker first walked through the century-old weatherboard five years ago – instantly enchanted by its soaring ceilings, intricate plasterwork, and leadlight windows – the spaces looked very different. “The walls and trims were painted in quite a colorful palette,” recalls Kate. “There were lots of oranges, navy blue, lemon and mint green – almost every color in the rainbow. While it wasn’t quite us, we immediately felt the house itself was the right fit and we could put our stamp on it.”
The hands-on couple set to work installing new carpet, curtains, and stand-out lighting in the living and sleeping zones. Kate also turned her attention to the walls. The moody paintwork proved to be the masterstroke of the makeover. “I painted all of the rooms myself, as well as the kitchen cabinets,” she says. “I loved doing it! I knew immediately that I would paint most of the rooms dark, and that I could pull it off because the house has great proportions.”
When it was time to decorate the home, Kate also knew exactly where to begin – with the past. Having long harbored a love for breathing new life into secondhand gems, the self-confessed bowerbird was in her element. “I love the charm of retro things – it’s a real passion of mine to set off to a vintage market on the weekend with Parker to find some little treasures,” she says. “I’m always on the lookout – and I can see things I love from a mile away! It’s the fact that those pieces have a previous life that has always appealed to me.”
Fittingly, too, the home’s history is palpable as ever – its latest metamorphosis celebrating its past while looking to the future. “We have a street party every February and I have come to hear a lot about the house and who has lived here,” says Kate, who displays foliage, including fresh-cut hydrangeas and sculptural branches, throughout the home. “I now know that the previous owner worked for the arts and held lots of after-parties here. So, the house would definitely have a few stories to tell.” If only these freshly painted walls could talk.
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