When Barb Hyman moved into this sprawling St Kilda terrace in 2013, there was a lot of work to do! She evocatively describes this history of the property as shaped by ‘a probable mix of debauchery and neglect!’

The largest job was knocking down the lean-to attached to the back of the house, and replacing it with large steel framed glass doors, that welcome light into the home. In addition to plastering unfinished walls, and providing support to the original wooden stairs – the garden was what sold Barb on the home, and has been her biggest challenge (and reward!).

Barb explains that when she purchased the property, the garden had ‘only one tree, a fig tree, and loads and loads of hard-waste rubble in the soil.’ After spending endless weekends clearing out the space and filling tips, Barb created a l’orangerie (orange orchard) out the front, and a ‘wild Mediterranean style garden out the back’ with the assistance of brilliant local landscaper Gavin Smith.

Inside, the home is brought to life with personal touches that sit gently within the grand proportions of the space. Barb explains, ‘I am very sentimental about everything. I don’t have anything that doesn’t mean something to me.’ Our photographer and stylist found little notes and drawings from her kids, poked into a gap in the window sill or pinned to the side of an antique dresser. For Barb, the most precious objects are the books she made when the children were babies, and ‘tell the story of their growing up, with drawings, pictures and loads of quirky mementos.’

While Barb is charmingly elusive about how she ended up in this St Kilda residence (she explains ‘lets just say it wasn’t via the usual means – serendipity, lots of patience, and a story best shared over a bottle of wine’), it is clear that she is right at home. She enthuses ‘I feel eternally grateful to live here and come home to this space. The greenery, watching the garden grow and change shapes in the seasons, it’s an absolute gift!’

The effortlessly chic St Kilda home of Barb Hyman. Scarf from est Living used as affordable artwork. Kitchen storage cupboard from Izzi and Popo. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Incredible PET Lamp woven lampshades (using recycled plastic bottles!) from Safari Living. Wooden shutters from Manon bis.  Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

‘I am very sentimental about everything. I don’t have anything that doesn’t mean something to me’, tells Barb. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking through the dining room out to the garden. Lamps in distance by PET Lamp from Safari Living. Washed blue cabinet from Manon bis. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Barb’s spectacular heritage home is COVERED with thriving creeper vines. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Barb in her lush European garden, which she created with the help of local landscaper Gavin Smith. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A quiet nook. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A divine example of a historic home, with a new heart. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Couch purchased from a friend for $300, recovered in blue velvet. Slate grey couch by Paola Navone. Missoni pink rug from Spence & Lyda. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Master bedroom. A simple desk where Barb sometimes works. Bed from Weylandts. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Master bedroom. Rug purchased in Morocco. Oversized leather chair from Modern Times. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Beautiful light in the master bedroom. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Objects from Barb’s travels. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

There are two staircases in this home (!), and no internal doors! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Bed from Weylandts. Rug from Morocco. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

One of Barb’s daughter’s rooms – fun and colourful whilst elegant and restrained. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The perfect spot for curling up with a book. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

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