sneak peek: kate challis & andrew hollo

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The Melbourne, Australia, home of Kate Challis, Andrew Hollo and their 2.5-year-old son, Jasper, is in fact a 19th-century storefront in the inner city, complete with gallery shows in the front window. When they first bought the place seven years ago, friends thought they were crazy, but they loved the rawness of the area and seeing it develop, as well as the village’s strong community. Andrew works as a management consultant and has a love of books (see below). Kate, who authors urban kaleidoscope, an interiors blog devoted to spaces with soul and personality, has run the gamut of experiences, from completing a PhD in art history (early Renaissance illuminated manuscripts) and opening a yoga studio to working as a corporate trainer and facilitator, saying “Like my personal style, my life is very eclectic.” These days most of her time is spent doing what she loves most: being with her family and exploring her passion for design. And when they’re not in Melbourne, they’re in Bali. Thanks, Kate! Anne

Image above: This antique table I found on eBay; it’s in the kitchen, where we spend most of our time. The curtain fabric is by Timorous Beasties, an avant-garde Scottish textile and fabric designer. At first glimpse, you think it is a traditional toile depicting sweet rural scenes when, in fact, it shows down-and-out life in contemporary London. Totally appropriate for the street on which we live.


Image above: The curtains are a brilliant deep aqua blue. A number of people tried to talk me out of such a bold colour. Conventional wisdom says to stick to more neutral colours for curtains. But where is the fun in that? I have not regretted it. The painting of the girl on the polar bear is by one of my closest friends, Pacquita Maher. What I love about this room is that it is both minimal and luxurious. The chair is an eBay discovery that was recovered, the little deco table is from an antique shop and the metal tin that sits underneath is Balinese.


Image above: The sofa in our living room is 2.5m (over 8 feet) long and big enough for the entire family (including the 2 cats). The Madeline Weinrib raspberry pink rug I found on sale. I almost didn’t get it, as someone else had put it aside, but then they changed their mind and bought a grey or taupe one instead. As the saying goes, their loss was my gain. Like the curtains in the bedroom, it’s bold and not for everyone, but I adore it; it breathes some fun and warmth into the room, which is what you want in a living area. The metal Moroccan tray table I searched for for several years until I found the stand in one shop and the top in another. The art on the wall is a combination of photographs, prints, paintings and watercolours, which were found, bought, collected or given over many years.

See more of this beautiful home after the jump!


Image above: This walnut cabinet is one of the first things you see when you come to our house. We have had it for years; my husband found it as a university student. It had been painted lime green, and he spent countless hours stripping the paint away and varnishing it. The collection of glassware is eclectic: the smoky vase with the peonies is an eBay find, the turquoise blue one is from Ikea, the musk single-stem Venetian vase from the 1950s belonged to my grandmother and the tall white glass vase my best friend gave me when my son was born. The fabulous plastic modern light is an original from the 1960s and belonged to my grandfather.


Image above: Space is limited in our house, so we have to be quite innovative. These wooden Ikea CD drawers came in sets of two, so we bought 30, which we white washed and used to create a wall of drawers. Initially, they housed my husband’s collection of 3000+ CDs. Since we have now gone digital, the storage unit has been relocated and repurposed as our pantry. Most of the labels reflect the new content, but we have kept a few of the old ones including “Dead Guys with Wigs” (baroque music) and “Sub-Continental,” which once contained Indian classical music and now houses our spices.


Image above: This room doubles as the dining room and my workspace. It is also a passage connecting the front of the house to the back. We love cooking for friends, and the table comfortably seats 8. I am on the look out for something more interesting to replace it, but for the time being, it allows us to entertain with ease, and that’s far more important. The stools were seconds on sale, and the pink plastic Kartell Frilly chair by Patricia Urquiola looks like it’s made out of glass when hit by natural light. The super-sized photo is of my grandmother at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, in 1937 when she was a student. It’s a captivating image, and inevitably, whoever is sitting opposite it wants to know more about it by the time dessert is served. The Crazy Daisy pendant light is by Volker Haug, a Melbourne-based up-and-coming lighting designer. Double-decker Ikea Expedit shelving is filled with books and items from our travels and life.


Image above: Jasper’s bedroom. The chair I found on eBay and recovered it in teal felt; the poster is a reproduction of a Raymond Savignac in an Ikea frame. I fell in love with the Leander cot/bed when I was pregnant but couldn’t justify the price. I then found one on eBay. The sloth I ordered online from an amazing French sticker company, e-glue, that does amazing super-sized decals. Curtains are made out of Ikea Inger fabric, and the toy box I found in a local coffee shop is an ice-cream seller’s box from Senegal.


Image above: Years ago, my husband showed a picture of a bookshelf from an in-flight magazine to his brother, who is a carpenter, and challenged him to reproduce it, without measurements. This is the result; it used to be downstairs, and at 8 months pregnant, I decided it’d be perfect to house children’s books and toys and had to be in Jasper’s room. Getting it up our narrow and steep staircase was quite a challenge.


Image above: This is the top of our stairs. The WOW pendant lights are by Volker Haug. At night they are incredible. His work sells for quite a bit now, but we got these before he was discovered. The tram roll I found on eBay before they became popular, and I love it, as the last destination is 50m from our house.


Image above: Our house is a 19th-century shop and has a huge window, which we use to exhibit the work of local artists. Here you can see a show by my friend, Pacquita Maher, of original paintings in vintage frames. It’s really interesting sitting in our living room and hearing people through the glass talk about the art.


Image above: This huge vintage poster is by Bernard Villemot. It only just fits into the space, but adds some interest, colour and fun in the bathroom, a normally fairly bland room. I have all sorts of bold plans for this room, but not too sure if I dare!


Image above: This photo gives you an impression of the entire living room with the shop window and original leadlighting at the front where Jasper’s play area is, but in reality, it all merges. It really is a living room: my husband can be reclining on the sofa listening to music and reading a book, Jasper building a train set on the floor around my yoga mat where I might be practicing. Quite different from living rooms when I grew up, which were formal places to entertain guests.


Image above: As you can see, both my husband and I adore books; we are constantly collecting and culling them. My brother-in-law made these custom bookcases for us. The Utrecht chairs were a real indulgence, purchased when our son was born. They are incredibly comfortable and beautiful. We will have them for the rest of our lives.


Image above: This table and lamp are by London-based artist, furniture maker and friend, Marianna Kennedy. The chinoiserie table has been made the traditional way, applying 30 coats of lacquer on top of hand-ground pigments using an 18th-century recipe. The lamp base is hand-polished resin from a plaster cast of an antique wooden lamp stand. Marianna is a friend and sold me these pieces years ago before the likes of Ilse Crawford and Philippe Starck began commissioning bespoke pieces from her. They are among my most treasured possessions and remind me of a very special and formative time in my life when I lived in London.

  1. Susan . . . like all good things, including my favourite lipstick colour, they have been discontinued ):

  2. Melissa says:

    Well done! A space like this can be challenging because it is so long and thin, your design and layout is a brilliant solution. I wouldn’t have even spotted the layout without your hand drawn floor plan, impressive and of course beautiful!

  3. Aubrey says:

    Every time I see a store like this for sale I wonder if it is possible to turn it into a house. Now I know. Amazing. I’ll have to tell my husband I’m not crazy after all.

  4. For those of you who are interested in the bathroom revamp. Here it is
    http://www.urbankaleidoscope.com/my-favourite-room-in-the-house-is-now-my-bathroom/
    I am absolutely delighted with the results.
    Kate

  5. Carole says:

    Lovely home.

    I love the idea with the IKEA storage, a great reuse! Though cd’s are like books to me (of which we also have quite a few), I’ll never part with all of them.

    Is that book at the bottom simply full of quotes? What a fabulous idea to have favorite/special quotes written out on blank pages and to display and change them at will.

  6. Carole says:

    Btw Susan, there is supposed to be a cd storage solution similar to the one above (which I believe is the Moppe?), but I haven’t been able to find it in the US (yet anyway).

    Though it has no doors and isn’t as ‘clean’ looking, we use the Benno cd/dvd storage tower. It can be freestanding or wall mounted. There’s also the Lerberge, a metal wall mounted unit.

  7. Allie says:

    what a beautious and eclectic home! i am just in love with all the little details. does anyone know where i can find a large photo sleeve like the one that the photo of kate’s grandmother is in?

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