sneak peek: kelly doust


kelly doust is a writer, blogger and former book publicist who lives in sydney, australia. her first book, the crafty minx: creative recycling and handmade treasures, came out in november last year, her next book the crafty kid: projects for and with children is due out in june.  kelly also writes articles on fashion and craft for vogue and the australian women’s weekly.  we’re so pleased to have a sneak peek into her victorian-era cottage she shares with her husband, james and 18 month-old daughter, olive.  {thanks, kelly!}anne

[above: This is our bedroom. It was the study when we first moved in, but when Olive was born it became ours and I have to say, it’s so comforting to sleep among all my favourite books! The hand-sewn artwork above the bed is by Rachel Castle of Castle & Things, as are the polka-dotted pillowcases and sheets. I bought the antique Chinese pillow box on the shelf in Shanghai’s Old Town markets, and we picked up the lacquered Tintin cartoon on a trip to Saigon. The IKEA side table and bed were bought for the first flat we lived in when we moved back from London – I’m planning to paint the bed frame grey when I get around to it!]

A fan-printed fabric panel by Florence Broadhurst from Signature Prints, and an LP I liked the look of, purchased from a flea market. The orange vase and bowl are by Dinosaur Designs; gifts from a friend when Olive was born. And my favourite books – Penguin Classics.

This is an old timber armoire I bought for $90 from the Rozelle Markets and painted grey with a custom colour from Porter’s Paints. I love cameos, so drew this one by hand and filled it in with a black acrylic, then beeswaxed the entire thing to seal it. On the top is a vintage French hat box, found at the markets.

I love the gabled windows of our bedroom – it’s always filled with light and has a lovely view of the cherry blossom tree outside the window. The armchair, where I often read, is part of a three-piece club lounge bought for $100 from the Mitchell Road Auction House and re-upholstered by my friend, Keith of KD Upholstery, with fabric from Warwick Fabrics. The bedside lamp base is an original 1960s chinois-style turquoise number from a favourite local shop, Brady’s Second-Hand Furniture.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Kelly’s sneak peek after the jump!

More Florence Broadhurst fabric on the wall in a Cranes print, next to a silk-screen print from an unknown Japanese artist (a birthday gift from James). The coffee table and round lamp are from IKEA, and the modular sofa we had made to fit our first flat. We’re not likely to update it until Olive’s a wee bit older (and less messy!)

James bought this painting from the London Affordable Art Fair years ago but can’t recall the name of the artist – we really love how, when you’re up close, you can’t tell what it is (it just looks like swirls of paint in shades of grey) then it becomes apparent as you step away. The club lounge I already mentioned, from Mitchell Road Auction House, and the bird-printed cushion is from Ruby Star Traders. The 1940s one-drawer timber filing cabinet doubles as side table and magazine storage, and the lamp is a favourite – purchased from a sale at La Maison.

The lino print above the mantelpiece is by the Australian artist, Mark Ward. I always admired his work as a teenager, then found this print at Lawson’s Auction House and snapped it up. The marble fireplace is original, although the previous owners told me they found it boarded up in the chimney space when they were re-instating all the original features! There’s also a cactus candelabra from Mexico, and a hand-painted vase with a gardenia plant I managed to kill through lack of watering from the backyard (better here than in the bin, I think!).

This is our kitchen, which was also used for the cover of The Crafty Minx. It’s original 1950s and in desperate need of updating, but has lots of charm and is the room we spend the most amount of time in. I painted the white cupboards in ice-cream shades, and have covered the formica table in a piece of oilcloth fabric from Cath Kidston. The wall stickers are French, purchased from Opus in Sydney’s Paddington, and the dinosaur was an el-cheapo market find. The calendar behind the door is from my favourite stationers, Cavallini & Co., woven shopper a gift brought back from Provence, and the wheelie shopper is from Cath Kidston as well. The French clock was a wedding gift from friends. For easy access, my collection of T2 teas are all out on the bench – I am addicted to T2!

The curtain I made for the shelves under the kitchen sink is fabric from Anna Maria Horner, and the owl wall hanging is from Made, in Sydney’s Newtown. The paper lanterns are from Eastern Flair, and the vintage French milk bottle from Le Forge. The vintage cups and saucers are all from Rozelle Markets, and the lino checker board flooring is original.

This is my beloved crafts cabinet, which I found at the Lewisham Auction House and bought for the reserve price, which was a steal. It’s filled with all my fabric, buttons, equipment and a vast array of fripperies I can’t seem to resist stocking up on. But I have a strict one-in, one-out policy going on at the moment: no more buying anything new until I’ve made something! The bowls and casserole dishes are hand-me-downs from James’s parents in England

The open shelves above the stove are decorated with a selection of vintage pieces picked up from flea markets, a favourite cookbook or two, and a teapot I brought back from Vietnam. The salt bowl and spoon are from Dinosaur Designs, the urn is from Ruby Star Traders, and the milk jug was a gift from my friend Katrina, by Clay Ceramics.

This is the pantry, next to a corkboard filled with a collage of favourite cards, images, photographs and ticket stubs. I find it really hard to throw pretty cards away, so this is where they always end up, on their way to a storage box. The painting is mine – a funny bulldog painted on a small canvas.

When we finally had all our bits & pieces sent out from the UK (only five years after we settled in Sydney!) we realized we had no space at all to store CDs and DVDs, so bought this Indonesian sideboard to hide them all away. It’s made of mango wood, and was purchased from the now-closed Bungalow Interiors – I keep a torch in one of the draws so I can find everything! James made the bookshelf himself, and I made the runner from a Florence Broadhurst Japanese Floral print of white-on-beige fabric.

This is Olive’s bedroom. I made the bunting above her mirror from some string and an old atlas I found in a second-hand store, and the letters were flea market finds. The mirror is from French importers, Antikt in Surry Hills, and the canvases on the walls are vintage tablecloths I stretched over frames for her. The Falling Petals Mobile above the cot is a project featured in my new book, The Crafty Kid. In the mirror reflection you can see one of the vintage prints of a Spanish dancing lady – that wall also features ballet dancer prints and has a selection of vintage tutus hanging from the picture rails.

The designer Rebecca Furzer made the lampshade for me, and the Keep Calm & Carry On poster I ordered from its UK website. The Victorian bed frame we found at Lewisham Auction House, and the side table and lamp are handy utilitarian items from IKEA. The duvet cover is from favourite UK homewares store, Habitat, and the framed cover of Vogue on the wall was a birthday gift from James – this was the first issue one of my articles for Vogue appeared on its cover, so it’s quite special.

  1. Nutys says:

    This house is absolutely gorgeous !

  2. No kitchen should be without a red dinosaur!!! Love it.

  3. Amanda says:

    I hate to say this, but I loved this until I got to the last slide. Please, no more Keep Calm posters!

  4. jane says:

    That might be my favorite picture, ever, above a bed. And then there is the one over the sofa—brilliant. I don’t mind the “Keep Calm” in the last room because it fits so perfectly in there. Also love the fan wallpaper & the book tower & the dinosaur. Really a lovely home!

  5. Jana says:

    Hey I like the door being used a mirror over the sideboard!

  6. Haley says:

    I really love the “Loving You…” picture above the bed. But it was the pastel cabinets that made me tell my friend to open this! Love them!

  7. I love that you have your books organized by color!

  8. Kristina says:

    OOOH I saw that artist on Home Front in the Garden, well a portrait she had done in one of the homes there. I wish I could remember her name, it was on the BBC website in the episode summaries… Loved her work.

    Beautiful home! I miss Sydney so much!

    i LOOVE australia

  9. // Sarah says:

    That craft cabinet make me swoon…

  10. portlandsun says:

    wow. i love this space. really love it. very well done. great post.

  11. Donna says:

    Sigh. This makes me miss all my things in storage in Australia… Loved the Florence Broadhurst and Dinosaur Designs touches. And that kitchen is so classic Australian – really like that they’ve enhanced it rather than tried to mask it.

  12. Abby says:

    I just love this home – gorgeous. That club lounge setting is so cool, and I adore Florence Broadhurst – the fabric ties in so well here. Love that bookshelf too – I’m not a big fan of colour coded books but I’ll make an exception here , it looks fantastic.

  13. Lauren says:

    Gorgeous place – where are those rugs from?? I love them!!

  14. Sara(Mrs.B.) says:

    My favourite thing – the bulldog painting!

  15. mags says:

    Beautiful home! I so love the aesthetic. I’ve never commented before but felt compelled to after seeing the heavy mirror leaning against the wall in the baby’s room. Is it bolted to the wall? It looks rather unsafe.

  16. Emma says:

    I love that you sleep surrounded by all your colour coordinated books. When we moved into our house we didn’t have a place for all our books so they are in boxes in the basement. This makes me want to bring them all out!

  17. Ana says:

    Beautiful..! Simple with a touch of vintage it! :)

  18. shalini says:

    What a beautiful home. I love that it has so much character in it and looks so well-loved.

  19. Trianna says:

    I love the handmade cameo wardrobe, the picture of the grey child, the books all over, the wall stickers and the vintage tablecloths stretched over frames. Also I love your whole kitchen… the combination of vintage pastels with stainless steel is wonderful.

  20. Zoya says:

    the tier of books look so attractive love it

  21. sharon says:

    its hard to love a ugly thing but we must take care of their rights, a perfect quote shown in the post love it

  22. Holly-Anne says:

    Hi – I think the mystery artist who did the tonal pic of the face is Dinah Dufton
    She did loads of works in this way and they are amazing!

  23. anyone know where in Sydney she lives? i can’t believe the beautiful interior structure of the house and that fireplace…

  24. Crystal says:

    I, too, am very seriously over the keep calm and carry on.

    Also, is it just me or is that mirror incredibly dangerous in a baby’s room?

  25. Alice says:

    love the apartment! so inspirational! thank you for the post

  26. Love it all. In particular the kitchen with the original black and white floors. I’ve recreated that look in our kitchen! Love the books in the bedroom and all the pretty touches. xx

  27. Amber says:

    i love the florence broadhurst fabrics. where did you find them?

  28. Gemma Milly says:

    Wow this entire house is so beautiful. I especially love the candy coloured kitchen, I’ve just found the inspiration for my future kitchen! Did you paint the cupboard doors yourself?

  29. Jess says:

    Does anyone know where I can get an alarm clock like the one in the first picture? My ebay/etsy skills are failing me on a quest to replicate it… Love the mix of retro style with modern technlogy.

  30. Sarah says:

    A few people have mentioned loving the “Loving You…” poster and so do I! Does anyone know where to buy it?

  31. Seriously…..What’s with the dinosaur on the top of the ledge?

  32. andronicus says:

    The mirror would not be dangerous if Olive is just a bub. I’m sure they will take care with securing it if it is not already.
    Love the home, big fan of the kitchen and book stack. Glad to see im not the only one in Sydney with a huge selection of Penguin Classics taking over their bookshelf.
    Well done.

  33. roomenvy says:

    That is one tremendously pretty home!


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