Design

A Pretty Melbourne Home

Melbourne House Tour

Courtney Kirby and her husband, Ali, live in Melbourne, Australia with their adorable boys, Noah, 4, and Safi, 2. The family’s space is full of vibrant crystals and essential oils (she owns a wellness shop) and fresh produce (he owns an organic fruit and vegetable shop) — not to mention gorgeous affordable art. Take a peek inside…

Photo above: Pink cupboard: Ikea. Print: Matthew Thomas. Basket: Eliza Gran.

LIVING/DINING AREA
Melbourne House Tour

Table: vintage. Dining chairs: Ishka. Pendant lamps: similar.

On staying close to home: When I was pregnant with our second, Safi, we started to look for a bigger space, but it was hard. Real estate over here is ridiculous — there are so many people looking, and it’s competitive. We thought we’d have to move in with my parents! But when I was nine months pregnant, everything finally fell into place and we found this house. It’s right around the corner from my parents. I wanted to stay in the area I grew up — it’s a comfort thing for me — but just not in the same house, ha!

On open floor plans: I love the openness of this home. The two bedrooms are upstairs, and the downstairs is just one long room. No matter where we are, we can still hear each other and be together. I could be working at the dining table, my husband could be writing at the desk, and the kids could be coloring at their table — and I can still keep an eye on them and make sure two-year-old Safi is not drawing on the walls or terrorizing the house.

Melbourne House Tour

Wall hanging: Homemade by Courtney. Kid’s table and chairs: Adairs.

On natural wood: I love natural materials and vintage pieces, like our wooden dining table. My husband and I were spending a day shopping, and the last place we looked was an old warehouse full of handmade furniture. Ali spotted the table straight away — it’s actually made out of old boats from Nepal — and negotiated a great deal. Everyone that comes into our home comments on it, and I never hear the end of it from him!

On weaving: After having my first baby, I wanted to do something for myself, so I went to a weaving workshop. I enjoyed it so much, I have been weaving ever since. I’ve made more than 150 wall hangings. It’s like therapy. Once I put the kids to bed, I get my wool out, sit on the sofa and weave to clear my head.

Melbourne House Tour

On shelf organization: These shelves are a happy place for me. I like having all my favorite things on display. I’m a little obsessive about them. Everything has a place, and organizing the books by color makes everything look neat and organized.

Melbourne House Tour

Sofa: Freedom. Throw pillows: Mark Tuckey for Cotton On. Rug: Ikea.

On home cleansing: My mom used essential oils when I was little; and when I had my first baby, I started using them, too. I made my own cleanse spray because I wanted to have something with the same clearing effect as sage, but without that strong smell. So, I made a spray with lemon, lavender and juniper berry essential oils. The bottle also has clear quartz, which is purifying, and rose quartz, which is uplifting. I spray it around the house if I’m having a bad day or if the kids are having a bad day, which is quite often with my two-year-old.

Melbourne House Tour

Ceramic ghost: Studio Arhoj. Ceramics: Studio Arhoj and Country Road.

On crystals: I also have a bit of a crystal obsession — once you start, it’s hard to stop. I have over 50 in the house. I put crystals next to everyone’s beds, and downstairs I have a crystal “shelfie.” My husband was a bit skeptical at first, but now I think he enjoys them aesthetically, even if he doesn’t get the healing side of them. Now, he jokes that I should leave my wallet at home whenever I go to the crystal shop.

KITCHEN AREA
Melbourne House Tour

Desk chair: Freedom. Basket: Freedom. Rug: Ikea.

On fruits and veggies: My husband runs an organic fruit and vegetable shop. His family has owned fruit stores ever since his parents moved here from Lebanon in 1969, so it was only natural that he would, too. Our house is always full of fresh fruits, veggies and good cheese like Fromager d’Affinois. The kids have yet to get into the veggies, though. I put them on their plate every lunch and dinner, but they’re really only keen on cucumber!

On Lebanese food: Ali grew up here, but his grandparents and all his cousins are still in Lebanon. Ali’s mum makes amazing Lebanese food. I don’t know how she does it, but she makes three dishes at a time so everyone has a variety of options. When they fast for Ramadan, the whole family gets together each night to cook; it’s a special time of year. I’ve learned to make a few dishes watching Ali’s mom and sister. For dinner, I’ll cook Lebanese riz ala’ dajaj — the boys devour it.

Melbourne House Tour

Magazine holder: NakNak.

On baby photos: I’m not a photographer, but I love having snapshots around the house — especially baby photos of the boys. I like the app Impressed, which makes Instagram photos look like Polaroids. Instead of framing them individually, I stuck them all to a pin board and framed that.

MASTER BEDROOM
Melbourne House Tour

Bed frame and table: Forty Winks. Bedside lamp: Freedom. Bedding: Cultiver. Circle pillow: Kate & Kate.

On reading before bed: Reading is my nighttime ritual. I’m forever adding to the pile on my bedside table. I’m all about the romance. Some of my faves are Eleanor & Park, Before We Were Strangers, and anything by my favorite poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward.

Melbourne House Tour

Prints: Ferm Living. Velvet throw pillow: similar.

On no rules: I don’t stick to one aesthetic. I think having a mix of different styles throughout the home makes it flow better. I just buy what I like and trust that it will all work together. I gravitate toward color, especially blush pink and earth tones. When decorating, it’s usually the colors I am drawn to first.

Melbourne House Tour

On shopping online: Homewares are absolutely huge in Australia, but some of my go-to places to shop online are Circling Hound, General Store, Boheme Goods, Table Tonic and Bisque Traders. And of course, Instagram is a gold mine! It’s tempting, dangerous and glorious for home shopping. I’ve discovered beautiful shops like Fine Little Day and Two and Jax.

KIDS’ ROOM
An Airy Melbourne House Tour

Beds: Ikea. Lettered names: One Two Tree. Apple print: Fine Little Day. Pear print: Fine Little Day. Unicorn head: Fiona Walker. Shelves: Mint Rhapsody. Bedding: Country Road. Rainbow pillow: Oeuf. Rug: Bobo Choses.

On children’s art: The color in the kids’ room feels fun and cheerful. I’ve got a thing for children’s illustrations, so finding a way to display their books was a must. We found the clear, outward-facing shelves at Mint Rhapsody. And I got the fruit prints because of their dad’s job. They’re the cutest!

Melbourne House Tour

On relaxing at home: My husband works really long hours at the store, so when we get a day or evening with him, we enjoy being at home watching a movie or listening to music. We play everything from rap to jazz to electronica. We’re definitely homebodies.

PLAYROOM:
Melbourne House Tour

Shelves: Ikea. Storage bricks: Lego. Dip-dyed storage bins: similar. Rug: Ikea.

One vintage shopping: This green chair is from a vintage market. We often drive to Daylesford, a little town about an hour outside of Melbourne. It has the most amazing secondhand stores and vintage markets. You can find beautiful, very affordable pieces. Last time I went there, I drove all the way home with a giant dollhouse in my lap.

Melbourne House Tour

Moon print: Pax and Hart. Anchor, heart, mask and hat prints: Two and Jax. Blue rainbow print: Fine Little Day. Mes Amours print: OMY Design. Plush globe: Hugg-a-Planet.

On affordable artwork: My best friend Sarah made a few of the prints in the kids’ room. We met through Instagram. The moon face is by another Instagram friend, Emma. She does the most amazing illustrations.

On making friends: Sarah and I were both pregnant when we started talking on Instagram, then texting, then chatting on the phone. When she had her baby, I was the first person she texted. A couple days later, I had my baby, and I sent her a photo from the hospital at 3 a.m. We’ve been close ever since. After a year of texting every day and talking a few times a week, I went to visit Sarah in Sydney. My husband thought I was nuts to stay with someone I had never actually met in person, and honestly, both Sarah and I were kind of worried that we might not be a good fit face to face. But she was awesome and we had such a good time together and have met up many times since.

Melbourne House Tour

On being sentimental: I try to fill our house with family photos, souvenirs from vacations, and books that make us feel something special. I like to be surrounded by things that mean something to me. This is the home my boys will grow up in; it’s our comfort and it’s filled with love.

Thank you so much, Courtney!

P.S. More home tours, including a century-old home in New Jersey and a New Hampshire cottage.

(Photos by Lauren Bamford for Cup of Jo. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. Maddie says...

    Thank you for featuring a house in Melbourne! I am an expat living in Northcote (Melbourne) with two little ones. We love your aesthetic! Your house is beautiful. I love the kitchen and the bookcases are divine.

  2. Your house is absolutely stunning! Love the clean, bright vibe. Thanks for letting us ‘in’

    : )

  3. Loving the overall casual vibe. So much takeaway from their wonderful aesthetics!

  4. This was so lovely! Most favorite house tour. Love her positive energy and decor style. and also, it came in just the right time for me, as I am moving to Melbourne in a couple of days, haha. Bookmarked a lot of homeware stores.
    So inspiring!

  5. Lauren says...

    This may be my favorite home tour! Not only is it so beautiful and open, but even through pictures I can feel the loving energy. I love her thought process, thank you for sharing!

  6. What a beautiful house- I am loving the asthetics and thoughtful living that seems to be popping up on my radar from Australia right now

  7. Val says...

    I love the house tours. This one is great. My favorite is the one in NJ with a kids playhouse in the backyard. I am decorating and getting furniture for our new house and this is very helpful. Marie Kondo has certainly changed my way of buying stuff including furniture.

  8. Katie says...

    I’d love to know the source of artwork in the master bedroom, please. Thanks for beautiful, thoughtful content as always! Xo

  9. Probably my favorite house post of all time! Love it!

  10. Melissa says...

    So nice to see Australian brands featured here! Daylesford Mill Markets are a favourite of ours, lots of treasures to be found.

    • Rach in Oz says...

      I second this! I’ve dragged a chair home to Melbourne from those markets too :)

  11. Lo says...

    Oh my, this house is gorgeous. I am ALL FOR the expression shown in the baba’s room – those beds really help the colourfulness around them feel grounded and fun.

    Thanks for sharing, this is my second favourite series after Motherhood around the World!

  12. I love these home tours, and this one in particular. I’m just wondering how people afford expensive home goods. Many of these posts are beyond aspirational for me. They are inspiring to look at and give me ideas for design principles and hacks and DIY versions of things I might make, but buying some of these things would be out of the question/far out of budget. Maybe I’m just really poor? Or are most of the people featured more well off than average?

    • Liz says...

      I always think the same thing – and especially for this one as property is notoriously extortionate in Melbourne and Sydney?!

  13. Ceridwen says...

    As a Melbournian, I’m so excited to see this! Love her home and style so much. I’ve just found a storage solution for my kids’ room. Gotta love IKEA.

  14. Dee says...

    Oh how I love her table, wish there was c lose up of it :) Im having one done made of reclaimed wood. Fingers crossed it will come out just right :)

  15. Anna says...

    As an Aussie reader, I LOVE seeing an Aussie house tour featuring Aussie shops! Yay! Gorgeous place. Also, I concur with meeting friends online – one of my besties when living in Denmark was another Aussie I met on Twitter! We had that first awkward meet in a neutral cafe and then it went on from there – we just both recently had babies!

    • Laura says...

      As an Aussie living in the north of England, I too let out a yelp of joy seeing an Aussie house tour! Love how much Freedom is in the house. I’ve just bought a house and have been nervous to decorate the walls of the toy room. Think I’m going to channel Courtney’s toy room – same coloured frames seems the way to go.

  16. so lovely to see a local melbourne home! and lauren’s photos are stunning.

  17. Rebecca says...

    I enjoy these house tours, but I’d love to see more variety. Most that you feature have white walls and clean lines. Not a bad thing, but could you feature some that are more unique, like the NH cottage or the London apartment? And maybe you could get your friends (the sisters that are realtors…can’t remember their names…) to give a tour of their quirky fun apartment. I love to see how personalities shine through in people’s homes. Thanks!

  18. Christine says...

    I LOVE every room in this tour! What a beautiful, special space to raise a family. I especially enjoyed seeing the kids room – simple, cheerful and organized! Great interview.

  19. Darby says...

    Beautiful home and family:) I really like how the commentary isn’t so much about how the rooms look but about how they are lived in. Great post.

  20. Corinna Ndolo says...

    I’d love to know what the color of the white paint is throughout the home…as silly as that may be! We’re trying to find “the perfect white” for our interior. Thanks!

  21. Libby says...

    Excited to see an Australian home on a Cup of Jo.
    We do love our open plan living, but I’m just doing a reno to reverse it a little bit. It can start to feel like you’re only ever in one room of the house after a while. I’m looking forward to separating our lounge room away from the dining/kitchen again (and being able to boil the kettle or run the dishwasher without having to turn the tv up).
    Great to have Australian shops listed too – I’m going to check them out :)

    • Ines says...

      I’m moving into a new place this year that has a big open plan kitchen/dinning/living room area and am thinking of ways to break them up a little without losing light or too much space – how are you thinking of going about it?

    • Maggie says...

      I agree! I’m moving to Australia from the States this summer, and seeing some Aussie shops I can start to browse is adding more and more excitement :D

    • Hey Ines,
      We’re going to add in a bulk head up the top and some short side walls, and then have cavity sliding doors (glass ones). So essentially the lounge room will have an extra wide/high doorway leading into it with glass doors that can be open (pushed back inside the wall) or shut.
      I think even when the doors are open having the extra side walls will create some privacy and some much needed wall space. That’s the other thing about open plan – wall space is so limited!

      A bit like this:
      https://au.pinterest.com/pin/92605336064212977/

    • How exciting – where are you moving to Maggie?

  22. Lovely – light and bright. So…tips on crystals next to beds? I know to keep an amethyst by my computer but otherwise…clueless…

    • Sarah says...

      I think rose quartz by your bed. It is a stone of protection and love. Really it is whatever you are drawn to but for some reason I think rose quartz is a good option for you. ;)

    • thank you. I bought my son a rose quartz arrowhead necklace for christmas but I wear it more than him – hahaha…I will definitely get some for next to the bed xo

  23. Kelley says...

    What a beautiful home. I love a lot of the prints at the shopt Fine Little Day as well. Would she be able to share the source of the print with the mountains and buildings? It is so very cute and colorful!

    • Louise says...

      I’d like to know this too!

    • Megan Cahn says...

      It’s Fine Little Day as well!

  24. Judy says...

    So lovely! Would love to see how the outside of the home looks. I’m having a hard time visualizing how the floor plan works. Keep up the wonderful posts, Jo!

  25. Hello! Adorable family! I’m also curious as how you find / select the homes you feature. Could you share?!

  26. Sarah says...

    please let us know where you got the crystals :)

    • Amy says...

      Yes I need to know too!

  27. Justine says...

    Love this series! Another great house tour, thx!

  28. Jo says...

    What I love most about these posts is that they not only showcase the beautiful (also real! lived in!) homes but the beautiful (inside & out) people that live in them. It makes me think about how I would want our house tour to read and what I could do to make our home showcase the things we love and are unique to us.

  29. Beautiful home! Open spaces are the best – practical and aesthetically pleasing. I love mixing and matching different styles! “The Day the Crayons Quit” is a hilarious book – so fun for kiddos!

  30. I love all the white/light juxtaposed against the wood. And the kids’ room is very sweet. Great post. Amy

  31. Emily says...

    More info on the crystals please!!

  32. Ramona says...

    What a beautiful, sweet family! And such beautiful surroundings! Such an amazing story.

  33. OMG, this home is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL. Love all the bright open space and the wood – THE WOOD. Such a beautiful family too. <3
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  34. Cynthia says...

    Such a beautiful house! I really like the dining table, and the boys’ beds. I like the house tours because they give me ideas.

  35. What a warm commentary accompanying the photos. She seems like a total charmer. Darling family.

  36. Jessica says...

    Loving the things from Freedom and wishing they had US stores…Beautiful home and family!

  37. Ellen says...

    Yay, Australia!! Thanks for featuring something from my home country-I recognise the brands:P and yes, that open/ flow through style is very typical of an Aussie house, and classically with a verandah as well, since we can spend so much of the year outside :)

  38. oh man, I’m obsessed with the kids room! what a great gallery wall- and toy display!

    xo, brittany
    http://www.notablob.com

  39. Meredith says...

    I’ve always been curious—how do you select people for your home tours?

  40. Maureen says...

    What a lovely family and home. I love to see comparisons of the lives of ordinary people in the U.S. with those in Australia, as they are so similar, yet different, and on the other side of the world. Too bad relations between our countries just took a dramatic nosedive.

  41. Yay! I feel like I have been waiting very patiently for a new house tour. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yay! we have a bunch coming up, too, erin, including a lovely space in san francisco and a book-filled loft in toronto. xoxo

  42. Anna says...

    Lovely home! I am so inspired by Courtney’s DIY Polaroid collage. Does she have any more detail on what pinboard to use and how to frame it? Is there glass over the pins? Thanks for any tips or links to materials!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask her!

    • Theresa says...

      I’d like to know, too! Love that idea!

    • Lisa says...

      Hi Anna,
      I’m Australian and that pin board looks just like the one in Kikki K. Beautiful scandi stationary chain store in Australia. I was just browsing in there today. I was spying it for my daughter but it wasn’t quite right for what we needed but a great idea on how it was used here.
      Lisa ;0)

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Hi, there is no glass, the polaroids are simply pinned to a framed pinboard she purchased from a stationary store with clear pins. She says IKEA has similar pinboard. If you click into the picture, you can take a closer look :)

    • Anna says...

      Thank you all for the intel and ideas! I’m excited to try it for myself!

  43. The more I see from Australia the more I want to move there! This house is beautiful! I’m jealous of the Lebanese food. I have a good friend who is Lebanese and I always take her up on her offer to bring food when we have a party. She has never brought something that wasn’t amazing. Even her hummus is better than any other I’ve tried!

    The whole house is lovely, but the boys’ room is my favorite. Hard to believe those beautiful beds are from Ikea!

  44. Alice says...

    My favorite one yet! It looks so comfortable.

  45. Andrea says...

    The floor through idea seems big in OZ/NZ. We were riding through neighborhoods in Auckland and seeing how many people renovated their homes so you could see from the front windows to the back yard.

    • Nina says...

      Yes, you are correct – it is quite common particularly with renovated houses where people often convert three rooms to one open space.. I am a New Zealander (living in the South Island). The left hand size of my renovated 1940s house is open from front to back (with the lounge, dining room and kitchen as one open space. I did not realise that this is (primarily) a New Zealand/Australian concept until now.

  46. Mary - says...

    – gorgeous home! love the open concept and flow with the beautiful color combos. i am really inspired by the framed pin board of baby photos – very clever! ;)

  47. Rachel says...

    Beautiful home and lovely family. So many thoughtful touches. I wonder if you might share a few of your favorite children’s books? Trying to figure out the names of some of the pretty ones tucked behind on the open shelves.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask her! and here are some of the books on her shelf:
      the day the crayons quit — http://amzn.to/2kxhGor
      stuck — http://amzn.to/2kYKq7s
      animalium — http://amzn.to/2l1hLOz
      lost and found — http://amzn.to/2k0C8er
      no fits, nilson! — http://amzn.to/2k0CnGB
      one thousand things — http://amzn.to/2l1sHeU

    • Angela says...

      That book Animalium that Joanna mentioned is gorgeous! I find this slightly terrible of myself, but I think when my kids outgrow it, I may rip out some pages and hang them as artwork. The illustrations are that beautiful!

    • Anna says...

      A few Oliver Jeffers titles: he’s one of our family favourites! Appeals to both kids and adults!

  48. Sarah Kang says...

    Her choice of artwork is beautiful!

  49. Zoe says...

    Gorgeous home! Also bravo to the Cup of Jo team for continuing to incorporate much needed diversity into the posts. Diverse people from diverse backgrounds! More please!

  50. I love the shelf with all the crystals.

  51. mosey says...

    What a beautiful home.. and family!

  52. So beachy and pretty! I like seeing how people style IKEA furniture to mesh with the rest of their house- I love those beds in the kids room!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, she has found the prettiest pieces there!