Rod’s House. Decorating in Colour

I feel very connected to Rod’s house. I was there when he decided to buy it, though at the time, I preferred the white-painted, more feminine, pressed metal house around the corner. In hindsight, I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.

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We set out on that long road trip to the Wimmera District in 1997, travelling in an old mustard green 1976 Datsun, affectionately known as a Datto in Australia, a car not known for its style or class, then or now. When we first entered the house, I found the darkness oppressive: the house felt sinister, haunted even. Built in 1897, with walls made of thick, unadorned concrete, it was stark and foreboding. The house consisted of two rooms at the front and two at the rear, with a central entrance hall just inside the front door. Off one end of the back verandah, there was a semi functional bathroom (that hasn’t changed much) and at the other end, a derelict room. The only ornamentation back then were the fine wooden fireplace surrounds featuring swastika fretwork. Rod has more than compensated for those austere times with his strong colour treatments and decor.

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Corner of the living room. Swastika fretwork on wooden fireplace. The modern TV blends in easily with the myriad of paintings and the 1950s glass cabinet.

Rod’s decorating style could be called courageous, or outrageous.  He doesn’t follow trends although he has set many in his time. Rod’s previous house in a Melbourne seaside suburb contained wall to wall original framed Tretchikoff prints, Danish mid-century furniture, Sputnik record turntables and assorted retro gems. These were all sold off, once they became desirable and collectible. When Rod moved to this country house in 2004, he started again from scratch, seeking a new rural, eclectic and personal style.

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Entrance hall, looking towards living room.

I kept records of the metamorphosis of this house along the way, though some of my treasured files were lost to bushfire, or random deaths of hard drives. At each point along the way, the decor has been quite different. I walk in and wonder what happened to the huge blue and white Chinese urns, or the hand-made miniature bird cages, or the vintage toy car collection. Things are always changing, rotating, or are tucked away.

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The kitchen. Tiny 1940s kitchen benches and sink, modern stainless steel stove, black painted walls, cheap canvas French prints from the reject shop, other framed originals, pink man knife holder, a recent op shop purchase.

When Rod first moved in, he began painting the walls. For years they changed colour but lately, he seems satisfied with the chosen colour scheme, especially since the walls are no longer visible thanks to the wonderful art collection on the walls. The kitchen walls can still be discerned, with black, deep orange and pink featuring loudly. Not much sun enters the house, thanks to the deep shady verandahs, so important in semi- desert country. The colours seem right: they breathe life into this old house.

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Old 1950s kitchen cabinet gets the colour treatment.

Rod is quite partial to old chandeliers: this one features in the front passage way. There are other chandeliers in the sitting room and bedroom but these have disappeared under veils and bling. New lighting is coming, and once the electrician deals with the antique wiring, the veils are coming down.

entrance foyer chandelier
Entrance foyer chandelier
Like re-entering your mothers womb room.
‘Re-entering your mothers womb’ room.
Art and Bling. Living room.
Art and Bling. Living room.

The main bedroom has been given a gentler treatment. The bed now has white linen, the only white used in the house. The bedroom is entered through a black cloud of butterflies.The darkness and softer decor beckons. Excuse me while I take a short nap.

Through a veil of butterflies, sleep calls at any time of the day.
Through a veil of butterflies, sleep calls at any time of the day.
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A beautiful window treatment.
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Is that a TV? Corner of living room.
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Colourful cotton reels and a touch of bling.
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Mr Tranquillo ( left) and Mr Rod enjoy an afternoon Pinot Grigio.

As you can imagine, there are thousands more photos. I hope you enjoyed the house tour Maxine, Susan from Our French Oasis , Loisajay , Peter at Tropical Bliss BNB, (who had a cactus juice dream about Rod’s house ) and you also, dear friend and reader. Please comment as I am sure Rod would appreciate any feedback. If I do a post on Rod’s house next year, I anticipate that many things will have changed.

Under a shady verandah.
Under a shady verandah.

Some of Rod’s pre-loved treasure is available at a stall at the Daylesford branch of the Mill Market. His stall, shared with an old friend Leah, is called Rocket and Belle. Drop in and say hello if you are in Daylesford. Cheap treasure abounds.

As an afterthought, I’m also adding this post to Ailsa’s Cheerful, her travel theme on Where’s My Backpack this week.

44 thoughts on “Rod’s House. Decorating in Colour”

  1. Oh wow! A magician indeed! I had to go back to look at his garden. I love visiting places that make you look at every nook and cranny, and discover something new every time. Thank you so much for showing me such a treasure trove.

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    1. Thanks Anne. Every time I go there, I run about like a crazy woman – I love the craziness and colour. I know you would love it too, given your own art and exploration of design.

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  2. No Karen, there’s not a lot of space for anything else at all really, though it’s quite soothing to sit in that film set, and to escape from the glare of the big skies and heat outside.

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  3. A life’s work – still in progress! Eclectic, vibrant, and a blessing to behold. I hope Rod will consider that one day his creative enclave become a National Treasure and Museum for all to experience. Francesca, we could nominate you as the inventory documentor!
    Thanks for sharing these stunning photos/stories, and Rod for a peek into his wonderful home.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just enjoyed a Sunday morning coffee break taking a look through Rod’s house. What a joyous place and a joyous post. I’d love to have Rod’s house with so much going on that your attention is constantly diverted. Wonderful!

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    1. And a sense of humour, lots of risk taking and no concessions to modernity ( except for the TV and the stove) though Rod doesn’t do much cooking as his artistic expression lies elsewhere.

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  5. I really admire Rod’s style and courage to create it. I couldn’t live with it but love to visit it. I have a friend with a similar, very curated and creative place and I love it but am almost afraid to move in it. I studied each of your photos carefully and thoroughly enjoyed this little respite from the upcoming-holiday-which-we-shall-not-name…. xx

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    1. Curated space- yes- now that’s an interesting concept. Rod uses his spare time from demanding work with disabled adults to indulge his creative fantasies. It is wonderful to soak it all in, and I always return home and feel a little bored by my more bland house style. I think Rod missed his calling.

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  6. Francesca–you were right–I love this! If you didn’t take the hint from the gardens, then this house would totally shock. I am such a minimalist but I don’t know why I am so attracted to houses like Rod’s–with so much stuff that you don’t know what to look at first. And you cannot get enough, either. Oh, this is such a true gem of a home. Thank you so much for the tour. Take me with you when you go back.

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  7. Awesome house. Would love to escape there on weekends, lounge around and entertain there if it was mine, but during the week I would prefer a second more boring house to come home to. It’s the colours which make it so special.

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    1. The best entertaining is done on the verandah as the sun goes down, with a chilled wine, then a quick walk to the pub for dinner. Then back for a sleep in the quiet and cool of those solid walls.

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  8. You have captured Rod’s house perfectly Francesca. It’s hard to use words to describe this incredible house and garden, your photos speak a thousand words; they took my breath away. I love how he bucks trends and decorates from the heart, is not afraid of color and is so unique. His hard, back breaking work in the garden has certainly paid off. Looks delightful.

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    1. Thanks Leah. It’s always hard to capture Rod’s house and garden as you really need to be immersed in the total package, the kaleidoscope of colour, pattern and texture, to really sense Rod’s restless creativity. Such a modest man and such courageous decorating. Yes, back breaking work along the way, lifting statues and huge objects into place. Just love it all.

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  9. Oh, how glorious. It makes me think of Margaret Olley’s house, so full of vibrant, rich colour and every aspect is arresting, though Margaret’s house, was, if anything more of everything – by 2! She said that “it’s all about the light” and I imagine that after the heat and stark glare of the near desert that surrounds Rod’s town, entering this rich cave through the lush oasis of his garden, must feel like such a relief and the thick walls must keep the outside temperatures at bay. That was just wonderful, thank you, Francesca – and Rod:)

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    1. I remember seeing photos of Olley’s house, with fresh flowers everywhere and lots of clutter. Their is a strong resemblance between both decorating styles for sure Jan. Its that love of colour, shape and texture. This ‘rich cave’ is very soothing after being in that very open land. The walls work well in both summer and winter and the house is very quiet inside too. Bits of light enter, but only in an indirect or filtered way. I am glad you enjoyed the tour Jan.

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  10. Goodness, Francesca! What a feast for the eyes! All one has to do is look at a couple of your photos to realize that Rod has put thought behind the placement of each and every piece. There is a definite order to what might first look like chaos. It demands that visitors return to discover Rod’s latest interests.

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  11. Oh wow… I’m in love with Rod’s house and your delivery of it. The antipathy of that which I hate most – showroom, retail, matching, uninteresting. I do my best in my nanna-style efforts. My sister commented nothing matches… but it looks good! Rod however is a professional, I’m inspired. I’d love to browse Rockett & Belle.
    BTW I also love your home, it was wonderful & welcoming to visit. It feels like it was formed of its place, earthed & nurturing but with space to explore & soar.

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