Lisa Marie Corso spent her early 20s writing about other peoples houses, but also followed a disciplined approach to saving for her own! As a solo first home buyer, Lisa put her research skills to task – describing Domain as her ‘real estate Tinder’ – before settling on this two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, in a mid-sized development in Essendon.
Lisa’s apartment is larger than most off-the-plan offerings, and offered a cost-effective investment she knew would be ready to move into upon completion. ‘I knew I had a limited budget, and wouldn’t be able to spend anything further on renovations, so it was important to find a place that was ready-to-go and needed no immediate touch-ups,’ she explains.
The 18-month wait between signing on the dotted line and moving in also allowed Lisa ample time to amass the world’s most comprehensive ‘glory box’, scouting online for furniture, and researching Australian designers and artists for artwork and objects to adorn the walls and shelves – ensuring her first apartment would feel like home. ‘I have a rule that I will never buy or keep anything that doesn’t have a story, which is why when people come to my house for a one hour visit it turns into an eight-hour sojourn through my life,’ Lisa muses. ‘Don’t worry, I keep my guests hydrated and well fed’.
Living within a small footprint has also emphasised for Lisa the value of owning less, but prioritising quality purchases where possible. A passion for cooking (who can remember her Nonna’s famous meatball recipe!?) meant investing in a great quality dining table – she opted for a circular four-seater from local furniture brand Grazia & Co. In addition to carefully selected furniture, some of Lisa’s most treasured possessions are art and handcrafted objects by local makers and creative friends, including Alic Oehr, Jeffrey Phillips, Evi O and Esther Stewart.
Lisa’s space is an absolute reflection of her character – not a pencil out of place, perfectly styled, full of colour and a touch of the eclectic (see woven fish basket beside the bed, poodle head mug handle, etc!). It might have been purchased off the plan, but this perfect little pad really shows how personal details and thoughtful use of space can make a ‘ready-to-go’ apartment zing with personality. Especially when you have a personality as bright as Lisa’s!
Writer and screenwriter Lisa Marie Corso’s Essendon apartment is FILLED with knick-knacks – Lisa thinks of them as objects in her own little museum. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Detail of Lisa’s colourful living/dining area. ‘I call my house the ‘Essendon Retreat Day Spa’ – living twenty minutes from the city means I can properly chill out and recharge from work and socialising, while still being super close to those things,’ says Lisa. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Another of Lisa’s cabinet of curiosities! Vintage poster from The Galerie and illustration by Jeffrey Phillips and painting by Tai Snaith. Knick-knacks, including vintage Kokeshi doll, Kosta Boda glassware, Jessilla Rogers ceramics and Fornasetti. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Door decal by Jeffrey Phillips, giant pencil from Third Drawer Down, Grazia&Co dining table, and Jasper Morrison Trattoria Chairs for Magis. Artwork by Belynda Henry. The door decal is by Lisa’s dear friend Jeffrey Phillips. ‘He had drawn this woman in a small notebook and I loved her instantly. I rang him up and said, “let’s make it larger than life,” literally. It was turned into a door decal with a team effort of Jeff and my friends Annie Portelli and Alice Oehr.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Colourful kitchen details. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
‘Me with the most superfluous thing I have ever bought – a giant pencil! Necessary for a writer,’ says Lisa! Custom cabinetry by Gordon Johnson (Lucy’s husband!). Face sculpture a gift from a friend from Turkey and Emily Ferretti painting (top right) from Sophie Gannon Gallery. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Grazia & Co table, Jasper Morrison Trattoria Chair for Magis, Le Creuset cast iron pot. ‘I cook a lot. Everyone says I should meditate but my mind is like a hamster on a wheel and it just doesn’t work for me, cooking is my meditation. I make an effort to cook something pretty delicious every weeknight.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Living area. Moroccan boucherouite rug, Hay trays, Jones&Co poodle mug from Lisa’s sister and the hand-me-down coffee table is her Nonna’s from the 1960s. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
‘I’m obsessed with watching TV so needed a good couch,’ says Lisa. This one’s from Jardan. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Living area with artworks by Madeline Kidd, Esther Stewart and Emily Ferretti. Jardan couch with cushions by Marimekko, Bonnie and Neil, and Better World Arts. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Lisa’s bedroom. 1980s floating balloon light, bed from Freedom, linen by Castle and I Love Linen, blanket Gorman x St Albans, bedside table from Jardan. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
The spare room/study. IKEA PS1 desk and plywood dog by Alice Oehr. ‘I work a few days at home every week, so having a #zenden to write in is essential to my productivity,’ Lisa says, ‘Also, if you ever have a spare wall but no money to buy extra art, use some washi tape and stick up your favourite cards from your friends. Voila!’
Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.
Illustration by Evi O, a photographic fine art print from Lydia Wegner from Arc One, Alice Oehr plywood vessel and sculpture by Mark Alsweiler. Children’s book from Japan. Photo – Eve Wilson for the Design Files.