Pauline Morrissey is a proud Filipina-Australian with an accomplished editorial background, spearheading multiple columns for Domain's lift-out magazines and crafting copy and content for brands and businesses within the lifestyle, design, and property space.
Apart from Pauline's impeccable taste in interior design and styling, we also admire her ability to capture the best bits when she's out and about. Last year we lived our European summer holidays dreams vicariously through her Instagram feed and with another (European winter!) holiday on the cards to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary, we can't wait to do it all over again soon.
Over the years Pauline has kindly featured Bonnie and Neil in her editorial columns and has also created beautiful content in her own homes showcasing our collections - from the prettiest pink Christmas lunch table to serene bedroom scenes. When we heard Pauline and her husband Kieran were moving to Melbourne and had secured an apartment in the highly desirable Caringal Flats in Toorak, we jumped at the opportunity to chat with the couple about their recent move and renovation.
"We missed the culture and diversity that the city brings."
Welcome to Melbourne! What was the motivation behind your move from the Northern Rivers?
After living in Sydney for eight years, we sought a sea change in 2021, buying our first home in Ballina within the Northern Rivers, NSW. While we truly enjoyed the two years we spent there, living near the beach, exploring a new region, and renovating our house, over time, we missed the culture and diversity that the city brings.
During this time, I also successfully reacquired my Philippines citizenship, which inspired future plans to divide our time living between Australia and the Philippines. This new goal motivated us to downsize and shift back to city living to ease this transition.
You found an absolute gem in a sought-after location, congratulations! What was on your wishlist when you were “new home” hunting?
Kieran and I are fortunate enough to both work remotely, allowing us the freedom to house search in both Sydney and Melbourne. Long-term space wasn’t our priority, but location and character were. After a brief stay with family in Newcastle and numerous visits to both cities, a distinct coral-coloured complex in Melbourne’s Toorak caught our eye.
Our search culminated when a one-bedder, ground-floor pad in Caringal Flats became available. We were smitten by the building’s distinct and vibrant architecture, iconic sky bridges, lush grounds, and communal gardens. Especially enticing were the apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows, garden views, and curved balcony. Comparable offerings in Sydney just couldn’t match the charisma, location, and price point of this gem.
"Personally, I always gravitate towards the character of a home, which is why I felt a pull to Caringal Flats."
The apartment is looking very different from when you purchased it, where did you get the inspiration for your makeover from?
I look at and write about houses for a living, covering everything from grand estates to humble huts. Personally, I always gravitate towards the character of a home, which is why I felt a pull to Caringal Flats. It’s admirable how a complex built in the 1940s appears in better shape than most buildings built in the last ten years.
Naturally, when reimagining our place, its mid-century roots were our main source of inspiration, resulting in our retro-inspired green carpet from Supertuft, all of our custom joinery by Spaceworks Melbourne in a rich Laminex Natural Teak, and modernist-style key furniture items, such as our pink Casala dining chairs and classic marble Tulip table.
Where are your favourite spaces in the apartment and why?
Although our place is small, we weren’t prepared to sacrifice two things: a sizable, cloud-like sofa and a big, beautiful bed. As a result, our living area is anchored by the plush Float Sofa by Sarah Ellison, adorned with the Dogwood Moss Quilted Throw and Boucle Stripe Cushions from Bonnie and Neil. Retiring here after work or seeking refuge during a rainy Melbourne day is sublime.
Thanks to our large windows and surrounding trees outside, this space also puts on a gorgeous display of dappled light and shadows, casting patterns on our translucent coffee table and our Wave Mustard Speckle Side Table.
What’s your styling top tip for giving your interior a seasonal refresh?
I’m easily inspired by colours. For instance, we painted our walls a creamy Dulux White Swan when we moved in over winter to keep things warm, yet minimalistic. Then, two months later, when spring arrived, and our neighbourhood bloomed with flowering gardens, I found the sudden urge to paint our bedroom a lilac purple in Dulux Virtuous.
It took Kieran some convincing; however, he eventually agreed. Our bedroom now has this beautiful contrast of colours between our purple walls, teak cabinetry and green carpet, along with the soft textures our custom Heatherly Design Louis Bedhead in Tattie linen by Anna Spiro and Allard Ottoman by Rachel Donath.