Gillian & Jimmy

This week House Perv can confirm – good things really do come in small packages! 

It is no secret I am a huge fan of the downsize movement and our latest sneak peek into this amazing home is another reason why.  Welcome to the sweet little lakeside cabin of Gillian and Jimmy.  

Super mum Gill and her three year old son, Jimmy, moved in to their new home just a year ago and what it may lack in size, it makes up for in style. 

Like many women these days, Gill is extraordinarily multi-skilled as she juggles motherhood, renovating and radio interviews with her career as a researcher and physiotherapist at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) – and all with a beautiful big smile!  

Gill especially loves interiors and whenever she finds time to spare, will spend it reading interior blogs and visiting architectural and design workshops.  

I adore Gill’s style, which is how we found each other... the wonderful world of Instagram!

Photos: Lara Savage Designlane

You moved in a year ago and have totally made it your own.  What renovations have you done?

When we moved in, the whole interior was the same colour as the outside (it is a nice outside colour!). I’m talking architraves, skirting boards, kitchen cupboards and wardrobes - all the same shade of sagey-beige!
With my best mates, Alisha and Mitch, a heap of soaped plywood and IKEA, we changed the kitchen cabinet door fronts and bench top, put in a new sink and dishwasher and painted the rest of the cabinetry and floor boards. I re-did the lighting, added fans, replaced the curtains (now machine-washable Ikea linen!) and painted everything white.

The white-on-white had my dad convinced I was about to start admitting sick patients but I think he’s slowly come around now, though he’s not sold on the matte black bedroom ceiling (my favourite!). I work from home a bit, so turning the sunroom into an office was essential.

Your home is a little piece of ‘small living’ paradise and quite a change for you.  Really, what is it like?

We’ve had a couple of overwhelming years and our tiny place feels like a haven. I’m lucky to have work that I love, but it’s mad-busy and quite consuming.  Coming home to our simple, little space feels calming.

Almost everything has to be multipurpose and while Jimmy understands that we have to respect our home, not much is too precious when it comes to playtime. My friend Kath’s old couch, with a floor cushion + plastic tray as coffee table (or slippery slide, apparently) makes an awesome playground in the lounge/dining/everything-room. Our little table extends to seat 6-8 and then packs right away again, and the extra dining chairs have other roles elsewhere. The daybed in the office is just as useful a perch for a wine with a view, or as a cubby.

I have done a lot of gushing over minimalistic-Scandinavian-Japanese-barely-furnished-pale-hued design blogs, but as it turns out, I’m just not good at living like that. I love collecting beautiful, thoughtfully-designed and colourful things too much! I do have to keep editing and am constantly moving things around. By this I really mean that my idea of a wild Friday night is putting on the radio and rearranging the entire house just to make it feel a little different! 

My partner, Ashley, and I found the double-single bunk bed in Jimmy’s room on Gumtree and it’s perfect for sleeping his two children, Imi and Nick, when they come to stay. When we have overnight guests, they get the double with corn-cob- bedside and we kick the kids out into the lounge room and/or out to the sunroom with Lola the Labrador.

Before cabin fever sets in, we all love walking with Lola down the hill to the lake for playgrounds, coffee and milkshakes. Our friendly neighbours have a pool and my parents and brothers are down the road on the waterfront. We do actually get to enjoy lots of space!

And what we all want to know…where are your favourite places to shop Gill?  (Hand over that shopping list! 

Instagram is a dangerous place for a wannabe minimalist with collector tendencies. Here’s the shortlist;  Dowel JonesLightly, Mr Kitly, High Swan Dive, Hunting for George ,The GalerieBridget BodenhamHigh Tea with Mrs WooBasic Curate, Two Squirrels Ceramics, Clay Canoe, Yardsale, Pappa Sven,  Conroy & Co  and of course Ebay and Etsy!

lizzy hodginsToronto