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A Bright And Bold Family Home

By Rachel Wallace

When Liz Ride, associate designer at Studio Tate, learned she was expecting a second child, she and her husband knew their Clifton Hill townhouse would need work.

“It’s a 1990s complex and our plot is small, but we love being down a private driveway lined in trees that fortunately overhang our tiny garden,” she laughs. “We just needed the internal floorplan to work harder for us. It was about making good with what we had.”

Lacking space for a growing family, a second living-room-come-playroom topped the couple’s wish list.  “Converting the single garage into a living space changed our lives,” Ride says.

The bright pink room is beautifully illuminated thanks to natural light that pours in through vast glass doors. Grounded by a vast ombre rug, a pair of chartreuse velvet sofas conceal toy storage beneath and can be converted into beds for guests when required.

Splashes of colour provide the surprise that defines Ride’s style. Speckled terrazzo flooring and a chartreuse portal with sliding doors tie the space to a small but high-functioning kitchen. “It’s very grown-up in green, walnut and brass,” Ride says. “l absolutely love tiles and texture.”

The former garage is now a colourful second living space. Photo: Armelle Habib

With floor-to-ceiling walnut veneer, it features a clever use of space thanks to a single large bowl sink, a small cooktop and oven, a wide and shallow pantry and lots of drawers. Organic brass hardware sourced from Sweden adds a luxe retro finish. “I prefer things that naturally look better with age instead of shiny and pristine,” she says.

It’s the breakfast bench, though, that takes this space over the finish line. Its facade, created using green-toned vertical tiles topped with rich verde fusion stone, acts as a focal point and connects to an open living and dining space.  Brimming with vintage finds and furniture both salvaged and donated by relatives, it is a paragon of elegance and daring.

The breakfast bench acts as a focal point and connects to an open living and dining space. Photo: Armelle Habib

“We love mid-century design and our sentimental pieces,” Ride says. “Somehow it all sits well together, especially with the home’s existing hardwood flooring and original glass, that we love.”

A richly coloured rug from Behruz Studio lends warmth and contrasts with a teal velvet couch and glass-and-metal coffee table handcrafted by an uncle. An old Ikea dining table painted red sits with chairs given to them by an aunt.

An original artwork by Michael Vale ‘was the last piece of the puzzle’. Photo: Armelle Habib

Above a vintage sideboard hangs the couple’s “conversation piece” – an original artwork by Michael Vale. “It was the last piece of the puzzle,” Ride says. “We wanted to buy a lovely piece of art once the renovation was complete and fell in love with this one.  It’s so detailed, you see new things every time you look at it. It’s endlessly fascinating.”

Nearby, the stairs conceal a tiny “disco powder room”, a signature space Ride is known for. “It’s tongue in cheek and we love purple,” she laughs.

The family bathroom upstairs boasts pops of pink, orange and terrazzo. Photo: Armelle Habib

“The family bathroom upstairs is warmer and more playful in flattering tones of pink and orange that make you look great! We also added a terrazzo floor up there with custom walnut cabinetry that connects to the materials in the kitchen. It creates a visual connection between upstairs and down.”

Ride’s bracingly unexpected touches and pops of colour make for a decidedly unforgettable home. “We love art, colour and anything bold,” she says. “It’s small, but each space has its own identity which makes it feel more spacious. It’s a lovely journey.”

Style Notes

The small powder room makes a statement. Photo: Armelle Habib

The undulating curves of a Ferm Living mirror add aesthetics and functionality to a tiny powder room.

Pink velvet ottoman from Brosa. Photo: Supplied

A pink velvet Brosa ottoman adds plush playfulness to the children’s living space.

Door handle
Brass hardware from Superfront. Photo: Supplied

Brass hardware from Superfront embraces simplicity and geometry and is designed to age beautifully.


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