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Interiorssneak peeks

Two Aussies Pay Homage to the Fearlessness of the 80s

by Garrett Fleming

Two Aussies Pay Homage to the Fearlessness of the 80s, Design*Sponge

Time and time again I’ve heard of homeowners and renters working tirelessly to rid their space of its dated look and bring it into the 21st century. Oftentimes items from the 1980s, in particular, are the first to get the boot when it comes time to redecorate. I’m not sure if it’s the pastels or the floral draperies that get everyone so worked up, but many believe this specific decade offered little in terms of worthwhile interior design.

For Natasha Webb and her husband Anthony, however, the 1980s embody something too unique to forget. They say the decade’s penchant for experimentation with color and mixing patterns was revolutionary and is still unmatched. “The 80s [were] all about putting yourself out there in every way,” they tell us.

When decorating their 1983-era home in Melbourne, Australia, they strove to infuse it with this boldness. To do so Natasha started with colorful and eye-catching abstract artwork. She then sampled the brightest hues from each piece and began peppering them throughout each room. The result is a kaleidoscopic look that acts as a time machine transporting us back to a period when there weren’t so many rules and louder was better. Scroll down to check it out. Enjoy!  —Garrett

Photography by Natasha Webb

Image above: Natasha matched accessories to the array of colors found in each room’s respective artwork in order to help every space feel cohesive.

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The family describes the reading room as their “… little haven of peace.” Phones and electronics aren’t allowed. Instead, the family plays board games and relaxes here.

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This bookcase houses the family’s collection of old toys and art. The vintage Tessa chair that accompanies it is 30 years old and perfectly worn in. Its cozy leather makes it the most popular seat in the house.

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“After we moved in we received the original plans in the mail from the people who built the home back in 1983. We have been pen pals ever since. Our home [was] featured in the newspaper back in its day as it was quite the modern design, breaking free from traditional styles. We are proud of its originality.” – Natasha and Anthony Webb

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Natasha and Anthony have let the roots of their 1980s home guide their decorating decisions.

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The home’s style doesn’t waste time letting visitors know they’re in for a throwback treat. The entryway sets the tone for the colorful space beyond.

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While the rich brick is easily the home’s most eye-catching feature, it does have a downside: Once night falls, the space gets very dark. Lights don’t really help and navigating it with tired eyes can be dicey. Natasha says, “I would love to somehow fix that issue.”

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Natasha and Anthony’s bedroom “smell[s] like a Swedish sauna” thanks to the cedar ceilings. “It feels like we’re in a ski lodge. We love it,” they say.

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The slate flooring is sprinkled with tiny fossilized bones. The couple would’ve never known if they hadn’t kept in touch with the builders.

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The dining table is from 1969. In order to let it be the star of the room, the couple paired it with disappearing ghost chairs.

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This space stood out amongst other homes Natasha and Anthony were considering because of the fireplace. “Nothing beats sitting in front of an open fire during winter. The sounds, the smell and the warmth is just gorgeous!” Natasha says.

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The family doesn’t have a backyard, so there isn’t an outdoor area for their two boys to play and tumble around in. Instead, the sitting room acts as a stand-in. Thank goodness brick is durable.

Design Tip: Cushions are the easiest (and maybe the most affordable) way to change the look and mood of your living space.

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The sunken sitting room doubles as Natasha’s home office. She’s a marriage celebrant and uses the area to outline what she’ll say at the ceremonies she officiates.

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Family friends often sit in the formal dining area admiring the gallery wall and enjoying a nice glass of wine while their kids play with the Webb boys.

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Planters on the formal dining table.

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“What I love most about our home is… Our home is our very own time machine… to the 80s.” – Natasha and Anthony Webb

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Cheerful yellow accessories and tile give even the most mundane of days a lift.

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The kitchen windows overlook an outdoor breakfast nook.

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Sure Thomas’ room boasts “lots of storage,” but he doesn’t really care about that. He’s in love with the swing.

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We’ve heard from many homeowners that guest rooms are where they let their decorating ideas run wild. The Webb family’s guest room is no exception. “I can really let loose [here] and enjoy being outrageous as it doesn’t need to be practical,” Natasha tells us.

SOURCE LIST

Bedroom
Cushions – Sage and Clare
Linens – Kip & Co.

Lounge
Cushions – Sage and Clare, Kip & Co.
Painted plant pot – Pop and Scott

Kitchen
Appliances – Morphy Richardsau, Nespresso

Family Room
Cushions – Rachel Castle and Things
Art – Kirsten Jackson Gallery
Rug – Dan 300 Group

Art
Tracey Mock
Hayley Wills

Various Linens & Cushions
Feathered Arbour
Honey Jackson
Hart and Co.
Own Little World 122

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Comments

  • Your house literally makes me feel better!! The 80’s brick and bright tile counter-top, just everything really, is so nostalgic that it’s therapeutic. So comforting cozy but lively and vivid at the same time. Well done!!

  • What a wonderful, thoughtful, cheerful home! It is so refreshing to see someone embrace a home’s era and quirks, rather than try to fight against what’s there to contemporize. So many other folks might have painted all that brick and ripped out the tile countertops, but to what end?! There are clearly great homes to be made by celebrating what is. Great photos, too – I imagine that can be a challenging interior to shoot.

    • Hi There,

      I too am so happy Natasha and her husband had the guts to go with the flow of their space. That kitchen is a treasure that should be preserved forever…. FOREVER!

      – Garrett

  • While I’m really impressed that they didn’t rip everything out and start again – I love that kitchen and yellow tile bench top – I have to say I would be sorely tempted to at least paint SOME of the walls white just to bounce a bit more light around. But a lovely, cheerful, authentic home nonetheless. Well done!

  • This kinda goes to show anytime quality is considered a property will age beautifully. I think every era has a design movement or style that defines it and they are all totally relevant in how homes of quality are designed.

  • I don’t like brick walls. I don’t like the style of the 80’s. I don’t like many different colors in one place. Anyhow, I really love your home. It’s so inviting an all the beautiful colors are not too much for the space. Everything feels in harmony. Absolutely beautiful!

  • I love this house! I love how you can work with what you have and highlight its beauty instead of ripping everything out. In this age of climate change it’s good to really think about all our decisions that impact the earth. One of my favorite tours ever.

  • What a fun and loving home! This might seem heretical to suggest, but painting some of that brick would be an easy way to lighten up the space. You’d have the benefit of the light and still enjoy the texture! I can tell it would be a wonderful experience to be a guest in your home. And WHERE did you find that perfect bed in the guest room?! Must. Have.

  • Very Lovely Home. It reminds me of some of the well built homes built in southern USA in the 70’s. Your home spills over with warmth and style. Who would ever want to leave that guest room? One of my favorite tours on this site.

  • There is nothing better than a colorful, happy home. I love the juxtaposition of the dark brick with all of the color.

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Your kitchen looks amazing!! Way better than any new McMansion style kitchen. Whole place looks great. Good on you for being one of the few embracing the retro-ness ;)

    Rachel, Chelsea, Melbourne

  • Absolutely wonderful. Good for you!! What a refreshing departure from the sameness of everything else we see online. I love it. Quality homes are timeless. That kitchen is a TREASURE. It’s not my style, but interior design should suit the homeowners tastes. So well done. Thank you for sharing your home.