A mint green bathroom, pink stairs, baby blue doors and a pastel dream kitchen. This candy-coloured home makes you smile whether you’re inside or out
Creativity is on full display within the walls of Emma and Simon O’Meara’s home on Australia’s Victorian coast. A sunny abode inside and out, this is a house that speaks clearly of its owners’ love of colour and texture. From the blush front door, to the statement colours and whimsical design elements, all layered on a crisp white backdrop, the home leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.
To interior stylist Emma, it’s only fitting that friends have given the home a name that encapsulates its distinctive features. “They call it ‘The Gingerbread House’ because of the cedar shingles, the pitched roof and all the colour,” she says. “It’s my take on Aussie-meets-Scandi with splashes of a mid-century Palm Springs vibe.
Raised on the coast, Emma can’t imagine life away from the ocean. Certainly, hearing the crash of waves late at night is a joy that never wanes. They live in Barwon Heads, southwest of Melbourne, which lies 109 kilometres away by road. “It’s a beautiful little village – relaxed, not too busy and just a great place to bring up the kids,” she says.
The couple were living nearby when they saw this vacant double section and it wasn’t long before they’d engaged local builder Daryn Anthony to build them a home there. “We decided to build at the front of the block and we will eventually build another house at the back. The idea is that this one will become a boutique rental property,” she says.
Immersed in design and creativity for her work, Emma had plenty of inspiration when working on the finishes for her own home. “This time, I was the person I had to please,” she says. “There were definitely some hard decisions. I see so many houses, colours and materials, so finalising the selection was tough. You can have too much choice!”
From the outset, though, Emma knew the house – the latest in a long line of projects for this serial renovator – would be an ode to her passion for vibrant shades.
“My approach to colour was to bring in as much to the home as possible,” she says. “It makes me feel happy. I’ve always been a glass-half-full type of person and I think the house reflects that. You can’t help but smile when you walk in.”
Against the neutrality of white walls and floors, enticing shades come to the fore. There’s Emma and Simon’s pink ensuite, the mint bathroom, the blush staircase and the muted green joinery in the kitchen.
“We went to Italy a couple of years ago and I was so in awe of their love of colour,” she says. “In Burano, a little island off Venice, all the houses are painted and there’s pink everywhere. I came home thinking, ‘Why aren’t we brave with colour here?’ We need to just go with it.”
A lifetime’s worth of collected treasures, such as works by the couple’s favourite artists, bring the home to life, along with an array of rugs and the lush greenery that beckons from the windows. “I really like seeing colour on the floor and walls, especially when most of the walls are white,” says Emma.
As a contrast to the white walls, pale plywood has been used throughout this new home, adding warmth and texture to the pitched ceilings, as well as a Scandinavian-inspired touch. Grooved panelling, applied on an angle, also gives another layer of interest, appearing on the hallway and kitchen ceiling and again in the master bedroom.
With a neutral backdrop Emma could run wild not only with paint – including a beautiful muted blue-green on the kitchen cabinets – but with accessories, too. Brushed brass and golden tones in artwork, rugs, baskets and furniture weave through the scheme, supplying plenty of texture as well as continuity. And of course, the most striking texture of all appears on the outside, where the shingle cladding, combined with the house shape, evokes a whimsical, joyful vibe straight out of the ’70s.
A happy house
Meanwhile, the family are heading away for a couple of months, on a road trip along the North American west coast in an RV. “It feels like the perfect timing before the girls start high school,” says Emma. “We’ll definitely have less space than we do here. We’re going to get real cosy, really quick!”
They’ll definitely miss their gorgeous home, she says. “But that will only make us appreciate it more. It’s just a very happy house.”
Words by: Jackie Brygel. Photography by: Nikole Ramsay.