sneak peek: catherine and martin southwood


Catherine and Martin Southwood are the owners of two Southwood stores in Melbourne, Australia. They are currently in the process of opening their third store in the trendy inner-city suburb of Fitzroy (329 Napier Street Fitzroy, Victoria 3065). The store is an expansion of their original stores and allows them to showcase a range of Australian designed and made furniture and homewares alongside fair trade and organic pieces. Their own home is a sustainable inner-city building, which is designed for flexibility and longevity. They love using natural materials, such as recycled brick alongside oiled concrete and plywood, and have furnished the home with a mix of mid-century and contemporary Australian furniture and homewares.  Thanks to Armelle Habib for the photographs and to Catherine and Kate Delves for styling assistance! — Anne

Image above: The upstairs lounge area with exposed brick wall and 30-year-old Charles Pfister for Knoll sofa. The rug, throw, lamp and coffee table are from Southwood.

Image above: The dining area with Calder print, found rolled up in the back of a cupboard in the house we rented when we first came to Melbourne from the UK nine years ago! “Flemming” dining chairs from Southwood and original 1947 “Moore” armchair design also stocked by Southwood.

More inside Catherine and Martin’s home after the jump . . .

Image above: The kitchen area with a unit made from recycled messmate (Australian eucalyptus variety) by one of the makers we work with. The vintage barstools are covered in Cloth fabric, and the placemats are from Bonnie & Neil.

Image above: The downstairs living area with retro sofa and timber cubes from Southwood. The sideboard is vintage Hans Hayson (Australian maker), and the rug is from Armadillo & Co.

Image above: As above, with cubes by Bonnie and Neil and hat stand by Southwood.

Image above: Bedroom with recycled timber bed and bedside table, rug from the Armadillo & Co Designer Collection, knitted blanket and cushion by local brand Uimi.

Image above: Corner of the bedroom with re-covered retro chair, which is one of a pair found in a junk shop in the UK when I was pregnant with my first child 18 years ago. The fabrics on the cushion and hanging on the wall are samples from the Southwood printed textile range that we recently launched.

Image above: Detail from the girls’ bedroom with organic bed linen by Southwood, plus accessories from Uimi and Bonnie & Neil. The bedside stool and lamp are from Southwood.

Image above: Girls’ room again — beds in recycled messmate, cubes from Bonnie and Neil and “Awopbopaloobop” limited edition print from Keep Calm Gallery UK.

Image above: Bathroom. What can I say? Small but perfectly formed! I love the contrast of the rough recycled brick with the smooth, glossy white tiles and white painted mirror (an old Ikea style).

Image above: Bike wall — a great way to store bikes. Door art is by the boys, and the internal doors are all reclaimed ’40s doors that have been left with their original paint but decorated by the kids.

Image above: View out to the beautiful balcony, which is shaded in summer by the trees along the street.

Image above: The best view of the Melbourne city center. On New Year’s Eve, we get a grandstands view.

Image above: Tea on the balcony — the best place to sit or eat in the warmer weather.

Image above: Catherine with May and Ted (the younger two kids — the older two ran from the camera!).

Image above: The front garden with the veggie garden tended by Martin and the kids. The garden is quite a talking point on the street, and we often have neighbours stopping for a chat or to ask for some herbs.

  1. sarah says:

    seriously lovely home, light, airy and natural. love the wood grain

  2. Love all the patterns and natural wood used throughout this great home.

  3. Reidunn says:

    That’s a nice place.
    Does anyone know where the bike hangers are from?

  4. sandra says:

    what a lovely home. growing up in the 70s, i wasn’t too fond of the design trends but i love the modern take displayed here.

  5. I LOVE the exposed brick work on the wall, and the bikes hung up!
    BUT not liking the wood boards on some walls…looks a bit odd and like a temporary for a house redo.

  6. Valerie says:

    I like the towel rack in the bathroom? Where did you get it?

  7. Sarah says:

    Lovely! I have always layered a million objects and things, but am starting to edit down and quiet/open up my environment. This is such a great example of a nicely edited, serene yet witty home. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Diane says:

    Such a lovely Melbourne home. I would love to sit on that sunny balcony with a cup of coffee, and what a fabulous front garden!

  9. Miss Heliotrope says:

    I love the wattle pattern from Cloth – it’s always great to see some stylish Australiana. Vegie plot in the front yard is always good, too. I like all the wood on the walls – and the whole vibe is incredibly relaxed in a simple fashion.

  10. Marie Gordonson says:

    Seriously expensive home. People who live outside of Australia should check out the prices of real estate in this country.

  11. Melissa says:

    Gorgeous place! I am loving the combo of raw brick, concrete and timber. Those Uimi blankets are beautiful too. Will need to check out the new Southwood store soon!

  12. Barbara Eigen says:

    Where can I get the wood dining chairs? or something similar?

  13. Jillian Paul says:

    what a beautifully edited home, love the plywood walls – feels so warm and comfy:)

  14. eva says:

    Lovely place! The wood panels and exposed brick is awesome, so is your furniture :)

  15. Catherine says:

    Hi – thanks for all the positive comments about our home! To answer the questions about where some of items are from: the bike racks are generally available from bike stores – the type we used fold up against the wall when not in use: the heated towel rail is from an Australian company called Hydrotherm and the wooden dining chairs were designed and made for our store and are called ‘Flemming’ . These are based on a 70s design so you may be able to pick up some retro examples if you hunt around. Catherine

  16. dana says:

    love all the wooden furniture, and the general vibe of the home! Is the outdoor cube with the black and white bird prints available anywhere? It’s pretty fabulous as well!

  17. Kathryn says:

    Wow, amazing home! Love it.

  18. What a fantastic and unique home! The brick and wood combo is amazing ;)

  19. Jess says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, and so thoughtfully done. Love.

  20. Stephanie says:

    The dining chairs are awesome! Love the colors.

  21. Dasha says:

    Fantastic! Love it so much!

  22. Just to answer some more questions – Dana the lovely printed bird cubes are by Melbourne printer/makers Bonnie & Neil. Whilst not designed strictly for outdoor use, these lovely pieces are very flexible so can be moved about as required. Also in response to Marie’s comment about house prices in Australia – I agree they are amongst the highest in the world. This home however was built on a small inner-city block on a modest budget. We used economical materials such as the plywood and the exposed concrete. We also invested in energy saving and sustainable features such as water tanks, solar panels for electricity and hot water and triple-glazed windows, rather than spending on premium finishes. The result is a home that uses less energy for a family of 6 that the average single person in the state of Victoria! This helps to offset the higher land prices in Australia. Catherine

  23. Sue says:

    I love it except for the wood on the walls. While it is a nice effect for a moment it is not something I could live with.

  24. Catherine says:

    Hi Sue. The wood on the wall was not done for effect but is a way of exposing the bones of the building and minimising the amount of materials used. The house is actually very calming to be in and the warmth of the wood certainly adds to that. Catherine

  25. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful home and home furnishings. Love the white light in the kitchen, is this available in your stores?

  26. zestofzoe says:

    Sublime maison !!! Un coucou de France où j’ai complètement craqué pour votre style de vie et votre déco. J’en ai d’ailleurs fait un article sur mon blog pour partager ceci avec mes lectrices. Belle découverte que la marque Uimi, j’adore !!!

  27. bec says:

    haha mays one of my best friends. we camped out on her balcony one night under the stars! it had an amazing view. sad they are moving house now

  28. thomas says:

    A really lovely Melbourne home – very chic and tasteful as one would expect of a southwood designed home – great pictures.


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