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In Australia, A Florist & Family Find Healing in A 1902 Home

by Kelli Kehler

After a decade spent running a florist business with multiple locations, can finally exhale a bit and focus her creativity and nimble hands on her beloved 120-year-old home. The Federation Style Heritage Listed property is located in Baulkham Hills, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, and it’s already given Amelia so much peace in the two years she’s lived there with her husband, Lindsay, and 9-year-old son, William. And now that she’s sold her business, Amelia is gladly turning her attention homeward. “I’ve just taken a sabbatical after selling the florist business I ran for 10 years,” she shares. “Lindsay is a carpenter which is very handy living in a 120-year-old home.”

“I grew up in this area, and my florist shop was just down the road,” Amelia continues. “I have always loved the community feel of the suburb I have always been a part of. Some people would hate that, but I can’t imagine moving away and losing all the deep connections I feel to people and places here. It’s familiar and it’s home.”

When the family first laid eyes on their now-home, Amelia didn’t need to walk more than a few steps to know deep in her heart that this house was right for them. “Our front door opens into a grand, wide hallway and the first time I walked through that door on the sale inspection, I instantly fell in love with it before even entering one room. I knew I wanted to live here forever.”

The single-story home (roughly 2,690 square feet) was in need of some updating when it came time for the family to move in, and Amelia and Lindsay welcomed the work. “I think because of my line of work as a florist shop owner, many of these skills were a part of my daily rhythm anyway so I just approached it as I would any other work project,” Amelia shares. “I had three stores and two of these were refit, so I had worked on five build projects before with my husband, so we knew we had a good groove working together.”

Some notable design moves the couple made involved ripping up carpet and linoleum and painting the floorboards underneath a matte black — only to realize after moving in that a matte finish shows more flaws. “…Everything sticks to matte and it looks constantly dirty, so we repainted in a glossier black after we had moved in, which was so much more challenging moving furniture around. If you look closely, you will find a few footprints and pawprints embedded in the paint,” Amelia reveals.

The family’s constant renovation work on their 1902 home came to slight halt when Amelia underwent brain surgery at the end of 2018, a result of her , a debilitating brain condition. It seems truly fitting that Amelia’s signature style embodies interest found in a neutral palette — employing texture and movement through plants and timeworn treasures — as this home is a calming, healing place apt for recovery and time spent with loved ones.

“Home is always where my family is so while I am grateful I get to experience living in a house with such special history, most of all I am thankful for my boys,” Amelia reflects. As this family will be back to their updating (and Amelia’s passion for moving around decor vignettes) in no time, please enjoy the Holland home in its current, lovely iteration. —

Photography by Amelia Holland / @

Image above: “I have always loved history and old houses and with so many new kit home developments popping up around us, I wanted something with character, history and a story to tell — and I love having the opportunity to preserve the heritage of this house for another generation,” Amelia shares. “I often wonder about who has lived in these walls during the last 120 years.”

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“A split view of our entrance way and our living room,” Amelia begins. “When I sold my florist shops I couldn’t bear to leave behind this beautiful hand painted sign some friends made so it came with me as my special memorabilia of that chapter of my career.”

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“This is one of our two living rooms,” Amelia says. “In winter you will find me here most nights flicking through these books in front of the open fire.”

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A testament to the ever-evolving nature of this house as Amelia likes to try out new configurations — above, there were benches under these floral prints. Amelia says, “My study nook. If there aren’t flowers nearby I can’t focus! The chair used to belong to a local elderly rose grower who used to sit in it all day selling flowers to passersby.”

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This room is also accustomed to a constant state of flux. Sometimes it’s the dining room and sometimes it serves as a living room. “It’s so exciting to finally be in a house that’s big enough to fit a three-meter table that fits all our family and many friends around.”

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“One of the five stunning fireplaces in this old home. I love the floral tiling around the edging. I knew I had to buy this house when I saw these fireplaces, each one different and unique,” Amelia shares.

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“If you can’t already tell I’m plant obsessed! I love the freshness [they] bring to the air and feeling the connection to nature both inside and out.”

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“I’m forever changing our rooms around to be living rooms or dining rooms or even occasionally to rent them out for studio hire,” Amelia explains. “This lounge room was the comfiest place to sit back and watch a movie, though! I put the deer head up at Christmas but decided to leave it up all year.”

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“Sometimes you will find this couch covered in little boys playing computer games on the big screen but I love it!”

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“This antique printing cabinet I found in Country Victoria but had it shipped all the way up to Sydney as I loved it so much. We’ve removed a couple of drawers at the bottom as a clever spot to put our DVD player, modem and other ugly techy things.”

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Amelia shares, “This second living room is right next to the kitchen, and I love that my son has sort of adopted it as his main room to play in as it’s close to the kitchen and I love the togetherness that brings us.”

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“These special suitcases were given to me by a friend and I’m really moved by the inscription inside one of them, which explains who it belonged to and that at 8 years old he immigrated from England to Australia by boat, on his own. I can’t even fathom that as my child is the same age! Another one of these bags gives me fond memories of my grandma’s doctors bag. They also make for great extra storage for … blankets and cushions I rotate.”

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Amelia shares, “I hunted for an antique cash register for one of my florist stores for a while but by the time I finally found one I couldn’t bear to part with it.”

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“The main bedroom. I love the original windows and doors and natural light to wake up to in here. Our first winter here it was so cold until we filled all the little gaps in the old window frames and doors. I love that it’s simple and uncluttered so I can switch off easily here.”

I feel blessed to have this space to recover in.

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“Another angle of our main bedroom,” Amelia begins. “The linen floral print is made from a photograph I took of some flowers someone gifted me at the hardest time in my life, so I feel like they have now been preserved forever.”

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Amelia and her beloved floral print, up close.

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“Our clever little cupboard to hide all those random bits and pieces you never know what to do with. For example: Christmas decorations, electrical cords you don’t know what belong to but know you better keep until you work it out, product manuals and all those bits and bobs. I thought about labeling each drawer until I realized I barely know what’s in each one and the labels would all say ‘Junk?’ ‘Junk?’,” Amelia jokes.

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The family’s dog, Ivy the Cavoodle puppy, making herself at home on the bed.

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A peek through the long and narrow main bathroom.

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“There is nothing like filling this bathroom with candles and soaking in the bathtub after a long or hard day,” Amelia shares. “The shape of it is so comfy it supports my back and head and I never want to get out; it’s usually long after my fingers have gone wrinkly before I do. We may need to purchase a stronger hot water system if I keep having big baths at the rate I do…”

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Another bedroom in the home. Amelia shares, “Sometimes I have trouble sleeping so I just do a room swap and fall asleep straight away. It’s unusual, but it works. I think maybe because this is the quietest, coziest room away from the main road we live on — it really relaxes me being in here when I need a change and extra quiet.”

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“This is my son’s room. We hacked an IKEA bed to make this little house bed for him. He just had a birthday last week and announced he now feels too old for a house bed which we are feeling a bit sad about, but haven’t had the heart to get rid of it yet.”

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“I have spent the last 10 years in my florist shop surrounded by the beauty of nature every day, so creativity of any form really energizes me. My husband Lindsay is creative in his work as a carpenter and builder also, and it has been fun combining our different creative skills on bringing this old house back to life. My nine-year-old’s creativity shines through his Lego building at this stage, although he has grown up with the deep-seeded appreciation for nature and timber so it is in his DNA and I look forward to seeing where he grows with it.”

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Amelia says, “This is the spare guest bedroom, beautified by lots of natural light but also thick linen curtains for when you want a nice sleep in a dark room.”

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“Looking into the kitchen from our living room. I love the natural light from this window. Any plant I put in this room thrives so a corner has accidentally become the sick bay area for any unhappy plants to recover before they come back to the main house.”

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“The kitchen is long and skinny as the previous owner had built it on what was an old deck as to not change the external structure of a Heritage Listed building. At first I didn’t like it but now I love it! I now love that during a dinner party we can hide a bit of mess away behind the walls.”

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“My little vase family made by ,” Amelia notes. “I think one day I want to build a long shelf and show them all off a bit more in the main living room.”

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Amelia and her son, Will, outside their 1902 Heritage Listed home.

SOURCE LIST

Exterior

Paint – Taubmans Hi Ho Silver

Interior Paint

All walls Dulux Crisp White Paint

Living Room 1

Leather lounges, cowhide rugs – Freedom
Cushions – Bonnie and Neil
Cane chairs, reindeer hides, baskets – Inartisan

Living Room 2

White Lounges – James Lane
Greenhouse – Design House Stockholm
Cowhide – Freedom
Child portrait – The Daily Hello
Lettered artwork – Blacklist Studio

Kitchen

Vase Family – Jones and Co.

Main Bathroom

Bath mats – Kmart
Towels – Adairs
Basket – vintage

Main Bedroom

Bedhead – Provincial Home Living
Plain Linen Sheets – Adairs
All floral linen artworks – Amelia Holland

Will’s Room

Children’s bed – IKEA hack
Flags – Pony Rider
Spare bedroom colored sheets, pillowcases – Sage and Claire

Dining Room

Table and chairs – Provincial Home Living
Office table – Inartisan
Typewriter – vintage
Cash register – Antique
Singer sewing table – Antique

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Comments

  • I love this home! It is so beautiful and textural while remaining neutral. I would love to know the source for the black and white floral artwork in living room 1.

    • The pressed flower looking ones? I sourced these wholesale when I still had my florist shops so unfortunately don’t have access any more and not sure who else supplied them. Thanks for loving them as much as I do! Amelia x

  • Always , always love the vibe from the aussie creatives, never pretentious or precious . As a florist I totally get that you must have flowers around as well as plants – it gets in your blood ! I sincerely hope her recovery is fast and bless her for sharing her beautiful home with us .

  • A really, really charming home. Love the Sage and Clare pillows in the second bedroom (at least I THINK they are Sage and Clare – I have been eyeing them off my self for awhile). And all the plants and floral themed artworks AND that charming vase collection.

  • Love this home and would very much like to know the source for the drapes. They all appear to be the same throughout the house.

  • The curtains and tracks are perfect
    may I ask the window furnishing source / designer ?? thanks in advance and regards Veronica

  • Hello, thank you for showing us your beautiful home. Where did you buy the gorgeous macrame curtain that hangs in the bathroom window next to the tub? It looks fabulous!

    • Hi Tracey, I had thought about making my own for a while then realized it was WAY cheaper to buy this one on Ebay! I never planned on putting it there but it was the perfect fit! x

  • Lovely home, and having had surgery for a Chiari Malformation myself, I can see that it’s an absolutely peaceful place to recover in. I hope your surgery has brought you relief, though I know how painful it can be. You’ll be glad you did it. I delight in those fireplaces! How marvelous to have so many. Best of luck in your recovery!

    • Hi Helen, Thank you so much for this beautiful comment and for saying hello as a fellow Chiari Warrior! The recovery is rough but I do feel blessed to be able to do it in such a relaxing space. Thanks again and I hope you are doing well and symptom free post surgery too. xx

  • I need to honestly ask because I have all of my plants squished in one room because our home isn’t super bright. Do your plants all do well in these locations?? Especially all of those fiddle leaf figs in corners/on nightstands. I LOVE YOUR HOUSE!

    • Hi Cori, We are lucky to have a lot of natural light in our house but I do need to move some plants around from time to time to the sunnier spots so they are often on rotation. Fiddle leafs don’t need as much direct light as some of the others so they are the ones that mostly end up in the least bright corners and seem to be happy. They probably really like the Australian weather too which helps. Thanks so much for your kind words! x

  • I need to honestly ask because I have all of my plants squished in one room because our home isn’t super bright. Do your plants all do well in these locations?? Especially all of those fiddle leaf figs in corners/on nightstands. I LOVE YOUR HOUSE!

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