Studio space … Alli McIldowie works on her current series of paintings, watched by her daughters Lucia (left) and Grace as well as Mack, the family labrador.

Finding a family home that also provides you with the perfect workspace is easier said than done, and artist Alli McIldowie knew she had found a gem when she bought her post-war cottage in Melbourne's inner-west suburb of Seddon in 2010.

"The previous owners had added a large room with floor-to-ceiling windows that I knew would make the most perfect, light-filled art studio for me," she says.

The unique interior also appealed to McIldowie, who shares her home with twin daughters, Grace and Lucia, aged eight, and Mack the labrador. "

The look is inspired by a Spanish farmhouse – with whitewashed plaster walls, exposed-timber doors, two high-walled courtyards and handmade Moorish-inspired tiles in the bathroom and kitchen."

In each of the rooms hangs an enviable collection of art, both McIldowie's own and works she has collected. And her studio now bears all the hallmarks of an artist's creative space – it is paint-splattered and filled with canvases, both finished and works in progress.

McIldowie's decorating mantra is simple: "Make your home your own style, as whatever you like will always work," she says. "That's what I did - bought it, styled it, loved it and made it my own."

Photography: Armelle Habib