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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!