Georgia Duncan may be a stylist but that doesn’t mean her own Melbourne home is picture perfect at all times. And she’s totally okay with that! Living above her favourite coffee spot in the middle of Richmond’s high street, she has surrounded herself with objects that she holds dear while also managing to keep things clutter-free.
And, most importantly, how her home makes her feel is everything to Georgia, who lives there with her partner Jack and their dog. “It is by no means perfect and never will be, but I love it.”
They’ve lived in the 2.5-bedroom 1880s above-shop apartment since 2014, renovating one of the bathrooms, replacing lights and painting throughout.
Georgia describes her style as eclectic, calm and in many parts ‘half-minimalist’. “I like to layer pieces within my styling work, however at home, I find I really need the space to be organised and clutter-free! Especially when the same four walls are staring back at me 24/7 (hello 2020)! It is vital that I feel relaxed in my home.”
She adds: “I am very lucky to have some amazing storage; this is a game changer. I have lots of indoor plants and bringing the outdoors in does so much for your mental health! And I am never without a fresh bunch of flowers; they add colour and vibrancy to an otherwise simple space.”
The 28-year-old surrounds herself with special pieces, some with sentimental value and some which she has collected because she loves and appreciates their design. “My mum passed away when I was 13, and prior to that, every birthday she would give me a keepsake item. Because of this, I have artwork, vintage meat-safes, an antique Japanese writer’s chest and other things.
“I inherited the chest of drawers in my bedroom, which my mum moved out of home with at around 20 years old. My desk is a kitchen table which was my great aunt’s farmhouse table, and my dining table is the one I grew up eating around. Most of my artwork I have had re-framed; new life into gorgeous older pieces inherited from my maternal grandparents and my parents.”
Other favourites include a set of secondhand Cesca dining chairs, her Melbourne made Heimur bed base and an Objekto Paulistano armchair from the days when she worked at Hub Furniture. The Aboriginal art in her bedroom was bought while visiting her brother in Alice Springs.
While the character of the apartment, the first home she’s owned, has dictated how she has decorated, Georgia says she was lucky she already had so many vintage pieces. She loves its high ceilings, fireplaces and spacious rooms.
“The pieces I have added in are all classic, yet fresh and fun, and in many cases, in keeping with what I already own. However, with the bathroom renovation I went all out modern for a harsh juxtaposition. I hope to put a rooftop on soon, and do a similar thing.”
As someone who dislikes driving, living on a high street suits Georgia down to the ground! “Being able to roll out of home, to the cafe, supermarket or bar is heavenly! I am also known for my ability to sleep at any stage, so the hustle and bustle below my bedroom window doesn’t bother me.
“I like to think everyone feels welcome here. I have friends all over the city, making my home the perfect central meeting hub. I love being safely curled up in the comfort of my home and knowing there is so much happening just downstairs. FOMO is rare here!”
Georgia studied Interior Design at RMIT but found that styling was her favourite part of the process. “I love everything to do with architecture and design, but it has to be the icing on the cake; the final finishings, styling and sourcing of objects, art, soft and hard furnishings, that I absolutely adore! I work a few days a week from home, and usually on a few photoshoots in one week.
“My home workspace is simple. I need it to be tidy and simplistic so I can spread samples and ideas out everywhere for specific projects and not be sidetracked by other objects and colours. I have a cabinet full of props right next to my desk, and a little reading nook, where I catch up on all my favourite magazines and blogs.”
Along with Jack, a builder, Georgia dreams of one day buying and renovating a ‘shack’ or farm outside Melbourne. “I fancy the idea of growing flowers, a vegetable garden and chooks, but not too much land that we can’t look after. I dream of my own studio, storage for all my props and he dreams of a shed full of all his tools and toys to make the reno happen!”
But for now, they’re more than happy living the inner city life.
Georgia’s tips for making your home FEEL nicer
- There is something about natural light. You cannot create it. If you do not have a lot of it, fill your home with mirrors, light objects and warmth in textures and colours. I am so lucky that my home is north-facing in the Southern Hemisphere (this is by no means an accident; it was a must on my list of house non-negotiables).
- Where possible, do not purchase pieces that are ’on trend’ and very importantly (if you ask me) invest in pieces you will keep for a long time, not for yesterday and today. And do invest, although I don’t shy away from an IKEA piece as needed! Only purchase pieces you really love.
- In terms of comfort, I do not want to be too obvious, but ensure your home is welcoming (both for you and for when guests are allowed to visit)! I often have a scented candle lit, a fire in winter, fresh flowers, a cuppa or glass of wine on hand and without a doubt can whip up a platter without much notice!
The current Melbourne lockdown has made Georgia appreciate her home more than ever. “I am so fortunate to have a roof over my head at minimum, and not just a roof but a space I feel both safe and comfortable and also love to be in.
“Do not get me wrong, it has taken me the five-plus years I have lived here to create this. I am a strong believer in creating a home. As humans we move into a house, and over time you turn it into a home.”
Photography: Emma Pegrum | Styling by Georgia, assisted by Emma Hirst (Phy Design).