The co-founder of one of Facebook’s most popular Australian decorating groups has a house that many of its members envy!
Melissa Barratt set up with Cheree Lawrence two years ago and it has more than 13,000 extremely enthusiastic members sharing their homes, bargains, ideas and homewares hacks, and giving each other inspiration.
Melissa has always rented and definitely sees this as no barrier to having a stylish home. Her own, which she shares with her husband and four daughters near Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast, with its muted colour scheme and always-styled look, gets hundreds of compliments each time she shares it.
“I think my style is very relaxed Hamptons coastal with a bit of French chic! I always try to make a place feel like our home as much as I can within reason of what our landlords allow! I want my girls’ rooms to feel to them as they would as if we owned our own home. As with most rentals, you cannot really change much regarding wall colour or putting in new hooks so I do try and find nice pieces of furniture.”
Like many renters, 3M removable hooks are a staple! Melissa’s biggest challenge has been working with bold feature walls in her current home which are definitely not her colour choice, particularly with her obsession with white! “Often people think I’m crazy with so many kids having white, but my lounge covers can be washed and so can most of my other furniture coverings.”
She loves a good bargain, as do many of the fellow mummas in the group, and is also an enthusiastic upcycler, making and making over many pieces with her husband. “I mix cheaper items with more expensive things. The girls’ beds, my dining table and bedroom furniture were all from Gumtree! I then painted, waxed and sealed them and styled them with a mix of cheaper and more expensive decorations and candles. I love shops like Pillowtalk and Kmart and get a lot online or after seeing it on Instagram (a woman after our own hearts!).”
The response Melissa gets from members on the Facebook group has definitely built her confidence and she has recently enrolled to study interior design, hoping to one day make a career of it. “The girls on there are great and everyone helps and encourages in positive ways. I don’t think Cheree and I ever thought the page would be so successful! It’s also helped us go down paths we probably wouldn’t have gone down. Cheree now has her blog too. So yes, the page has been great for us.”
Love a Kmart or Adairs bargain? Transforming a roadside find with chalk or spray paint? Love taking a peek at other people’s decor projects in real homes? Want a few hundred opinions on the best way to style your buffet? Perhaps you should apply to join!