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Clifton Hill Home

Aug 20 2015 • Leave a comment


Today’s special home belongs to Elise Heslop, her husband, their two energetic boys and Roxy the dog. Elise is the creative founder of Plyroom, which is a unique, eco-friendly company specialising in Italian-designed and Italian-made furniture.

I first met Elise about six years ago. My husband and I were taking our dog for a walk around Clifton Hill to get ideas for our renovation. We were so impressed with Elise’s home’s transformation that we literally knocked on her door to see if she had any advice or tips about renovating. Elise was more than happy to share her knowledge, which was so helpful. We never forgot how open and friendly Elise and her husband were.

I’m chuffed many years later to be sharing their beautiful home and to give you a tiny peek at the happy souls that live here. The philosophy of living in this home is to slow down and keep it simple.

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Master bedroom. Flat Out Bed, Oh Side Table and Ball Wall Lamp all from Elise’s brainchild business, Plyroom. Bedlinen from In Bed. Sisal floor rug from Bayliss Rugs. Mustard cushions from Citta Design. Yellow vase on the mantle was Elise’s grandmother’s. ‘I love this room. My husband chose the colour (I was probably suggesting a shade of white!), but it always feels so calming’ says Elise. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Master bedroom details. Vintage sideboard from Tongue and Groove (when it was on Smith St), the framed vintage poster was a wedding present and the tribal folk woman was made by her son at kinder. The drawing of Elise’s husband, made when he was studying in Italy, was done by one of his best friends. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Hallway. Meet 13-year-old Roxy resting her weary bones. She’s a West Highland terrier, who has been in the family since she was a puppy. ‘She’s an old dame now, sleeps a lot and hides under the bed when kids come over!’ says Elise. The eldest son’s artwork hangs proudly on the wall on the far left. The artwork in the hallway was part of a huge mural that artist Belynda Henry created for the family for an event. This is a favourite piece. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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The boys’ bedroom! ‘Lots of chatting at night and reading goes on in here. They really love sharing a room. Luckily one chose the top and the other chose the bottom – we’ll see how long that lasts, but two years in they haven’t had too many arguments about it, thank goodness!’ says Elise. Dream Cloud Loft Bed with the Singilo single bed underneath both by Plyroom. Bedlinen from In Bed and the cushion is from Douglas and Hope. The framed insects were bought for the boys by their grandparents on a trip to Vietnam. They are definitely a talking point when friends come over. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Hallway details. This huge sliding door by Centor nicely conceals the laundry and second bathroom. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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The sliding door has a clever dual purpose: when moved in the other direction, it closes off the stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms, workspace and playroom area. Excellent for cutting out noise. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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The laundry. The wall hooks were found in a store near where the family lived in Italy. They were made by a woodworker in the north of the country. They have magnets in them, so they are really handy for keys and the dog lead. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Internal garden. This lovely space brings stunning light into the lounge and back living area. It looks great lit up at night. The boys’ artwork hangs on display.  Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Loungeroom. Couch from Ikea. ‘It’s the perfect family couch that we may re-cover one day.’ Elise was lucky enough to have this piano handed down from a friend. She says ‘I don’t play much anymore but I do get a bit excited before Christmas and belt out some carols!’. The family also has a budding drummer and guitarist in their sons. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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‘The boys used to love Monopoly, hours and hours have been spent playing this game. Happy to say they have moved on – Melbourne’s real-estate obsession was nothing compared to this!’ says Elise. The large artwork is a David Rankin called Summer Coast. It was a birthday present for Elise’s husband, a nice way to remember summer holidays all the time. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Stairs leading to two extra bedrooms, the play area, bathroom and home office space. 

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Hallway details. Pot from Masters. The red painting was bought from an Easter market in Avignon southeast France. Photo by Briony Skeen

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The kitchen. Elise’s favourite thing to do in the house is COOK! She loves cooking simple risotto with seasonal vegetables. Her dish of the moment is a porcini and Barolo risotto from the cookbook The Silver Spoon. The couples wine of choice would be a Pinot Grigio or Soave. ‘We normally go to Mum and Dad’s on the weekend for Sunday pasta’ says Elise.Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Kitchen details. The green kettle is Noda Horo from Cibi. The plant is a hoya. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Living space. Elise looks out into the garden, which comprises of olive trees and a cute veggie patch. ‘The boys love chess, so it’s great to have the chess board out all the time. My mum bought it for the boys for Christmas and they really cherish it’, says Elise. Floor rug from Missoni, couch from Living Edge, poster artwork picked up from travels where the family used to ski. ‘We love entertaining. We’re currently saving up for an outdoor setting from Tait Furniture’, says Elise. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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The cream Hans Wagner plank chair sits alongside a $5 op-shop chair that Elise recovered. The lamp was bought in Italy. The poster artwork was picked up on travels. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Dining room. The poster is from a festival the family went to while living overseas called the Foire de Saint Ours. It’s an annual Winter festival with food from the region, celebrating local artisans and their incredible woodwork. The gorgeous handcrafted light above the table is Plyroom’s Orion Pendant. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Upstairs. Window seating with built-in drawers for storage. The boys love playing football on their games table up here. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Home office. Elise is hard at work… Ahem…that’s kind of an understatement. Elise’s passion and work ethic is outstanding! She’s one out of the box. Plyroom’s new studio is located in East Brunswick – go and say hi. Photo by Briony Skeen

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Bedroom details. Red chalk paint makes a bold statement. Storage box/seat by Plyroom.

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Guest room. Crochet blanket by Elise’s Nonna, artwork by Belynda Henry, pillow cases by Kip and Co., Ball Wall Lamp in blue by Plyroom. Photo by Briony Skeen.

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Facade. The family enjoys cyclying and keeping fit. ‘When the weather is good we love riding along Merri Creek or riding into the city along the Capital City Trail. Sometimes we take the soccer ball down to Quarries Park’, says Elise. 


The family bought this stunning Edwardian in 2003. They were living in a single-fronter in North Fitzroy and thinking about making a move into more of a ‘long term’ house. They loved North Fitzroy and didn’t want to move far. Clifton Hill seemed like a little village that was still close to their old neighbourhood. They had just started looking, not very seriously, when they found this place. They walked into the house and looked at eachother. It was definitely not the right timing, a few months before they were to get married, but they actually fell in love with it straight away.

They added a second storey and updated the kitchen, laundry and outdoor area in 2009, which took about seven months. They are really happy with  the result – yes, there are a few things they would do differently, but nothing major.

Elise and her husband have an affinity with Italy and wanted to share their Italian heritage with their children. They decided that this was a priority for them, so they worked to make it happen in 2012, when they spent a year living in the country. Elise said ‘I think we have a better appreciation for spending time together as a family, and for simple things. We try to be less focussed on the ‘getting somewhere’, or the ‘what’s next’, and try to keep in check what’s happening right now. The key word is “try”.’

When asked to describe the style of her home, Elise answers by saying that she used to like a lot of black, white, grey and texture, and still does, however after the year in Italy she started appreciating more colour. It was the family’s magical time in Italy that actually inspired the creation of Plyroom. Elise was taken by the creative use of small spaces in European homes.

Elise and her husband were definitely a team when designing the house. ‘He has a different way of seeing things than I do – he is extremely pragmatic but also surprises me with left-of-centre ideas, which are always colourful and exciting!’ says Elise.

The couple’s favourite room is the back living space, especially in winter when the fire is roaring. They love watching the boys play chess here. Elise likes just chilling out and streaming random French radio stations. She also enjoys checking out her favourite design blogs, which include Yellowtrace, journal-du-design and Moda Familia.


Elise loves that Clifton Hill feels like a village and that it’s so close to the city. ‘You can walk down the street and have a chat with neighbours.’ The family’s favourite park is Edinburgh Gardens, as there are always good things going on there.



1 Comment

  1. Susan August 21, 2015 Reply

    Lovely as ever. That bunk bed is so cool!

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