Welcome to Sweet Digs Australia, where we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious, and always unique homes of women and gender-diverse people across the country. This week, we snoop around the North Warrandyte property of jeweller Olivia Cummings, where the '70s meets European craftsmanship.
At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.
You don’t need to be told that the owner of this North Warrandyte property in Victoria is an artist, one look around the spacious place tells you everything you need to know. Residing in this mud brick home is jeweller Olivia Cummings, her partner and her 18-month-old standard poodle, Alfonso.
The outskirts of the estate are surrounded by lush green bush, with the Dandenong mountains visible to the naked eye. It’s a sleepy town, the kind where you take pride in knowing your neighbours (though you have to get used to making your own coffee). It sets her back about $1,600 in mortgage repayments a month.
Cumming’s three-bedroom, one-studio home was built in 1977 and many of its mid-century features are still intact; large windows, dark wooden beams and brick walls, floors and ceilings make the home a unique one — as does its open, L-shaped layout. One unmissable feature is found on the side of a white brick wall; there you’ll find three pressed flowers tucked behind glass. The original builder of the house placed it there as a time capsule memento of sorts — and 45 years later, it still stands.
Having lived in Europe for 13 years (and Turkey for five of those years), Cummings' appreciation for artisanal craftsmanship is conspicuous. Warm-toned furniture and textured ornaments make every room her own. Whether it’s an array of mismatched ceramics from Sicily or silver candlesticks found by a friend on the side of the road in Thornbury, each piece has a story and serves as a souvenir for different chapters of the artist’s life.
As a bit of a secondhand furniture enthusiast, Cummings prides herself on her Facebook Marketplace finds. Take, for instance, her three-piece marble coffee table and $800 rust-coloured leather couch.
These finds are complemented by her investment in forever pieces for her home. The two Australian-made velvet and hardwood armchairs in her living room were a couple thousand each, the $2,000 Italian chandelier in her bedroom is from Etsy, and the locally-made leather couch in her creative space was a gift to herself, costing a cool $10,000.
Almost every single room features a fluffy, printed Moroccan rug. It's a bright detail that instantly adds life to every floor. Because at the crux of Cummings’ home is a dedication to quirky lightheartedness and charming workmanship. Where else can you find a pink-tiled kitchen, ceramic pots fashioned as people’s heads with chilli as hair, and a glass-blown sunflower chandelier?
Nowhere else, because that’s what makes Olivia Cummings’ house a home — her home.