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A splash of colour breathes new life into this charming historic home

It took a deft designer and a playful palette to bring this old home into the new century.
A heritage home exterior with decorative fretwork, leadlight windows and autumn trees.Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co

Cradled by a glorious garden on an expansive 1600 square metres of land, this Melbourne home has undergone a beautifully considered transformation since the owners purchased it in 2021. And for this, the couple pay tribute to the talents of interior designer Jessica Viscarde.

A heritage home exterior with decorative fretwork, leadlight windows and autumn trees.
Dulux White Swan adds subtle depth to the weatherboard facade, while Dulux Lexicon Quarter highlights the ornate fretwork and frames the blues and greens in the decorative front door glazing. “As fate would have it, the original leadlight windows at the front of the house included these beautiful tones,” says Jessica of the owners’ beloved colour combination. “They provided a stepping stone to explore colour, and the foundation that we built on. We always aim for a common thread throughout our interiors, so that they feel effortless and collected rather than perfectly created.” (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

When Jessica met the owners, the home was calling for a fresh new chapter, distinct from its beginnings in the 1890s. “The initial brief described a desire for a warm and comfortable, crisp and eclectic home, while honouring the heritage of the grand old abode,” says Jessica. “The owners wanted a home that included tasteful additions of colour and pattern. We were conscious of not overtly modernising the interiors, yet breathing new life into the home in a contemporary way.”

A heritage style hallway with decorative fretwork and a red hallway runner.
Blue and green should definitely be seen, according to the colour-loving family of four who call this Melbourne house home. “I’ve always loved blue and green together,” says the owner of the 1890s abode. “That colour combination makes me very happy!” Interior designer Jessica Viscarde wove those hues, and many more, throughout. At the entry an Elle-louise Burguez artwork and bone-inlay console, both older Fenton & Fenton finds, add colour alongside a hand-knotted runner from Najaf Rugs & Textiles and a New Works ‘Kizu’ table lamp from Designstuff. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Who lives here?

A couple, their two teenage sons, plus Smokey the cat and Badger the Groodle.
Favourite place for me-time? Homeowner: “The lounge room that opens up to the alfresco deck. It’s so beautiful to sit there with the bi-fold doors open on a summer’s morning or a warm evening.”
How did you choose the lighting? “Jess put us in touch with Mint Lighting Design and they were incredible. So much thought and effort went into planning where the lighting would go and what it would be. That meant we ended up with a much more nuanced outcome.”
What’s the history of your home? “Our understanding is that the house first belonged to a local politician in the 1890s. Hopefully, he would like what we’ve done!”

A heritage style hallway with fretwork and a fluffy dog standing by a staircase.
Jessica reinstated fretwork in the hall. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Over the ensuing months, Jessica transformed the front formal living area into a luxe master suite, while a rear addition was constructed containing a north-facing open-plan kitchen and living domain at ground level, with two new bedrooms and a bathroom above. Paying great attention to detail, she ensured the design deftly straddled the decades by meticulously marrying old with new.

A kitchen eating area with a round table and colourful mosaic sideboard.
Holding a Rachel Donath ‘Bohan’ burl-wood lamp, the owners’ old sideboard is a talking point. “It has so many beautiful colours, ranging from aqua to pale pink. It’s just a very happy piece,” they say. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

“For a seamless flow from the existing front to the new extension at the rear, we custom-stained on-site the Baltic pine flooring to achieve a smoked aged-oak effect,” explains Jessica. “We also reinstated the fretwork in the hallway, which made such a difference, as it follows on from the home’s facade. In the extension, the skirting and architraves were all matched to those in the original wing. It was integral to get these elements right.”


Then, of course, there are those distinctive pops of blue and green, brought to enchanting life in everything from the inky cabinetry in the kitchen to the indigo and pebble-hued wallpaper in the powder room and the petrol-green boucle sofas in the core chill-out area.

A contemporary kitchen with a blue kitchen island, colourful wall art and a rounded timber table.
Jessica (pictured) highlighted the island bench in Polytec Adriatic, an inky counterpoint to the cabinetry in Polytec Gossamer White. A ‘T Mini’ track light from Alt Artefact shines above the island, which is topped in Concrete Grey Matte porcelain from Multiform Stone Industries. Danish Opal Glass pendants by Nordlux. For similar, see Temple & Webster. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

This home offers its family decorative opportunities to express their personalities and interests. “There is so much open shelving in the home, which gives an immediate sense of casualness,” says Jessica. “This was something that was important in the design brief. We wanted to create a lived-in feel through the layering of the owners’ keepsakes and curios.”

We love… display shelving
A contemporary kitchen with a blue island, rounded pendants and a timber table.
The Bent Design ‘Copenhagen’ table in European oak is teamed with vintage Hoffman 811 Bentwood rattan chairs. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

“Our intention was always for the kitchen to have a contemporary yet casual feel that makes cooking and entertaining a breeze.”

– Jessica, interior designer
A blue kitchen island with an amber vase and a cat sitting behind it.
An ‘Arura’ High Glass Vase in Amber from Designstuff graces the benchtop. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Living area

“I love the sense of scale in this room and how inviting it feels with the open shelving and the fireplace,” says Jessica. The sumptuous custom sofas upholstered in Zepel Fabrics ‘Fontaine’ in Petrol are favourite spots for family time.

A contemporary living area with blue sofas, an inset fireplace and open shelving.
A duo of Muuto coffee tables in Dusty Green and White are perfectly in keeping with the colour scheme, as is the custom ottoman in Warwick Fabrics ‘Delaunay’ in Peacock and ‘Orleans’ in Evergreen. The cushions were sourced from Fenton & Fenton and the armchair is a family piece. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

“I like the warmth that the open display shelving gives. It brings the areas to life.”

– Homeowner
Open shelving decorated with picture frames and colourful souvenirs.
On either side of the fireplace, artworks include vintage pieces collected during the owners’ travels. Above them, framed Vietnamese propaganda posters flank the television. “We purposely weaved dark inky blues and teals throughout. Luckily, some of the owners’ favourite colours were also evident in their artwork and collectables,” says Jessica. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Dining room

Classic style is celebrated in the formal dining space with a vintage rug from Hali Rugs, an existing chandelier and the homeowners’ long-held custom dining setting.

A classic dining room with a timber table, chandelier and abstract green wall art.
An evocative artwork by Pam Cheetham hangs above the fireplace. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Powder room

One of Jessica’s favourite spots is the powder room. “Our clients’ heirloom mirror was a lovely personal touch, and we switched to brass fittings in this space for something different. There’s nothing wrong with mixing metal finishes, as long as you do it thoughtfully,” says Jessica.

A powder room with blue and gold wallpaper and a timber vanity.
One of the family’s vintage artworks is reflected in the mirror. Harlequin ‘Moku’ wallpaper in Indigo/Pebble joins glossy subway tiles from Life’s Tiles, lit by two brass Glass Orb sconces from Creative Lighting Solutions. Jessica topped the Polytec Prime Oak Woodmatt vanity with marble that was cleverly repurposed from the original home. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Main bedroom and ensuite

“The main bedroom has a sense of understated grandness, thanks to the tall ceilings and beautiful leadlight windows,” says Jessica. The interior designer reupholstered the couple’s existing bedhead in Zepel Fabrics ‘Recharge’ in Teal – a decor standout against walls painted in Dulux Highgate.

A main bedroom with a blue bed and curtains over leadlight windows.
At the foot of the bed, an antique bench was given a new lease on life with Warwick Fabrics ‘Dunard’ textile in Caribbean. The homeowners purchased the old artwork above the bedside in England; the rug is from Hali Rugs (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

On the bed is a flax linen coverlet in Petrol from Bed Threads, striped European pillowcases from Sheet Society and a cushion from Tigger Hall Design.

A main bedroom with a dog sitting on a blue bed.
Badger cosies up in the main bedroom. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

With its warm yet neutral palette, the couple’s ensuite has a serene softness, with large-format tiles from Tiento lining the walls and floor.

A main ensuite with large-scale neutral tiles and an archway into the bedroom.
The large-format tiles from Tiento. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Glass Orb wall sconces from Creative Lighting Solutions illuminate the custom Polytec ‘Ascot’ vanity in Gossamer White, which was topped in Caesarstone Statuario Maximus.

An ensuite with neutral tiles, a white vanity and a blue abstract artwork.
The artwork is an Etsy find and the metal stool is from Designstuff. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

As for the couple, they couldn’t be happier with their wonderfully layered and inviting family home.

A bathroom with large-scale neutral tiles, a timber vanity and a blue tile feature wall.
Blue ‘Yohaku’ tiles from Tiento join the Polytec vanity in Prime Oak Woodmatt. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

“This is certainly the place we see ourselves living in for the next 20-plus years,” says the homeowner. “It’s perfect for us.”

A laundry room with a blue gloss splashback and panelled cabinetry.
The laundry features Polytec joinery in Gossamer White and cool Quantum Quartz benchtops in Metro Concrete. (Photography: Elise Scott / Styling: Bea + Co)

Interior design: Eclectic Creative, eclecticcreative.com.au.
Lighting design: Mint Lighting Design, (03) 9555 2275, mintlighting.com.au.


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