HomeInteriorsThe 1970s Mudbrick Home Of Jewellery Designer Olivia Cummings and Drummer Liam...

The 1970s Mudbrick Home Of Jewellery Designer Olivia Cummings and Drummer Liam Gough

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If you want to snag a mid-century home in Melbourne’s incredibly leafy and increasingly coveted north-east, it pays to have some local connections! 

It was a family friend who alerted Liam Gough to this mudbrick home for sale off-market in North Warrandyte. Created by an owner-builder in 1977 in the style of Alistair Knox, the house was relatively untouched and contained a wealth of local materials – just what the musician and his partner Olivia Cummings, designer and founder of Cleopatra’s Bling jewellery, were after. 

‘We were looking for a diamond in the rough; something that hadn’t been renovated or modernised before, so we could keep the character and charm that the ‘70s mudbrick houses in Warrandyte are known for,’ says Olivia.

‘There are two time capsules on the walls, of pressed flowers behind glass, from the year the house was built. The mudbricks were made from the clay soil on the property, the recycled Oregon timbers are from a warehouse demolished in the ‘70s, and the red brick floors and chimneys are a mix of recycled and seconds bricks.’

After years of city living (Liam in inner Melbourne, and Olivia across Paris, Istanbul and Naples for 13 years!), the couple were excited to return to the area where Liam grew up. 

Since moving in last year, they’ve completed only minor updates such as painting the home’s exterior and installing new kitchen bench tops and tiles. 

‘We used Dulux Vivid White for the whole house, because we wanted a crisp freshness that steered away from the natural mudbrick colour, and to contrast against the darker natural tones of the recycled timbers and bricks,’ says Olivia.  The furniture and styling adopts a more colourful theme, incorporating several kilim rugs Olivia collected in Turkey and Morocco.

The only significant addition to the property is Liam’s new recording studio, built completely from scratch using all recycled materials. Olivia has meanwhile spent countless lockdown hours attempting to soften up the hard Warrandyte soil in order to grow flowers and vegetables in the garden, and make a good home for two new beehives.

Liam and Olivia love working and living in this bush-like haven, far enough away from Melbourne’s busy inner-city, while remaining within easy reach. 

‘I think COVID made home much more important, so it’s become really comforting… it feels incredible to drive home from the city and settle in for the night,’ Olivia says. ‘Waking up to natural light with our incredible view is an amazing way to start our day together, immersed in nature, with the kangaroos regularly at our doorstep.’ 

Artwork by Jordy Kerwick. The record cabinet was made and designed by Liam with wood he salvaged from a rubbish pile heading to the landfill. The red couch was a Facebook Marketplace find and the kilim cushions are from a shop in Turkey’s Grand Bazaar. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Liam, Olivia and Alfonso the pup. The Capodimonte plant pillar and planter is vintage Italian. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The glass vase on the coffee table is 1940s depression glass and the Hairy Chair is from CCSS. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli

 


Vintage Teste di Moro from Palermo. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The dining table was found in a hard rubbish pile in Kew and the chairs have been collected over the years and restored. The lampshade is hand-made by Dean Phillips. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Liam completed all the tiling himself using vintage tiles. The kitchen island counter top is made from recycled 1940s parquetry dance floor, salvaged from a theatre. The vintage Planet lamp is from Liam’s grandfather. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The vintage rug was bought in Morocco. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The wooden plant stand was made by Olivia’s grandfather, Albert, and the planter was a Facebook Marketplace find. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The lamp is a vintage Murano from the Murano Lamp Shop in Italy. The rug is a vintage find from Morocco. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The mid-century dresser was bought from a vintage seller on Instagram. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The quilt is from Helmstedt. The rug is a vintage find from Marrakesh. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The bedsheets are made from dead-stock fabric that Olivia sourced from Facebook Marketplace. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Painting by Justin Lee Williams. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Alfonso’s dog bed is from Odditi. Photo print is by Jamie Green and the vintage plate on the wall beside it is from Spain. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The Murano mushroom lamp is from the Murano Lamp Shop. The painted ceramics are from LRNCE and the other vases are vintage finds. The purple mushroom lamp is a vintage find from France. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The vintage hallway rug was picked up in Morocco. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The Revolver rocking chair sitting outside was designed and built by Liam. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


The studio is clad in recycled corrugated iron and the stairs are built from recycled old red bricks. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Inside the studio there’s a 1960s Ampex A440 tape machine, a 70s Otari MX5050 tape machine, a vintage Yamaha M916 mixing desk and KRK V8 studio monitor speakers. The analogue preamps and compressors sit inside a rack made by Liam. A photo of engineer Nao Anzai by Nicola Bell hangs on the wall. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli


Outside, a vintage Australian hardwood church pew salved from a church in Abbortsford offers an excellent place to sit and soak in the view. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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Linda Barbara

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