Neryl Walker

by Grace Bonney

[image by neryl walker]

Hi there, I’m Lucy… I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I write a local design blog called The Design Files. I’m a props buyer / set dresser in the film industry, and I do interiors styling and sometimes a little event styling too. Of course I am the hugest Design*Sponge fan and am so excited to be part of Grace’s guest blog! Thanks for having me Grace!

This week I’ll be sharing some special pockets of my beautiful home town, through the eyes of some of Melbourne’s most talented creative people. I have selected 4 fabulous artists and illustrators from 4 very different neighborhoods, and each of them have drawn a little map highlighting their favorite local haunts! J I hope you enjoy discovering some of Melbourne’s secrets through the eyes of these very inspiring locals!

Neryl Walker


Neryl Walker is an incredible local illustrator. Her work is girly, sassy and full of personality…. Her cutsie character illustrations inspired by vintage pin-up girls have been commissioned by many international brands including Bloom cosmetics, Shiseido, Nippon Vogue, Korean Vogue, New York Magazine and even Coca Cola.

When she’s not illustrating, Neryl might be working on paintings for an exhibition, avidly op-shopping (= thrift-shopping in the USA!), or playing rock ‘n roll with one of her two bands! Or you might just find her hanging out in her vibrant local neighborhood – Carlisle st, Balaclava.

CLICK HERE for a tour through Neryl’s Balaclava after the jump!

Neryl’s Balaclava


Balaclava is an old Italian and Jewish part of Melbourne, east of St Kilda. These are my faves of the new generation of shops that are dotted between old European delis, grocers, bakeries and of course bagel shops.

The Cool Room – Full of vintage, industrial, eclectic furniture, homewares and stuff. Do I buy the amazing curved row of old bowling alley seats or the fantastic green 50’s couch by Australian designer, Rosando or…?


Las Chicas -Cute cafe under the train station, always busy with an outdoor area out back. I can never go past the roasted pumpkin, caramelised onion, goats cheese and pine nut toasted pide.


Top Taste Bakery ‘On your delight’- Best Vietnamese pork roll in town. Delicious lemongrass-y BBQ pork with salad, coriander, chili and hoi sin for a song.


Hudson– Clothing, accessories and other neat goodies. The owner does trips to New York and Tokyo to stock the shop. Lots of kooky gift ideas and some cool baby clothing too. They also hold regular exhibitions of artwork and soft plush toys.


Second Spin– New and used CD’s, records and DVD’s. My last purchase, double vinyl by King Khan and the Shrines, has been high on rotation.


Wall Two 80– cafe with great coffee. An oldie but a goodie. Stand at the hole in the wall, order a coffee, sit on a milk crate outside or takeaway. Great simple lunch also.


A big thank you to Neryl for sharing her favourite spots, and for her beautiful Balaclava map! Be sure to check out her website and blog for more of her work. Neryl is represented commercially by the Jacky Winter Group.

If you would like to learn more about Neryl’s work and creative influences, you can also check out a little interview I did with her late last year!

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  • This is so exciting! I’m heading to Melbourne for the first time in a few weeks and we’re beyond thrilled to explore the city. Can’t wait to read the rest of the guides!

  • You missed Batch! Only one of Melbourne’s best cafes located on Carlisle Street… Wonderful breakfasts and lunch and they do dinner certain nights of the week as well. Coffee Supreme coffee – GREAT coffee. It’s a must-visit.

  • Great post. I recently moved back to Balaclava and I LOVE it!
    Batch makes an awesome coffee too, you can get the best bread and Russian deli goods down here, and St Kilda Library has an impressive collection of graphic novels.
    The young kids and older Eastern-Europeans mix it up on the one street.

  • Yep, sorry about Batch. I couldn’t fit it on! They do great coffee though I agree. I must try them for dinner. Thanks!

  • Oh, the locals are out! I had an amazing duck rissotto at batch for diner, simply superb. What a surprise to open my favorite blog, find a post from one of my other favorite blog writers about my favorite neighborhood. I have a big cheesy smile now! Great map Neryl!

  • than ks for highlighting my cool neighbourhood , Lucy.
    Its often overlooked by those over the river xx

  • Hey thanks guys for your lovely comments! Uh oh it’s always hard to include everyone’s favourite place… But I only asked Neryl for her top 5 local hangouts so something was bound to be left out!

    How gorgeous is her work and her hand-drawn map? Love it!

    Stay tuned tomorrow for some Yarraville love!

  • So exciting to see Melbourne people and places being featured. The map is very cute and makes me want to visit all these places. I’m from ‘over the river’ (Fitzroy) but I can definitely see some hidden gems worth visiting.. and some golden oldies (Still haven’t made it to Wall Two 80 ). Thanks for this tour Neryl!x

  • Is that display at Hudson current? It looks great, do you know who the artist is? I’ll have to get over there for a closer look! Also like the map.

  • Was such a wonderful surprise to see my neighbourhood featured on Design*Sponge!!! I love it, especially Gattaca’s for pizza!