When Melbourne creative, Erin Maxwell, undertook the huge task of renovating a heritage property just before covid hit, she couldn't have known what was to come. Lockdowns and restrictions made the process much longer but she tells us the "end is in sight after a few long years."
Combining the old with the new and making the already beautiful heritage space functional and modern for her family of five, we sat down with Erin to find out more about her vision and the pieces she's carefully selected to furnish her dream home.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am a proud Melbourne girl that moved to the coast with my family when I was 11. I say I grew up in Ocean Grove but as soon as I finished school it was straight back to Melbourne and it's where I call home with my husband Nick and my three amazing kids.
I am a bit of a mixed bag with my official work title but I will go with 'Creative' which encompasses photography, digital content creation, creative direction and prop styling. On the side, I am working as a creative consultant for a new project to launch in September called Eclat - A curated, members based work and social space here in Melbourne.
You've recently embarked on a pretty big reno project. Talk us through your experience to date...
The never ending reno! We started before Covid, which given what the past couple of years have been like, we were lucky to have 'officially' finished (though definitely still more to do) just as we started lockdown.
It has been a long process to furnish and tie up the finishing touches over the pandemic but the end is in sight after a long few years.
The rendered banquette seating and boucle cushions that should be alongside my beautiful new Totem Road table is the next to complete.
The project is a heritage property in which we retained all of the original homes features and footprint and added a contemporary addition to the back end of the block. I wanted the ’new’ to still be in tune with the original home so our lime washed walls, high ceilings, herringbone floors and stone choices run through the entire project. I love the warmer tones and more muted colour palette through the design and when styling and furnishing I have a lot of mid century influence.
What were some of the biggest considerations for the design of your home?
Our home is listed with a heritage overlay so we had a footprint to work from and these period features are why we loved the house in the first place. I had a few non negotiable elements going in which were the oak herringbone flooring, skylights and our steel framed windows. I really loved the lime washed walls to add that European feel, with our bathrooms also having a Venetian plaster product to create a seamless and clean element.
I would say materials were the biggest consideration as the budget was pushed so a lot of the design elements (including a second storey) had to be pulled back, so it was important to me to retain the arabescato stone in the kitchen, brushed brass tapware and the details mentioned above to have it feel the way I wanted.
You recently added the Totem Road Nova Dining Table to your dining area. Why did you choose this piece?
As you can see from the photos, the area is awaiting completion with a rendered bone coloured bench seating that will then have boucle custom cushions that will sit along the back wall and fill the height of the space. A large pendant light is also being installed, offset to compliment the track lighting above the table.
I had been searching for the right dining table for months as I really wanted a softer edge and a circular table wasn’t going to suit the space it was to live . I was also conscious of adding another timber in the mix with the darker oak on my kitchen joinery and the oak flooring. When I was introduced to The Nova it was such a perfect fit for me and I am so pleased. The rounded edges on both the table top and legs add the softness I was looking for and the oak finish perfectly compliments our flooring and bone lime wash walls.
What kind of memories do you hope will be made around this table?
As a family I have always placed such an importance around being together at dinner time.
It is where we all connect and run through the day without distractions.
Our youngest, Raff holds court every night with our ‘best part, worst/challenging part, something funny that happened'. Life is busy and everyone has activities and sports almost every night but we always manage to bring it back here.
It is also our main hub for homework, craft, work (as I write this now), birthday parties and everything in between. Keeping the kids away from the cream sofa and onto the dining table works for me too. A new set of linen placemats are on order and a tablecloth to keep the table protected and me sane whilst making our more messier memories.
At Totem Road, our products are made from sustainable, solid oak, designed to last beyond a single lifetime. When it came to purchasing products for your home, did longevity play a part in the decision making process?
Absolutely! I have always been one for quality over quantity and through my wardrobe and interior selections it is about more timeless pieces and having beautiful things that I know are made well and will go the distance.