Chalk it up … a wall of bright-blue chalkboard paint brightens the dining area, where Catherine Southwood and her daughter Tilly catch up on the morning news.
Many people work from home these days, but the Southwood family do just the opposite - they live at their workplace in Fitzroy, Melbourne. A recent search for a sizeable outlet for their homewares store, Southwood, turned up the perfect premises, with the bonus of having a three-bedroom Victorian cottage attached.
"We rented the house as well as the retail space so we could live next to the shop," says Catherine Southwood of the home she shares with her husband, Martin, and their four children - Tilly, 17, Alfie, 14, May, 12, and Ted, 10. "We love being able to pop in and out of the shop and have our kids be part of the extended shop family."
The home is a relaxed family space, filled with a mix of old furniture and newer styles that are road-tested before being offered for sale in the store. Being a rental, the only alteration undertaken by the Southwoods has been painting. "The kids painted feature walls in their rooms, and we all painted the blue chalkboard wall in the kitchen."
Many areas of the home do double duty, including the customer car park, in which a basketball hoop has been installed for the kids to use after hours. "Although being in Fitzroy, a bunch of 20-somethings once decided to have a game of basketball there at 1am!" laughs Catherine.
Photography: Armelle Habib