Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Lisa Breeze

by Amy Azzarito

Lisa Breeze, a Melbourne-based architect, has lived in this ’60s apartment for the last five years (with Sebastien the cat). During the day, Lisa’s work focuses on textural, contemporary homes, some of them renovations, but at quitting time, she retreats to a small space filled with vintage finds and nostalgic elements. Because the space is so small, Lisa channeled a Japanese attitude toward design — making the most of every bit of space for storage solutions. She tried to achieve a delicate balance between modern living and vintage styling that is sympathetic to the apartment’s origins. The result is a space where friends instantly feel at home. Thanks, Lisa! And a big thanks to Armelle Habib for the lovely photos! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: The gorgeous painting above my bed is by Australian artist Marisa Purcell. It is intriguing; every time I look at it I discover something new.

Image above: My ’60s apartment oddly comes with the last of the Art Deco detailing, with its frosted leadlight window. I renovated the bathroom to work with the style of the building. The vanity and bench are made from tiles in my all-time favorite color: minty green.

See more of Lisa’s Melbourne home after the jump . . .

Image above: My perfect hideaway. It is so calming to lie on the crisp white doona in the bright afternoon light and gaze out at the garden.

Image above: Favorite things — a portrait of my dad and holiday snaps from a recent trip to Japan printed on canvas, as well as color-blocked books and my wooly cactus — very easy to keep healthy. The steel-framed wall shelving was designed by myself and made by my amazing friends and Melbourne designers Alex & Gerard at Earl Pinto.

Image above: Second favorite hideaway! A couch for one or armchair for two from Pierre and Charlotte, furniture designers also based in Melbourne. This part of my home best represents my decorating style. Vintage shop finds, eBay wins, the odd designer piece (aka major investment) and an extension of my color-coded library.

Image above: The unfinished project from an upholstery course, digital sounds captured in a classic shaped radio form and sneaky storage for an ever-growing magazine collection.

Image above: Even more vintage scores. The table and chairs were another eBay purchase. The chrome-framed chairs needed new foam and fabric — a color and pattern was chosen to honor the ’60s form of the chairs. The table is perfect for the tiny space; the sides fold out, and I have even hosted dinner parties for six around this little gem.

Image above: I love to cook for friends, and this teeny kitchen is capable of producing big things. With an efficient layout and contemporary fittings, clever storage and an organized cook, anything can happen (even better when friends stick around to do your washing up!).

Image above: Third favorite hideaway. This private little inner-city haven has consumed many hours of my time. Groomed and cultivated from scratch — when preparing the garden beds, I found milk bottles from way back when the apartment block was built.

Making a courtyard garden through trial and error is really enjoyable. It is hard but rewarding work, and I now fully appreciate the skills of professional gardeners and landscape architects.

Image above: This walk-through garden space is one of my favorite outdoor elements. These colorful grassy plants love the hot and windy courtyard conditions and form a wonderful array of color and shadow play that changes with the light of the day.

Image above: I love puttering around in this garden.

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  • Loved the bedside details. such simple and aesthetically pleasing space. may I ask where did you get that blue scooter !?

  • This place is GORGEOUS.

    I have a question though – do you ever find beautiful spaces that are not blessed with tons of windows and lots of lovely natural light? I have a wonderful little farmhouse, but for various reasons I don’t get buckets of natural light in more than a couple of rooms. I am renovating the place, and always looking for inspiration on design blogs, but all I really see are places where the decorator can slap a coat of white paint on all of the walls and make it beautiful because of the natural light. A dim room done all in white, though, looks dingy.

    I have read about the use of color in small and/or darker rooms, but I would love to see it put into practice more. What are the chances?


  • This home is gorgeous. Love all the colors, and the vintage things. I like that they look vintage without looking grimy! So wonderful.

  • I love that you took such a risk in your bathroom with colored tile and a cool sink. I also love the color details all over the house — the kitchen canisters, the outdoor furniture, etc. Great space!

  • I know it may be a small thing, but I adore the inclusion of the unfinished project from the upholstery class. My house has got to be at least half unfinished furniture projects and I’m so glad to see that in someone else’s house!

  • I love that green zig-zag lamp! Especially with the fan nearby. Is it vintage or a modern designer?

  • It looks like a Jielde lamp (or reproduction of). Originally made in the 1950s.
    They are lovely and iconic!

  • @Amy, I would love to make a color suggestion for you. I live in a house with great light in every room except our main living area. It’s an L shaped room with one decent sized window that unfortunately faces north on one end , and a 21″ wide window in the corner of the other end. I also love a clean, fresh look on the walls, so that my artwork can really pop, but agree that white walls in a dark space look dingy! We painted the walls in Behr’s Sterling. It is a super pale gray that is a cooler gray, thus making it light and fresh, and we love it!

    As for this home, what a beautiful job! I am obsessed with the vintage canisters in the kitchen. The splashes of color throughout the home are so happy. It’s vintage without being kitschy or drab. Perfect!

  • LOVE this space. Being a designer-type-person myself I know how hard it can be to restrain yourself when it comes to interior decorating. It conveys such a sense of calm and what a beautifully selected colour palette…
    She must be a great architect too!


  • What a wonderful job you have done renovating and decorating your abode. Very tastfully done, also love your garden.

  • Thanks everyone! Very happy to have shared my little space!

    @apf @sally Definitely a real Jielde!
    @preeti I’ll ask my mum – it was a gift from her!
    @amy Believe it or not, this was once a bit of a dingy apartment – when I bought it at least. Partly because of its shabby state and drab finishes. The ground floor location, relatively dense neighbourhood, small yard, high fences and a big lemon tree didn’t work in its favour either.

    The little tricks that I think helped make it a light and playful space ARE the white painted walls (it is a really stark matt white). Plus the large items (bed, couch, table and kitchen joinery) in pale grey or white. And lastly the splashes of colour for the small furnishings and objects in mostly muted tones instead of overwhelmingly primary brights. Skylights if you can and large mirrors to bounce light around might be helpful reno tricks for your farmhouse…

  • So poetic ! The outside wall re-painted in blue : very nice idea – especially to customise the north french red brick wall haouses.

  • What a pretty house. Clean and simple indeed. Love the garden. What about putting a bird bath in the garden, and a bird feeder in one of the trees. We live in Sydney Australia and the last summer has been “stinking hot” – 45degrees C. (about 115degreesF). So I have 2 birdbaths in the front garden and refresh every day. I have also put in the shady part of the garden, large water bowls just for the look, but sure enough after a few weeks, the local frogs found them, and have been laying eggs merrily since then. I don’t use poisons at all in the garden so I can keep in pristine for the frogs, blue tongue lzards, birds etc. Maybe you could try this also. I also have a big pond in the front garden as well, which the frogs also like. Unfortunately the gold fish eat the frogs eggs. Oh well!. Beautiful home decorated with taste. Gabrielle.

  • I always shy away from tiny places because I am so tall I think I’ll feel like I’m living in a dollhouse. But this actually made me rethink that theory….
    You did a lovely job with it, and the garden is fabulous!

  • I’ve been through this property. Great style + harmonisation of colours! Also loved the strappy plant in the walkway that helped frame the rear courtyard.

  • I love the colour on the external walls as well – do you know what colour and brand it is? I am in Australia too so it would be lovely to hear of a paint brand that’s available here (I fall in love with colours in the homes shown on this site all the time but we don’t have the same paint brands in Australia)..

  • @Sara
    I wisth I knew the colour of the outside walls too!!
    The red bricks were painted long before I moved in but I did take a chip of paint into Bristol Paints in Clifton Hill (Melb) to get it matched for some touch ups. The result was near perfect. Maybe you could take a pic in and asked for a sample to be matched?

  • A gem inside and out. Refreshingly different, personalized spaces that make the case that small spaces can indeed be both functional and comfortable. Kudos to you!

  • What a lovely space – I’d love to wake up to that window. Love how the various eras in the bathroom are married too. That minty green is gorgeous.