Inside Melbourne’s industrial house that has undergone a colorful makeover

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Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Going with the flow is sort of a mantra for Mardi Ola. The Melbourne-based interior designer has seen his career “evolve organically, with a number of residential projects going on at all times,” and takes much the same approach to his home life.

Her huge, colorful apartment in the South Yarra suburb is always open to change. Located in a former industrial building from the turn of the century, it has proven to be infinitely adaptable, despite being one of the first warehouse conversions in Australia, dating back to the 1980s.

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

“Steel columns and beams provide all the structure you need; inside of that, the world is your oyster and the space can be manipulated as you wish, ”explains Mardi. “It means he’s grown with us. One area went from the playroom to the guest bedroom, then to the study – now it’s our “containment room”, full of nifty things to keep us busy. ‘

Tuesday was drawn to this part of Melbourne by the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens and leafy Fawkner Park, and now shares her apartment with her daughters Olivia, 15, and Ava, 13.

“I discovered the region for the first time when I moved to the city in the 1990s and I was immediately won over,” recalls Mardi. “It’s a real hidden gem. “

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

When it took the plunge and bought its place here in 2016, however, it needed updating. “I had to remove all the windows because the pretty original steel-framed windows had been replaced,” explains Mardi. This involved cutting out four layers of bricks and researching new frames that were more in keeping with the architecture. “Most sill heights had to be lowered by almost a meter because in a warehouse no attention was paid to light or sight. “

Now the apartment is incredibly bright and bright. “For me, natural light is everything,” explains Mardi, explaining how she repositioned the doors and windows to let in as much as possible. This allowed his other passions, for plants and bright colors, to shine.

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Although she does not have, she admits, “the greenest thumbs,” lush indoor gardens can be found in every corner of her home. “They fill the living space, but I tend to stick with the plants that are impossible to kill, like cacti and fiddle-leaf figs,” she jokes.

Mardi doesn’t like to put a label on his decorating style, believing that each space should be treated in its own right. “You should fill it with things you like,” she adds. In his case, it’s about vintage furniture, precious bespoke pieces, and colorful art that “makes you happy”.

Often times, she will use a piece of art or a shade as a starting point for a room. “I tend to color, but subtly,” she explains. “I love pale blues and greens because they are so relaxing to experience. “

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Photo credit: Lisa Cohen

Thanks to the hard work done, all updates to the space are now simple. “Stuffing chairs or replacing bed linens keeps things cool,” explains Mardi. And for an added dose of happiness, there’s always wildlife around, whether it’s the animal objects strewn about the apartment, the family’s Scottish Fold cat, named The Catman, or wildlife. of the garden.

“Sometimes we welcome our friendly kookaburra neighbors, who ask to be fed,” reveals Tuesday. ‘It made for fun. It’s nice to open the big doors and let the air in.


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