Finding the right rental property to call your own can be tricky but Kelly Thompson and Christian McCabe say their rental in Melbourne has given them a lifestyle they love.
Kelly, creative consultant and owner of Maker’s Mgmt, is enjoying life in vibrant Melbourne with her restauranteur partner Christian. Their rental is fondly known by neighbours as The Treehouse.
Renting was the only option in Melbourne for these former Wellingtonians. “I don’t want to own a House if it means I have to sacrifice my lifestyle,” says Kelly. “We get to travel, we get to eat good food, we live in a beautiful house that’s four storeys and has a lot of space.” To Kelly, there’s no value in buying a house just for the sake of owning something. “We can afford to rent this house but we definitely couldn’t afford to buy it, so it works out really well for us.”
The Treehouse caught her eye for all the wrong reasons. “It looked really weird from the pictures,” says Kelly. “It was dark and ugly, there was no furniture and all the images were taken on odd angles.” But there was a pool.
The next few visits uncovered the sliding wood walls that allowed the living area to be opened up to the outside. “Once they showed us how we could open it up, we were sold. The next week we moved in; it was pretty fast.”
She’s transformed the space into a neutral, calm, art-filled space, reining in the bright, bold colours that she favours in her work and personal style. The double-height windows bathe the rooms in light and the white and wooden walls lend themselves to a soft interior colour palette. Antique and vintage finds fill the rooms, along with furniture from home.
Christian’s scooter leans against the fence outside the four-storey Melbourne rental; Kelly stands on the second-level balcony with Billie the beagle
Kelly and Christian count themselves lucky that their landlord allows them to put hooks up in the wall for they r art ‘although he might regret that now,’ says Kelly. The large black and white print is by Kelly Banazi; Kelly says the best money they ever spent was on the large Adam Custins artwork near the window.
A Ben Sanders print, left, and a Clemens Habicht print hang in the kitchen; the jug was a gift to Kelly after she raved so much about them at one of Christians’ pop-up restaurants at Ponsonby Road’s Oprhan’s Kitchen.
The living room on the third floor gets all the sunlight; Kelly has green fingers: she’s encouraged the devil’s ivy to grow along the upstairs banister, repots new plants straight away to allow their roots to grow, waters once a week and fertilises twice a year. All the furniture in the living room is from vintage stores, including the giant round floor lamp.
The mezzanine above the kitchen has become the “home gym” where one of Kelly’s illustrations hangs on the wall above her pilates reformer; Billy snuggles into an armchair Kelly found in a vintage store in Melbourne.
See more of Kelly and Christian’s home, in the latest issue of NZ House & Garden, ‘The Trends Issue’ on stands today.
NZ House & Garden | Photography: Shannon McGrath