an eclectic Australian apartment filled with humor

Kristy Chambers lives in in New Farm, Australia, a suburb of Brisbane. The apartment overlooks the Brisbane River and is brimming with character, which according to Kristy, means it’s old, cold and in need of painting and the floor is sinking in the middle. It’s so sloped that Kristy says that when she first moved in, she felt like she was living on a boat. But she is one for making the best of things and she’s filled her home with things that make her laugh – like the giant plastic flamingos she bought in Las Vegas or the bright pink cuckoo clock she found at a shop in Melbourne. Kristy’s day job is as a nurse, working in drug and alcohol detox. She’s also a non-fiction writer. Her first book, ‘Get Well Soon! My (Un)Brilliant Career as a Nurse‘ was published in August 2012, and as Kristy explains, “It was a good way for me to make lemons into lemonade. Nursing can be pretty brutal sometimes and writing has always been my favorite thing to do.” Kristy’s website is launching next week. Sign up to be notified when it goes live). Thanks, Kristy! And a big thank you to Joanne Thies for the lovely photographs! -Amy

Image above: The first thing that you are visually assaulted by when you open the door to my apartment is the bright pink cuckoo clock and the 1950s table that I snagged from a vintage store about 15 years ago. Wherever I go, the table goes. Wherever the cuckoo clock goes, my boyfriend does not. He thinks it’s hideous, but I don’t take style advice from a guy who wears vertical stripes.

Image above: My apartment overlooks the Brisbane River and this is the table where I write, eat and daydream while looking out the window. The Michael Jackson Russian dolls on the window ledge I got in Prague. The littlest one of him as a Jackson Five kid is brown, and his skin gets lighter as they go along. It’s like a documentary.


See more of Kristy’s Australian apartment after the jump!

Image above: My kitchen is old and crummy, and for some bizarre reason there is a soap dish by the sink. I bought the plates from the sale section of the Liberty department store in London. They’re portraits of dead royalty.

Image above: Foreground, cuckoo clock of my dreams! Background, kitchen of my nightmares.

Image above: My boyfriend and I agree on one thing- that dog cup is awesome! He bought it for me in Montreal.

Image above: My sumo painting was inspired by a holiday in Japan, where I attempted to snowboard, then realised that I wasn’t at all interested in being strapped to an ironing board and throwing myself down an icy mountain. So I stayed indoors, drinking hot chocolate and watched the sumo tournament on TV. It was all in Japanese, so I nicknamed the sumos by their faces, ‘Mean Guy’ and ‘Sad man’ were in the final. ‘Sad Man’ won, which was brilliant, because he was my favourite. The painting is of him. He’s actually from Mongolia and his real name is Dagvadorj Dolgorsurengiin, but he’ll always be ‘Sad Man’ to me. The little dog statues were a birthday gift from my best friend. I have a thing about dogs wearing cones, so she made little paper cones for them to wear.

Image above: So many of my favorite things were given to me as presents by my friends, like the Vincent Gallo cushion. What happened to him, by the way? He sort of disappeared after ‘Brown Bunny’, as well he should.

Image above: An assortment of priceless artworks and random paraphernalia on the shelves of my bedroom, or as my mother calls it, “Oh, Kristy…”

Image above:  I buy really tacky snow globes when I travel, the crappier the better. Some of these are so old that the water is evaporating. HEARTBREAKING.

Image above: I have a long, enduring love for Bill Murray. I like funny things, and he is hilarious. This chair was nothing special before Bill turned up.

Image above: My living room, complete with gold pouf, comfortable couch, a couple of my dog portraits (one with cone, another sporting a sombrero, of course) and a few books…

Image above: Yet another dog cushion. I really need to get a pet. Or move.

Image above:  I love books! I am thrilled that I had the chance to have one published last year. Books sandwiched between a dismembered Daschund just feels right in my apartment.

Image above: The living room and kitchen overlook the river while my bedroom has huge windows with a great view of New Farm and beyond. I can live with the sloping floor, peeling paint and unfathomable placement of soap dishes and light fittings because of the views from both sides of my apartment. There’s very little closet space, so I use a rack to hang my clothes.

Image above:  The painting above my bed says, ‘If Jesus loved me I would not feel this way,’ which is my response to people saying, ‘Smile! Jesus loves you!’ when I’m in a bad mood. I bought the Ace Hotel blanket from the Ace Hotel in Portland. It’s a Pendleton and warm as toast.

Image above: These are some of the first paintings I did. I was going through a bit of a ‘I hate men’ stage, obviously. The coiled lamp is missing a bulb, but trust me, it looks great when it’s working.

Image above: This white tiger fabric painting cost $20 from a store in Portland. As is my wont, I had a bitch of a time getting it back to Australia, jamming it into my suitcase at the last minute and cracking the frame.

Image above: I went on an Etsy buying rampage when I first discovered it. This plate is from ‘trixiedelicious’ in New Zealand. What fresh hell is this, indeed. They decorate vintage plates with memorable sayings and profanity. I appreciate their work.

Image above: My sister-in-law is crafty, in the good-at-making-things sense of the word. She found this little table, painted it and made a mosaic top for it. I love sitting out here on my balcony, drinking tea and listening to drunk people scream along to Bon Jovi songs while the ‘party boats’ sail down the river on Friday and Saturday night.

Image above: My ‘studio’. As you can see, I have a very sophisticated writing technique. I scribble all over pieces of paper, then try to make sense of them later.

Image above: Here I am in my natural habitat, surrounded by trinkets, vintage furniture, bizarre art and face deep into a cup of coffee.

oh Holland

Wish I had a cool and clever way to say: thoroughly enjoyed this tour!


Love how all the adorable paraphernalia is so wonderfully strewn about the apartment, yet it maintains a chic, consistent look. I’m such a fan!!


Great sense of humor. The 2nd photo (5KristyChambers) seems to be corrupted — and it’s one I’d love to see (writing desk and Michael Jackson dolls from Prague). Can you fix that please?


Oh, I want to be your friend. Love your place and your humor! So refreshing to see a truly creative person not take themselves too terribly seriously.


It is refreshing to see a very real and funny home which looks lovely too. Even if all the identifying words such as Brisbane were out of the way I’d have guessed that an Australian was living there.

I guess the upside of sloping floors is that you can look for all the things you’ve dropped on the low side of the room.


This is so fantastic! I love seeing eclectic, well lived-in spaces like this…very much like my own little place. Thank you for this charming peek!

Amy Azzarito

Hi Betsy – What browser and version are you using? The images are visible on our end. Thanks! Amy


Great post and best cushion collection. Ever. I am coveting the Bill Murray one.

Ashley Johnson

I just love all of it, super funny… Her sense of humour is very similar to mine.
Thanks for sharing!


Oh Kristy …. I love this. As a Brisbane girl I definitely am jealous of you view (you can have sink soap dish though).


um, I’m going to need that Bill Murray pillow, if you don’t mind sharing the source!


A great sneak peak so much personality. If you ever fall out of love with the pink cuckoo clock let me know it’s the best!


I love all of her fun and quirky pillows! Especially the dog one and the dinosaur one!


An octagonal kitchen table? GET OUT!!!!! I am now envious and covetous.

Joanne Thies

This is the BEST, thank you Amy – it was so lovely working with you on this.

This is so exciting to see Kristy’s home and hear her voice on Design*Sponge! I can hear all the giggling from here.

It really was a rad home to photograph.

Joanne x


kristy is my new imaginary bff. amazing sneak peek. buying her book now.


“Oh, Kristy…” Loved it! I’m always looking for examples of HUMOROUS, eclectic homes. It’s great to see that your pieces have stories and histories of their own. The space feels personal and loved (in additional to being mercilessly teased.)


hahahahahahaha! ohhhhhhhhhh Kristy! Hilarious and an apartment filled with heaps of fun stuff. You know, I actually don’t mind that soap dish in the kitchen. LOVE the dogs wearing cones, oh wow I have never felt prouder to be an Aussie (although on the other side of the island) sue


I agree, this is the funniest sneak peek ever. I love so many things, but the painted plate is my favorite. I could hang it at work, for sure. You seem really cool and I’m going to try to find your book. Nurses unite!


As someone from Brisbane, I’d kill to live in New Farm with river views! Don’t even care if the floor is sloping.

Also I love that the apartment is full of strange art, reminds me of the crap I collect and then people are like “uh, why have you got a painting of an ugly cat” and you just can’t explain why because there’s too many levels of irony.

And that Bill Murray cushion is bitchin’.


This was hilarious! I love that she doesn’t take her style too seriously. Do what you love! This was really inspiring and I can’t wait to keep tabs on her!

Sarah B

I think I’m Kristy Chambers’ newest, biggest fan! Thank you so much, DS, for this post.

Gerry Ralston

Don’t EVER stop!
We need more funny in the world.
Oh…and your apt is delish.
I know I would ache to come home to it, and ache to have to leave it.
You need a live dog.
Small maybe, but live.


Completely awesome. Can I be your friend please?! As an ex-drug and alcohol worker myself, I bet your sense of humour is pretty invaluable!


Man, the world needs more people like you. Love this post.


Simply put, this is the best sneak peak ever. Ever! Kristy, you rock! I wish you the best of luck with your book and everything else! The only thing missing here is a shiny portrait of Little Richard over the cuckoo clock. :)))


I collect Bill Murray art and I NEED THAT PILLOW!!!


I truly cracked up over this post! Read it three times and then had to call my husband and read it to him. my fave is the “What fresh Hell is this” plate. Wish I had one! Love your sense of humour!


That cuckoo clock! I just about leaped out of my chair to rip my German one of the wall and spray painted it, but I will refrain!!


Eclectic. And it caught my eye. The apartment’s like my cupboard top shelf; the only place where I can ‘hang’ my mundane drawings and ‘display’ my trinkets. Can’t wait to get a place of my own. And I’d love to be friends with Kristy! The humor and ‘style’.


I just printed a pic of “What Fresh Hell Is This” and put it my cubical, thank you soooo much for the morning laugh!

Melanie C.

You are delightful and so is your home! I feel inspired to find my own whimsy and display it. Thanks!


Well I thought this place was a drag; I’m sorry; it has so much potential too. A few things caught my eye but over all no balance within the unbalance, if that even makes any sense.

T.J. Sullivan

“What fresh hell is this” is a famous quote from Dorothy Parker, usually said when her phone or doorbell rang but sometimes just when a stranger entered the room.


love the humor and the apartment. it so great to be surrounded by every thing you love.

Gail Walker

Most fun post ever! Must have my own Bill Murray cushion, searching the internet for an image to hijack an print on fabric…………


Sorry to be a wet blanket but to me this home feels random and a bit juvenile. Nothing wrong with cute collectibles and souvenirs, but they might “pop” even more against the backdrop of some grown-up furniture, accessories and window coverings, however minimal. Add some cohesiveness, and it will be fabulous!


So hilarious! I was laughing out loud the whole way through. I LOVE that cuckoo clock and your kitchen table and chairs. Your home is awesome, Kristy, thanks for sharing and making the tour so fun!


very nice ! thanks for sharing ! wonderful apartment!

Sara L.

Loved this so much! I laughed out loud several times, sometimes because of writing (“Oh, Kristy.”) and sometimes because there is a freaking Bill Murray pillow omg. Fantastic! Oh, and anyone who has Kurt Vonnegut and David Sedaris on the same bookshelf is someone I know I would like.


we (me and my dog) loved the apartment, the owner, the colors, the humor, the pink clock, everything – but we think the owner needs a real dog. urgently.


hahahaha this is the best! I’ll have to share it now. People must see, THEY MUST!


i love the apartment and the soap dish and bill murray,
if you get tired of dogs (quite unlikely) you could try armadillos
they are very cute and quite hard wearing


Brilliant. Love the quirk. Kristy is hilarious! My sister and I both have yearned for that Bill Murray print and the day I noticed you can get it in pillow form my eyes bugged out like a cartoon. REALLY glad someone has taken advantage of that! I wonder if that can get by the boyfriend without major eye rolling… I mean everybody likes Bill Murray.


Brilliant…love your style Kristy…and your artwork. Thanks


Not going to lie, I just bought the Bill Murray Pillow. I couldn’t help myself. Love your place! I think pillow pets are a much easier and cost-effective way of snuggling with an animal…


“what fresh hell is this?” Not sure where the phrase originated, but it was in the movie with Guy Pearce, that EXCELLENT Australian western, The Proposition. The sheriff character says it, mostly to himself, while gazing out into the hot landscape of colonial australia.


Love your sense of humor Kristy. Where did you get the coiled lamp…it’s fab!

Melbourne Furniture

This space has so much character. The pink clock is adorable and the entire apartment makes you want to sit down, drink it all in, and laugh a lot. Sometimes the most important bit in designing a space is knowing that it is 100% you. Awesome!