An Early 2000s Melbourne Apartment Turned ‘Piccolo Palazzo’
After a life-changing few years, including a cancer diagnosis, Eryca Green realised the profound need of having a sanctuary to call home. ‘Spaces can be so healing, especially if you are a bit of a homebody as I am,’ she says.
The photographer and co-owner of vintage furniture store Smith Street Bazaar spent a year looking for a desirable inner-city Melbourne apartment in her price range. ‘I was hoping for an art deco style in a small block of four to six. I didn’t even bother looking at big blocks as it just wasn’t what I wanted at all.’
The process was demoralising, so after several months, Eryca was persuaded to inspect a modern apartment in a large Carlton building built in 2001.
‘I brought my close friend Matthew with me to see it. He is extremely pragmatic and knowledgeable, and he said “Darling, it has good bones!” Eryca says. ‘The large north-facing balcony overlooking a courtyard that can’t be built out is probably the winning feature. The location is also a drawcard — it really couldn’t be better.’
While the property was aesthetically world’s away from Eryca’s most recent home (that had been owned by the one family for generations) she quickly grew to appreciate the apartment as a blank cavas, providing the opportunity to make her mark. ‘It was totally led by my need for something solid to call my own,’ she says.
Eryca bought the apartment and worked with Julia Cox of jcHQ to bring her vision to life. Together, they’ve created a warm and wonderful space that feels like a true reflection of Eryca and her taste.
The renovated home features all new flooring, freshly-painted walls, and a moodier kitchen. ‘The IKEA kitchen was reconfigured cunningly by Julia, then customised with the beautiful piece of marble and the brass shelf,’ says Eryca.
Eddy Opmanis sourced all the furniture and the lights, and the interior colour scheme was inspired by his and Eryca’s previous home together, featuring similar shades of peachy pink (Porter’s Paints Majolica Half), yellow (Porter’s Paints Kuchinashi), and a deep cinnamon-toned red for the bedroom. ‘The girls at Porter’s Paints in Fitzroy were so patient, supportive and helpful,’ Eryca says. ‘I was in there almost every day for a while!’
Eryca’s sons Angus and Noah also played an important role in the renovation. ‘Angus manned the shop while I was lost to renovations and medical dramas, and Noah did an enormous amount of work preparing the space and painting it,’ says Eryca.
‘Mostly of course, I couldn’t have done it without Julia of jcHQ — her knowledge, tenacity, and vision.’
This is the first apartment Eryca has ever lived in. Living in a smaller home has required some adjusting (‘I have always had a “room of shame” where I could put all the things I wanted, but didn’t have a spot for. Not having that is both a curse and a blessing!’) but she loves the home she’s created, and the surrounding neighbourhood.
No matter where she lives, Eryca’s most cherished items will always be her art, including pieces by Louise Olsen, Stephen Ormandy, Camille Ormand, Jordan Fleming, Carol Crawford, and her son.
Julia calls Eryca’s completed home a ‘piccolo palazzo,’ featuring an adventurous colour palette that transports you to a summer holiday in Venice!