Home Tours

A cosy, characterful cottage in Melbourne’s bayside

The aptly named Cliff Cottage has gently evolved into a cosy home over time, with updates to suit a family’s changing needs.
farmhouse kitchenPhotography: Caitlin Mills

Set atop a cliff on the edge of Melbourne’s Bayside, the befittingly named Cliff Cottage is surrounded by a wild and dramatic beauty. Yet as the waves crash against rocks outside, the interiors of the home evoke a cosy, inviting atmosphere. It’s a warm and welcoming feeling that fits the cottage’s owners perfectly.

Cottage living room with Austrian blinds and build in cabinetry
In the living room, a Dunes and Duchess ‘Lakehouse’ side table in oak, from Motivo, is paired with antiques such as an armchair upholstered in Westbury linen and a metal vessel. Linen blinds and floor lamp from Jam Interiors and American oak floorboards custom coloured by Jam Interiors. Ottoman, owner’s own. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)

Who lives here? A married couple whose adult children often stay over as well.
What’s your decorating style? Maggie, interior designer: “Classic, contemporary and individual; where comfort and style work hand in hand.”
Favourite feature of the home? “The warm and inviting kitchen, the family room with the lived-in feel and the softly arched ceilings.”
Advice for renovating heritage houses? “Respect period details but don’t be afraid to paint dark timber panelling.”
What was your aim with this project? “To keep the lived-in feel of the home, and add layered and interesting fabrics and detail without making it look too decorated.”

Cottage kitchen with square white wall tiles and island bench with basket storage
A combination of white, wicker and patterns sets the scene. Dulux Natural White and Dulux Navajo White on the walls provide a neutral base, while wicker baskets, sourced through Jam Interiors to fit the open shelving of the walls and island, add a warming contrast. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)


As the kitchen was renovated by Stonehenge Group when the family first moved in, Maggie and her team focused on cosmetic updates to this space. Little pops of colour, such as the green kettle vessel, sourced through Jam Interiors, add a sculptural flair. Maggie couldn’t be happier with the home. “The style is relaxed, rich, layered, warm and timeless to suit the solid bones of Cliff Cottage,” she says.

Cottage kitchen with square white wall tiles and island bench with basket storage
Kitchen An antique Windsor spindle-back armchair complements the Jam Interiors custom stools. The black AGA stovetop is chic and practical. Andrew Gourlie table lamp (discontinued) adds colour. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)

The homeowners, a married couple, bought the Californian bungalow-style home 30 years ago and, after initial renovations by Stonehenge Group, raised their three children there. Since then, there have been projects of varying magnitudes, from reupholstering, re-accessorising and rearranging furniture layouts to full-on room makeovers. That’s where Maggie Fulton, director and interior designer of Jam Interiors, comes in.

Cosy cottage in Melbourne bayside dining room with window seat
Ralph Lauren Home ‘Bacara Leopard Bamboo’ and Homme Design cushions, and a sisal rug from International Floorcoverings Australia soften the space.(Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)

Dining room

While much of the furniture in the home has been updated over the years, some pieces have remained with the family for decades, such as this table and dining chairs, which the owners bought while living in California in the late 1980s. Tableware is a mix of the owners’ and provided by Jam Interiors.

Cottage living room with fireplace and wrought iron chandelier
Sitting room Jam Interiors sourced the artwork above the fireplace from Graham Geddes Antiques & Antiquities. (Photography: Caitlin Mills) (Credit: Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)

Some of the first changes involved repainting the terracotta-toned staircase walls in white and installing soft Roman blinds on the living room windows. From there, the owners wanted the sitting room to have more of a cosy appeal, and asked for the main bedroom to be layered in tranquil colours. More recently, the living room has been reworked, paring back the colour palette to warm neutrals with a new slip-covered sofa, reupholstered armchairs and sisal rugs. “The owner doesn’t give a brief so much as ask, ‘What do you think we need to do here?’” says Maggie. From there, discussion ensues with Maggie given the freedom to get creative.

Sitting room

The brief was to make this room “cosier, warmer and more inviting to encourage the family to use it more,” says Maggie. The Jardan sofa was reupholstered in Pierre Frey ‘Shanghai’ fabric. A vintage Ligne Roset armchair is paired with cushions in Mulberry Home ‘Flying Ducks’ fabric in Sky/Moss from GP & J Baker. An upholstered cube from Tigger Hall Design offers extra seating.

Cosy cottage sofa patterned cushions
Homme Design ‘Paisley Stamp Gold’ and GP & J Baker cushions introduce pattern and colour. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)

“The family are warm and hospitable so they always want comfortable, layered, inviting spaces for friends and family to gather”


Now, Maggie and her team have turned their hands to the ensuite bathroom, maximising the tighter space to increase functionality. While projects are ongoing, the owners don’t see the home as a work in progress. For them, it’s the place where they raised their children, the setting for countless happy memories. “It’s a meeting place, a refuge, a shelter, a place to relax and enjoy family and friends,” Maggie shares. “It’s as charming, gentle and sophisticated as its owners.”

white bathroom with large square marble tile and set in bathtub
Main bathroom The bathroom hasn’t required much of an update in the three decades since its renovation by Stonehenge Group. A Caravane ‘Ella’ table lamp sits on the Carrara marble vanity. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morrisills)
Main bedroom with upholstered pale blue bedhead and paisley wallpaper
Main bedroom The owners wanted their bedroom to feel tranquil but richly decorated. The eye-catching Jasper Fabrics ‘Kashmir’ wallpaper, from Michael S Smith Inc, is the focal point. A custom bedhead by Jam Interiors is upholstered in Rose Tarlow ‘Kasteel’ fabric in Tarn. The bedside table was found at an auction and the table lamp is also the Caravane ‘Ella’. Kathryn M Ireland ‘Pug’ quilt and Kushaan, Rose Tarlow and Kathryn M Ireland cushions. (Photography: Caitlin Mills / Styling: Tess Newman Morris)


Design and custom decor: Maggie Fulton, Jam Interiors, jaminteriors.com.au.

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