A lifetime of experiences, travel and culture come together to give substance and an injection of colour to this suburban gem.
Sprawling grand homes with their perfectly manicured box hedges are a dime a dozen in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, but inside the imposing black double doors of this striking home are rooms filled with trinkets from travel adventures, priceless family heirlooms, and less notorious treasures salvaged from hard rubbish collections. It’s an intriguing, colourful mx, and a perfect fit for the fun-loving, culturally-inspired family that lives here.
“As a child I always thought that when I grow up I’d like to have a house with lots of rooms so that I could style them all differently,” says Nanna, owner of global online directory stylecarte.com. “I wanted to create a different atmosphere in every room, so that when you entered you were transported to another country or time. I guess we have created that.”
Through those double black high-gloss doors you are met with a kaleidoscope of colour – the floor-to-ceiling Anna Spiro Rosey Posey Trellis wallpaper (from Porter’s Paints) was on Nanna’s wishlist for years, and it greets you as you enter. Hung from the landing on the first floor, behind the grand staircase, and on the wall separating the hallway and the kitchen, it offers a subtle splash of colour to an otherwise standard space. Paired effortlessly with a mix of fine china vases and children’s artwork, all on display on the white two-pack cabinetry, it is an inviting introduction to this eclectic family home.
Brightly patterned furnishings and artworks also offer additional pops of colour, like the large David Bromely that hangs elegantly in the home’s entrance way. “We brought the Bromely on Ebay,” says Nanna – other notable pieces include a large painting of a raven that was picked up at the Loreto Art Show, and some unique pieces that Nanna created herself. “I made the round wall-hanging that sits behind the sideboard in the office from seagrass balls that I collected at Middleton beach,” she says. Nanna’s husband, Mo, is also the creative type – “he built the kids’ treehouse, which comes complete with a slide, and also made the four-poster bed in the master bedroom, and a similar one for Isabella,” says Nanna.
Originally from Germany, Nanna, a former television marketing executive, arrived in Australia nine years ago on a working holiday visa. The plan was to stay for four months, but instead she got sponsored by a small marketing agency in Sydney and fell in love with her housemate. “I get homesick at times,” she says, “so although I do tend to favour modern furnishings I also like to be surrounded by items from my own childhood – it helps to connect me to my family. I have a lot of antiques that I inherited from my parents and that I has shipped to Australia just before Sienna was born.”
Some of the stand-out items date back 100-200 years, like the velvet armchairs that take pride of place in the downstairs study – “these chairs are from the Biedermeier era (1815-1848) and I inherited them from my mother. I have fond memories of them; my sister and I used to sit on them and tilt them backwards and my mother used to tell us off, saying they were grandmother’s and we need to be careful. I now find myself saying the same thing to my girls!”
Other unique pieces include the Hermon & Hermon wooden chandelier in the hallway, the wooden side table picked up at a One Rundle Trading sale (“I fell in love with the legs and just had to have it!”), and the child’s rocking chair that fills a corner in son Leander’s bedroom. “It was a hard rubbish gem that I found a few years ago,” adds Nanna. “I love hard rubbish collection time and have found quite a few unique pieces over the years.
While priceless heirloom pieces might not necessarily scream ‘family living’ it’s this couple’s knack for effortlessly mixing old with new that adds it it’s timeless appeal. And the house has that relaxed ‘lived in’ feel – children’s artwork is proudly on display and the bedrooms, while elegantly styled, are filled to the brim with brightly colours toys. The open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, which opens to the perfectly manicured garden, also works for this family of five. Here brightly patterned cushions decorate the King Furniture day bed, while a replica Ingo Maurer Zettle light from Matt Blatt displays some of the kids’ drawings and special notes.
“I guess our house has a bit of everything,” says Nanna. “Parts, like the master bedroom, are quite calming, while other areas are perhaps a bit bohemian, with bright colours and clashing prints. Then there’s the inherited antiques with their warm, earthy colours. Everything is dotted by things we have made ourselves, or things that have some sort of meaning, I don’t buy things that are in fashion, I buy them because they evoke an emotion in me. They have something that makes me happy, and over the years they then get filled to the brim with memories. I guess that sums up my style – warm, a bit quirky, and full of stories.”