Marita McCausland and family purchased their 1940’s white weatherboard house in Oakleigh four years ago. They were immediately wooed by the expansive floor to ceiling bay windows (and we can see why!), the abundance of natural light warming the house, and the sprawling backyard.
When Marita and Stuart first purchased the property, though, the home came with the original ‘charm’ of the era. ‘It was like a rabbit warren’ Marita describes, ‘you opened the kitchen cupboards and there was no bottom in them…literally the earth!’ When planning their renovations, the family designed the open-plan lounge, dining and kitchen around the bay windows as a centre piece. This area is now truly the heart of the home, as Marita describes how ‘the light filled living space is the central hub for our little family’.
A sense of warmth and cosy comfort extends through the entire house via Marita’s generous jungle of plants, and cheerful application of colour. She explains ‘my style is a very relaxed, happy vibe. I try not to get too serious about it.’ The white weatherboard sings with the addition of bold colours, textures and patterns. Marita draws upon the best of the ’70s, with her love of colour, patterns and plants. ‘I’m a 70s baby, and grew up with indoor plants everywhere’ she confirms.
Drawing on her expertise in botanical styling, Marita describes the value of adding greenery to truly transform a space. ‘Decorating and furnishing can be expensive, so I find that playing around with my indoor plants often fills and void and makes up for lack of beautiful furniture!’ (We agree with this sentiment, but honestly, this home also has SUCH beautiful furniture!).
In addition to those impressive bay windows, Marita cites the custom made Armadillo&Co rug under the dining table as an especially beloved item in their family home. The playful pink floor covering is a perfect counterpoint to the vibrant green plants, and deep indigo dining room walls. ‘I’m definitely not one for a neutral colour palette!’ Marita describes.
For Marita, home is a place for relaxation and joy – and not to be taken too seriously. ‘I just buy things I love and throw it all together, which I guess gives it a slightly eclectic feel’ she muses. In less capable hands, this ad-hoc approach could result in a slightly haphazard aesthetic – but Marita’s mastery has produced a truly beautiful family home.
Marita is keen to give a shout out to her amazing friend, stylist Amber Lenette, for coming over at the crack of dawn to help spruce her home before our team arrived!
The ‘jungly lounge room’ of Marita McCausland’s Oakleigh home. This is where most of the plants live, adjacent to big, west-facing windows that allow for lots of light. The pink chair was purchased 7 years ago for $50 on eBay and re-covered with Warwick pink velvet fabric. Kip & Co floor and couch cushions. Noguchi coffee table. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
The recently renovated kitchen, with American Oak smoked and limed floorboards from Royal Oak Floors. Hand crafted stools by Relm Furniture Melbourne. Artwork ‘Salt and Sky VI’, by Brooke Holm, purchased from Modern Times. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
The loungeroom ‘shelfie’. In the top-right is the ‘IT plant’, according to Marita, a Monstera Adansonii. Artwork ‘Sweet Peas and Studio Table’, by Elizabeth Barnett purchased from Modern Times. Kip & Co cushions and grey tassel blanket. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Established cascading plants. Left – Hoya Krimson Princess. Right – Devils Ivy. Wall colour painted in Dulux Biro Blue. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Marita and her two girls, Eve (6) and Frankie (5). Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Dining space, where plants can soak up light from the bay windows. Douglas & Bec pendant suspended over dining table. Custom-made Armadillo & Co rug. MRD dining chairs. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
‘This bath is not just for the human babies but my plant babies too! Much of my watering is done here,’ Marita tells us. Kip and Co pink towels. HK Living rustic wooden stool. Plants (left to right): Hoya (above), Indian Rope Hoya (on stool, Monstera and Rubber plants in bath. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Bay windows, where every day is started with a cuppa. Ruby Star Traders fabric and rattan chair. Kip and Co cushions. Styling – Annie Portelli. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Eve’s bedroom (featuring Tosh the Spoodle!), which is actually a converted front loungeroom with fireplace. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Entry hall. HK Living rattan bench seat with black detailing. Artwork ‘Amber Glow’ purchased from The Colour English. Plant is a Mother-In-Law’s tongue in a Toast & Honey white pot. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Master bedroom. Original Coco Flip pendant. Kip & Co bedding and chunky knit blanket. Plants are Birds of Paradise and Ficus midnight beauty tree. Artwork left to right (purchased at Modern Times): ‘She Began III’ limited edition screen print by Caroline Walls. ‘She Began IV’ limited edition screen print by Caroline Walls. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
A homemade greenhouse for Marita’s plant business, ‘Into The Wild‘. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.
Homemade kids cubby next to the greenhouse. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.