Laid-back home of stories, treasures and warm soul

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“EVERYTHING here has a history, a soul, a story to it, and I love that,” says Nanette Louchart-Fletcher of her laid-back and welcoming Higgins home, shared with her husband Olivier and their two young daughters.

“When we got married we had nothing, and initially our ‘op-shopping’ was a financial decision, although we liked the look of that style, too,” she says.

“Nothing in our house is new – except maybe our mattresses!”

Cushions made out of retro tea-towels, blackboards in ornate frames, op-shop furniture and piles and piles of gorgeous fabric make up Nanette’s relaxed style.

“Since I was a kid I’ve collected vintage dresses, back when it was cheap!” she says. “So I suppose my home is an extension of that.”

Blogger, seamstress and floral designer, Nanette says she’d describe their look as “maximalist”.

“We both like stuff that has a narrative,” she says. “I don’t like sterile environments. I enjoy searching through op shops, or looking out for deceased estate auctions for fabric and furniture. I always have in my mind the colour of the wood of what we already have, so things will vaguely co-ordinate.”

Her best bargains, she says, are a leather Moroccan-style pouffe that she picked up for $3 from Jamison Trash and Treasure, and their record-player sideboard, which cost $100.

“It’s probably one of the more expensive items we’ve found, but it’s wonderful and was in perfect condition,” she says. “We prefer to listen to records for the sound, but we’ve linked up our iPods to it as well so we have the best of both worlds.”

Nanette says that Olivier is very good with building work, and that he worked closely with their architect on the house. “He knows instinctively where people will gather in a space,” she says. “He also likes things to be in set positions, while I move things around all the time.

“Soft furnishings are more my thing, so we work well together. His influence makes the home a little more masculine actually, which is quite nice. And his European background means he has a different sensibility in terms of art.

“We do have arguments about things like paint colours though, and he has very strong opinions!”

Nanette says she loves building things up slowly, over time. “I have an image in my mind of what I want for the house, and I’m sort of always on the look out for certain things. But it has to be exactly the right thing.

“It can take me years to find what I’m after. I’ll often walk out of a shop and think about an item I like, and if it’s still on my mind a few days later I’ll go back for it. If it’s still there it was meant to be.

“I believe in the culture of make-do and mend, of travelling lightly, and if you buy anything, make sure it’s special and that it’s to keep.”

Read Nanette’s blog at

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist.

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