We love personally crashing every house that we feature but this amazing casa was just too far away (as in, Sydney Australia) to drop in on. Not to worry, we decided that holding back the amazing eye candy was just too cruel, so we opted to “virtually” house crash Max and her husband Peter’s home after they invited us to have a little look-see. They’re the masterminds behind Murchison-Hume, an amazing and eco line of posh cleaning products that are even carried here in the states by shops like Anthropologie (stay tuned for a YHL giveaway with them in April). Max and Peter live in an unbelievably inviting and organized home with their two adorable boys named Charlie and Ben. But enough jibber jabber. Here’s their house. Oh and you might recognize it from this Apartment Therapy House Tour, but we snagged tons of never-before-seen pics so you can enjoy every inch of their home (just keep a napkin nearby to catch the drool).
First we have their kitchen complete with a charming chalkboard wall. They ripped out the old 1980s cupboards in 2007 and replaced them with customized IKEA “Lack” shelving instead. It’s basically an IKEA kitchen with fancy knobs that Max imported from Restoration Hardware. She’s so happy with it, she wouldn’t change a thing. And we think the idea of bringing in Ikea bookcases to create an open pantry is a seriously genius idea. Yeah, we weren’t kidding about the drool factor here.
How much fun is that sweet and functional chalkboard wall that they use for everything from reminders and shopping lists to an “art spot” for the kids? So simple yet so chic.
And speaking of chic, it’s no surprise that their bathroom is sleek and organized- especially since they’re all about keeping everything crisp and clean thanks to their cleaning line. Everything from the diamond paned windows to the gorgeous mosaic floors have us oohing and ahhing up a storm, and simple ideas like storing bathroom stuff in glass containers and on clean-lined ceramic trays can definitely be implemented in your very own home to add some spa to your loo just like Max and Peter did.
As you’d imagine, their laundry room is just as sorted and orderly. Not only do they keep extra cleaning samples on hand, but they even manage to make things like an iron and an ironing board look downright stylish. And even though Max and Peter don’t have a single linen closet (talk about a challenge!) they used an inexpensive Ikea Expedit bookcase to create an organized and functional stash spot for everything from linens to laundry soap and more.
If it weren’t already blatantly obvious, their children are super lucky to enjoy such a cozy and livable home. Case in point, here’s six-year-old Charlie’s room.
Max says: “Charlie’s room is all about toys and access. I bought that another amazing IKEA Expedit bookshelf (a modern classic, if you ask me) and some nice looking baskets and that is how he manages to play in there and tidy his room almost all by himself at the end of each day.”
Gotta love a house that looks good and works so well with little ones- especially when it even encourages them to clean up after themselves!
And we can’t forget about ten-year-old Ben’s room, which also works double-duty as Max’s office during the day.
“Yes, It’s tiny but it keeps me virtually paperless (there’s no room for files). It’s amazing what you can get away with these days…” she says. A woman after my own heart!
We just love how Max accessorizes every surface with things that never feel too precious but always create interesting vignettes (all while keeping function and organization in the forefront of her arrangements).
Here’s Max and Peter’s bedroom. We love the chic asian influences and the simple tone on tone curtains and bedding. It’s certainly not one of those gigantic bedrooms and we love that they prove that it doesn’t take square footage to create something inviting and lovely.
Warning: if you’re anything like us, here’s where the pangs of jealousy will really kick in. As in: owww. Check out their amazing backyard cabana surrounded by their gorgeously lush lawn:
They transformed the garden in 2007 with clean-lined pavers (that happened to be discontinued and on sale) along with a custom made awning. It has virtually doubled their living space and it’s where they do all of their entertaining. Pretty dreamy, eh?
Max says that their yard isn’t large but it’s all that they need. We agree that their private and lush lot proves that less really can be more- especially when it’s so green and gorgeous!
So that’s the amazing casa that we wish we could have shot in the flesh for ya. Thankfully Max’s great photos really paint a gorgeous picture of their home and we’re thrilled to share the virtual inspiration with you guys. What do you think? Are you fighting off those envious feelings? Are you marveling at their smart and economical choices that look like a million bucks? Ikea bookcases in the laundry room, bedroom and even the kitchen! Discount pavers! Chalkboard paint! It’s all pretty genius. What do you guys like best? Let’s play the what’s-your-favorite-part game. And thanks so much to Max, Peter, Charlie, and Ben for virtually opening up their doors to us. Next time we’re in the neighborhood we might just come a knocking for even more photos. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Psst- Wanna see more House Crashing tours? We have a slew of them right here (no foot wiping or hostess gifts necessary).
The house is absolutely gorgeous. What kind of rug is that in the laundry room?
That looks like a sisal, seagrass or jute rug. Here’s hoping Max stops in with all those details!
I love love the backyard, especially since our backyard is just as small, unfortunately we don’t have the covered patio-but I love the lushness of the yard.
The Virginia House says
I think I shorted out my keyboard with all the drool. That is a house to mimic. As always, I am drawn to the kids rooms and the amazing ways they created kid friendly storage. Great post!
Laura H. says
I absolutely love their carpet… Kind of random, but it’s just so beautiful! I’m totally not a patterned carpet person, but that just give the right amount of texture, and looks stunning with the blue walls of Charlie’s room. Very impressed by that bold (yet somehow subtle!) choice…
I hope Max does stop by, because I’d love some first hand insight to that chalkboard wall! These have popped up everywhere over the last year, and while I love it, the “mess of it” has always scared me away from pursuing it! I wonder if the chalk dust is a pain? I think it’d drive me batty to have the erased chalk marks all over! :)
Lisa @ lists in my pocket says
Wow, you weren’t kidding about the drool factor! The house is just gorgeous!
Sunny's Life in Rehab says
I love the bookcases in the kitchen. What a fantastic idea! I was already designing our new kitchen straight off the IKEA website. Those are sooooo getting added. Thanks as always for providing great inspiration!
excuse me while i wipe the drool from my desk. wow. seriously amazing stuff going on in every corner of their house. i love the cabana and i actually really love their storage ideas – we live in a 1939 house with no linen closets and are constantly space challenged.
thanks so much for sharing!
LOVE that cabana! It’s got me thinking about what we could potentially do with our sad little concrete patio in our backyard.
Awesome organization for the kids rooms too. It’s so much nicer than kid toys all over the floor!
wow, that’s amazing! makes me a little depressed at how cluttered and incoherent our kids’ areas are in comparison, but i’m also inspired to rethink our kid-spaces (bedrooms/playroom) with their aesthetic in mind
FYI, he apartment therapy house tour has a lot of the sources listed:
I think my favorite part is how she mixes the soothing colors with white, and also how she makes it easy for her kids to clean up. Everything has a place.
This house is 100%, without a doubt, COMPLETELY my style. I wonder if they’re looking for a roomate?
And hey, if not, I would be curious to see what the paint color in Ben’s room is :)
I have to ask: Do people with open shelving in their kitchens actually cook in them? I can’t imagine cleaning flour dust and grim and splattered fat and spills off of everything. Not that I’m a total mess in the kitchen but in the heat of everything, well, I just know how my back splashes look after cooking and baking a big meal.
I love the look of it but all I can think is, “Man, I hope that person has a professional housekeeper.
cozy kitchen by the sea says
ooooo just the inspiration i needed today !!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, these people are behind a cleaning product line. How did I miss that the first time around and why am I amused that I brought up “professional cleaner” when these people obviously are?!
Absolutely AH-MAY-ZING! The stroage ideas are fantastic. My hubby and I are always short on space and there are some great ideas in there. Their backyard is gorgeous. Though in the midwest here, it’d be a 4 or 5 month of the year space to use – I’d still love it! I really love the kid stuff storage space ideas. We don’t have kids yet, but when we do I’d LOVE to be able to make it so that toys aren’t just everywhere. Will certainly be coming back to this post for ideas as we improve our space. Thanks!! :)
Wow, this is soo nice! I really love the cubbyhole idea as a functional and pretty space. The chalkboard wall is such a neat idea. My husband and I had thought about getting chalkboard paint before but decided we’d wait until we have kids b/c it would be more fun that way. And lastly, oh how I wish I could have a cute cabana like this one. We do have an outdoor covered deck…. maybe we could implement something like this!
Beautiful house! I love how soothing and organized it is. Would love to see a layout. . . there seems to be a shared bedroom/office (poor son!) and small master but the house is 2,700 sf?
Ashley Mutschler says
WOW! That looks like a Pottery Barn catalog! Thanks for sharing!
I’d love to know where those daybeds in the backyard cabana are from! I’ve been looking for one exactly like them.
Wow, this is one of my favorite homes you’ve toured to date! There is something so peaceful in feeling that everything is organized, and has a place. I’m a huge fan of the open shelved pantry, what a great idea! Except, I’d need to keep it looking good and not all jumbled together…maybe that would be a good thing.
Dana @ House*Tweaking says
Okay, so I really try not to get jealous of anything or anybody but there’s no stopping it after this house tour. Youngsters, why must you do this to me?! Just joshin’. I’m actually quite giddy to see another house-crash.
This home feels so put together yet liveable at the same time. The way they have everything organized right there out in the open for all to see is art. Art, I tell ya. And with two boys?! Genius.
Max and Peter – Thanks so much for sharing your home! One question… what kind of floor covering did you use in the bedrooms? It adds so much texture! I’d love to know what it is and where you got it.
I love those baskets on the Expedit bookcase/shelving unit and would love to know where to pick some up if they’re available in the states! I didn’t see them on the AT source list. We’re expecting at boy at the end of June and I am thinking of doing his (tiny) room with a nautical theme so this was great eye candy. We definitely won’t have space for an Expedit unit given our Manahttan quarters but those baskets could corral lots of baby stuff on top of the dresser, on our folding wood bookcases, or in our Ikea Aneboda cabinet… Thanks!
Gorgeous home, especially love the kitchen & Charlie’s room! Thank to that chalk board it totally reminded me that I too need to register my son for soccer. I almost forgot! *lol*
You hit the nail on the head: STUNNING.
I would love to know about the carpet in Max’s office and Charlie’s bedroom.
The outdoor space makes me soooo jealous! And the Ikea bookcases are so functional!
what a beautiful home! my favs include, but are not limited to, the outdoor cabana (if i lived in such a home i would definitely be using the space the most, especially if i lived in warm Australia), the desk in the office space (is that Ikea?), and Expedit Ikea shelving unit in Charlies room (take about storage!). I will spend the rest of my work day day-dreaming about living in warm Australia…
Love the color of Charlie’s room!
Sarah Sarniak says
Wow, that laundry room is awesome! I also LOVE the back patio, how relaxing it would be to have something like that.
lana @ make a house a home says
oh wow! their house is simply perfect. i love the “outdoor room” so much!
Simply stunning!!! I love the Ikea shelves and the colours! I find it hard to believe that these little boys are able to maintain the level of tidiness in their own rooms! What a feat for their parents! I can only hope that one day I can instill the same amount of attention to detail in my children.
Alycia Wicker says
I love their home. The part I am really intrigued by is the backyard space. I looks like they achieved the privacy they needed by planting bamboo. We have thought about doing this at our home, but we have been concerned with the bamboo creeping and not knowing exactly which kind is best.
It looks like they are aces on the Bamboo landscaping. Does anyone have anymore info on the bamboo?
WOW!!! I just loved that bathroom and backyard! I wish I was as creative as that. Well it’s great that I at least get to copy off of such amazing homes.
Love it! I would like to know about the desk and the shelves above it.
Okay, this brings up a question that I’ve been thinking of asking you all for awhile… is IKEA all that it’s cracked up to be? I drool all over sites like yours and many on your blogroll, and I’ve been coveting the Expedit shelf/desk (like you have in your basement) since I starting working at home about 18 mo. ago. The only thing stopping me is the fact that we declared a moratorium on “fake wood” furniture a few years ago. But is this stuff better than your average discount store desk? I haven’t made the trek up 95 to IKEA to see for myself, and would like to get some honest opinions. They look awesome in pictures but do they stand up to kids, work, etc? Thank you!
We truly believe that Ikea furniture is all that and a bag of chips. Of course some of the smaller things like cheap-o $20 ottomans follow the “you get what you pay for rule” but we have had nothing but great luck with our Ikea lack shelving in the dining room, our Ikea malm dresser in the guest bedroom, our Ikea wardrobes in both our master bedroom and the basement, and even our super inexpensive Ikea Vivan curtain panels throughout the house. As long as you don’t go into Ikea expecting anything to be as solid as something for three times the price at a place like Pottery Barn you will most likely not be disappointed and will get good use for many years from that item. We’d love for other people to chime in with their Ikea experiences. What do you guys think about the quality for the price ratio when it comes to Ikea furniture?
Lori H says
I love the kitchen best, and the outdoor cabana second. And the rest of the house next! Thanks for house crashing – I love those posts! And it’s refreshing to see so much Ikea – something I can actually afford.
[email protected] says
Excuse me, I have to wipe the drool off my face. This house is fantastic! I particularly love the boys room, and wonder what color the wall paint is? I’m doing a global theme for my son’s nursery so I loved seeing the map on the wall and little globe. All around lovely!
tasha roe says
when can i move in? absolutely superb!! love it all!!
wow, that bedroom made me stop in my tracks! What a beautifully simple design. And the patio is amazing!
Is that a tiny child-sized door in the kitchen (as part of the giant chalkboard). I’m sure it’s used for something functional, but in my imagination, it’s a hidden pathway to a playroom for the kids. haha.
I think their laundry room storage shelves are so clever. My laundry room, of course, would never look that neat!
Good question. I can just offer a few words from my own experience of IKEA. I’d never heard of it until I moved out of my parents’ house after college and my roommate took me there for the first time (10+ years ago). IKEA’s style seemed super modern at first, but I must say they’ve grown on me (or I’ve just changed!). My husband and I bought the big Expedit bookshelf, oh, 4 years ago, and have used it as an actual bookshelf; meaning books are heavy and none of the shelves are “dipping” (technical term!) We’ve moved 4 times since we’ve had it and it’s held up great. I was so worried the first time we moved it, but it really is fine. We also have a couple coffee table/side tables and those are solid pine. They are fine, but two side tables have uneven legs and we have to slide some cardboard under them to stop the wobble. But they were cheap ($30), so in that area I don’t think I can complain too much. Now we live very close to one and I’m there frequently for accessories/little things. I do think they’re great for the price, but that said you have to pick and choose what you want. We never considered getting our couches or bedroom furniture there, wanting something more substantial. But our daughter’s dresser and bookshelf are IKEA and they’re fine. I like going just for ideas and layouts (they’re fantastic for that), but understand not everyone can just pop in either. When we lived in OK, we spent a weekend in Dallas specifically to go to IKEA! It was fun – breakfast and lunch there at the grand opening – whoo-hoot! Sorry this is so long, but that’s just a little more info for you, not that it’s anything special.
In response to DemMom’s question, yes Ikea is really all that it is cracked up to be. Yes, the quality depends on the item you are buying, but really… I have always won in the bang for buck equation.
I have some Ikea furniture that has gone through 6 moves and is really not to bad off, I’ve always had success taking it apart and moving it in its flat-pack state. Some pieces that have made it through the years and are still going strong include the Lack side table, espressivo table lamps, billy bookshelf, and a DALSELV bed.
Think about it this way… it’s not as sturdy, beautiful, or timeless as true “protein furniture” but for for what you pay you usually get a great piece. Also, I find that if deciding between and Ikea piece and something from another cheap store like pier 1 or world market, ikea will have the nicer and cheaper piece.
I was wondering the same thing as one of the commentors above about the chalkboard wall. I think I’d go crazy with all that chalk dust and messy looking eraser marks on the wall all the time! They seem to be kind of popular right now though. I just wonder if you get the same mess from a chalkboard painted wall as you do from a real chalkboard, like in a classroom or something?
I am obsessed with that chalkboard. It’s amazing. I would LOVE a house with that in it one day! oh, and in Australia, too please. :)
Krispy (Aus) says
Wow this house is lovely…. I am wondering if you are able to get more info? I’d really love to know what variety of bamboo their hedge in the garden is (as we are looking at doing this around our pool in sunny Qld for a tropical feel and to screen out the neighbours), and what are the curtains in their cabana made of? Did they get someone to do those, or buy ready made, or make themselves? Thanks for the look-see – very nice :)
You can click over to their House Tour on Apartment Therapy (which we linked to in the beginning of this post) to see a source list from them. We also expect Max to drop in with some more info soon. Hope it helps!
Lovely house, seriously lovely eye candy. I would love to know the name of that aqua paint too!
Oh, MAN I’m kind of obsessed!!! Beautiful…I want it…Love all the storage in the “laundry room” and in the kids’ bedrooms.
What a bright and happy home! It really brightened my day. I especially love the outdoor cabana and organized storage.
Max Kater says
G’day, USA! (and beyond)
We just woke up in Sydney and were amazed to see so many comments on our post already!
Just read through all of them (phew!) and I’ll try and answer as many questions as I possibly can remember in my pre-caffinated state.
PAINT: We mainly used Dulux (Australian) and also a small boutique range here called Potter’s Paints. Great colours…sorry, colors. My native American spelling has gone all Commonwealth on me. Excuse me!
Charlie’s Room is a gorgeous blue/green called “Lake George” from Potter’s
Ben’s Room is “Dove Grey” by Dulux. They la make the creamiest white called “Stowe White.” Amazing.
The good news about paint (and I’m sure the Youngsters will concur) is that you can always take a chip colour sample to your local hardware store and they can almost always copy it! I’ve been dragging my American (Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren) paint chips around the world since 1993 and I’ve always had success with getting the colour right (even in Hong Kong).
CHALKBOARD: Yep, it’s just dry-wall with a few coats of chalkboard paint.
TOP TIP: Use at least 4 coats! The trick to managing the mess/dust is to only use white chalk (the coloured chalk is hard to erase) and I keep a little waist-high dust pan and brush behind the little door (it’s under stair storage) Of course, the kids hide in there! They call it “The Pirate Cave!”
I usually sweep the kitchen after KP duty each night and I just sweep that up as well! Easy.
TOO MUCH IKEA: You’ve all been very polite, but I do realize we are a little heavy on the I-store furniture. We don’t have any in the Living room/Dining area…promise!
The problem is, they’re just so good at problem solving! Our house is small and fairly narrow (they dimensions here include the outdoor patio, etc.) so the LACK shelves in the kitchen gave us a bit more space where traditional cabinets would have been too wide for our tiny galley kitchen.
And yes, you have to be fairly diligent duster with open shelving!
TOP TIP: Only use open shelving for things you use regularly or you’ll drive yourself crazy dusting all the time. I keep all my everyday china and cups there so it gets emptied out and dusted down every other day…luckily I do usually have a bottle (or three) of my Food Safe Surface Spray lying around the place.
SISAL/SEAGRASS: I love seagrass. And Belgian Sisal. Lovelovelove it! We have had the same huge sisal matting (now installed wall to wall in the Laundry/Utility room) since we were newlyweds in Singapore 14 years ago (!) and have dragged it from there to San Francisco and back to Sydney and it still looks impeccable!
The wall to wall HERRINGBONE SEAGRASS carpet in the rest of the house is only 9 years old but looks to be as durable as the sisal. People say “but doesn’t it stain?” and the answer is NO WAY! We have had parties, children and almost every horrible spill you can imagine on that sisal.
You can scrub it as hard as you like with good cleaner and a brush (and dry with a small fan heater) and it looks good as new. Show me a carpet that can do the same!
TOP TIP: Just make sure you get a good quality sisal (there are looser weaves and inferior types out there). Seagrass is always safe. Bomb-proof.
Peter just came back from dropping Charlie off at school with my coffee (saving up for a glam coffee machine) so I’ll have a re-read to make sure I didn’t miss anything!
Thanks for all of your lovely comments and questions. I’ll keep checking in if you have any others and try to answer as many as I can!