Interiorssneak peeks

A Confidently Simple Home In Australia

by Garrett Fleming

I grew up as the oldest in a modern-day Brady Bunch. We three boys and three girls were not too unlike our TV counterparts. We weren’t nursing pre-formal injuries or fighting over who got the attic, but we definitely got into our fair share of shenanigans. With our shelves bursting with Beanie Babies and the walls a shrine to The Teen Queen, our formidable tribe was bent on giggling until Grandma gave us the old quieting down. It should come as no surprise then that while growing up, family came first. That is exactly the reason why the Pickles + Russell home caught my eye.

The catalyst for Suzy and Adam’s move and renovation was family. Their concept? A functional yet simple space for everyone. The two were expecting a second child and knew they had to expand so their own growing tribe could flourish. It’s almost unbelievable that only two weeks after crafting a wish list the perfect fit hit the market. The family’s space turned out to be this home in Darlington, Sydney. Since the home was built in the late 1800s, the two knew they were undertaking a gut renovation, but the idea of bringing their wish list to life was just what the couple wanted. They were working on a tight budget, and a bit of the redux was done by the pair. Suzy and Adam built on a second-story addition with a new kitchen, bedroom and two bathrooms. The original space was so compact that Suzy still remembers how the builders, “used to joke that it was the most expensive carport they had ever built.” Choosing where to cut costs and where to splurge was vital, so the couple focused their finances on outfitting the space with concrete floors and ceilings and a new hot water system. Secondhand accessories and eBay purchases helped with their bottom line. Suzy and Adam kept the bones of their home simple while infusing color in key areas. This way, they could make cost-effective adjustments as their tastes changed. The result — a home with everyone in mind.  Garrett

All photos by Suzy Pickles and Adam Russell

The Dining Room: The family entertains often, so an open concept proved to be the best option when the renovation got underway. Suzy loves how, "the flexible layout - with lots of rooms, courtyards and balconies on different levels - allows (the family) to all find the space that we need for work and play."
The Kitchen: The couple only had two weeks to make this almost unlivable home a treasure. Suzy and Adam started from scratch with this IKEA-outfitted kitchen. No clutter and easy cleaning were on the top of the couple's list when it came to the final look of their home. To maintain order for the family, the home was purposely kept sparse. The family of five lives in 1,000 square feet and had to find clever ways to conceal storage throughout the home so the tables, living room and dining room could remain bare. The wall-to-wall kitchen cabinets get this job done.
The Living Room: Truly anything can be hung and displayed. The family chose to mix things up in their living spaces by mounting nontraditional pieces as artwork. With this hanging guitar, the couple gets one more thing up off the ground. The table is kept accessory-less so it can be morphed into whatever the user needs it to be - a place for a coffee catchup, working on an art project, or simply sitting and enjoying the view.
A friend painted this art above the living room's sofa. When the couple gutted the home, they compromised on what they splurged on and where they cut costs. The concrete flooring and new heating system throughout did not leave much for the furniture budget. This secondhand, 60s sofa came from friends - a great resource.
The Master Bath: The 1970s Japanese tiles give this bathroom a lush, Turkish-bath feel. You'd never know they came from eBay. Suzy went back and forth on whether or not they fit with the home's aesthetic and by the time she and made the decision, the auction was gone. Luckily for her, the seller re-listed the item and she snagged them. I cannot tell you how many "I should've clicked BUY," stories I have. Suzy proves, though, that if it's meant to be, it will be.
Suzy smartly chose to sparsely accessorize with simple, secondhand ceramics and let the tiles shine.
The Den: With little ones running around, it was important that the family furniture be easily cleaned. Hence the leather sofa.
The Main Staircase: It's boggling what a paint job can do, especially when you bleed that paint onto floors and handrails. It's proven that children thrive when wrapped in color, so a bold staircase shouldn't garner any complaints from the kiddos.
The Master Bedroom: With the quilt's avocado hue, the room immediately takes on a retro feel. The pared-down accessorizing, however, serves to modernize the space. By choosing concrete flooring throughout the house, the homeowners make cleanup and switching up furniture and decor very simple. The brown and grey hues of that floor provide a universal canvas for any style.
The Kids' Room: The bunk beds are handmade and hand painted. With simplicity comes many advantages. Again, easy cleaning won out when it came to designing the kids' room.
No children's space is complete without glow-in-the-dark-star stickers. The onyx wall is not something we usually see in children's rooms. It's just a further realization of the couple's desire to maintain simplicity while incorporating bold color statements throughout the home. Quilt by Nana. I love the round cutouts in the top bunk.
The Guest Room: Here, Suzy and Adam chose to fully deck out the space in finds from various thrift shops. Since it is a guest room, and many types of people stay there, Suzy and Adam kept the space minimal and simple so it could adapt to whoever is using it.
The Balcony: Another simple oasis for when anyone in the family wants a quiet escape. All you really need on a balcony are chairs and a view. The view here? Darlington, darling.

Suggested For You


  • Wow, the tiles in the bathroom from eBay are incredible. It’s great that they used concrete throughout. It creates a simple and modern feel. Great work!

  • I would love to see a floor plan! We live in 1000 sf too, and I cannot figure where we’d squeeze a third bedroom in.

  • Darlington is actually inner Sydney, not outside of Sydney – it’s about 3 or 4km from the GPO (the geographical centre of the city).

  • Thank you Tiffany- I was going to say the same thing….you can’t get much more smack bang in the city of Sydney than Darlington…unless you live at the QVB :)

  • I’m not certain how they managed to make all the rooms and space in only 1000sq. Ft. I’m pretty amazed! Also, the red staircase is genius!

  • Lovely. I’m smitten with the whimsy of the red staircase, and the red decals on the wall for a splash of colour. Just wonderful.

  • So imagine a two up two down. That is still there. Then the third bedroom is upstairs, on top of the new kitchen and family room area at the back. Fantastic house!!

  • Easy to clean furniture is a must in any household with several kids. We have a little more space to work with and still the challenge is, “where to spend vs where to control costs” when doing a room makeover. I like the simplicity in the den. Thanks Garret for putting this post together.