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 tour the earthy and retro two-bedroom apartment of sex therapist Aleks Trkulja in Bellevue Hill, Sydney.
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Bellevue Hill is an oft-overlooked area in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs — known for its opulent houses, popular beaches and polished lifestyle. But the leafy oasis is the perfect spot for sex therapist Aleks Trkulja, who says the interior of her home is inspired by the grounding force of the bushland.
Lush greens and tonal browns dominate her mid-century modern, boho apartment, which she pays $585 a week for. Peppered around her home in thrifted vases are native flowers and gumnuts — the latter of which she explains to Refinery29 Australia she is "mildly obsessed with". The result is a retro, '70s-inspired refuge, achieved by secondhand and vintage decor from op shops, Facebook marketplace or warehouses like Lunatiques in Mascot.
Trkulja's roommate is her fluffy dog Roger, who often accompanies her on trips down to the CBD — not that one, she means the "Central Bondi District" — where they like to wade around the rocks on the northern stretch of beach. When not checking out the surf, however, Roger can be found peacefully plonked on a golden modular velvet armchair fit for a king.
"I like when furniture has a story," Trkulja says, pointing to a vintage glass cigarette table embossed with delicate florals next to her couch in the living room. "I would say the sitting room is a really big part of where I relax in my home." It's an easy spot to unwind in for pet and owner alike, thanks to a giant glass window, which despite it facing a gum tree, fills the top-floor apartment with natural light.
"I found this on the street, the rug is from the street, a lot of furniture is either hand-me-downs from other people, or I found it on the street," says Trkulja, of her cream, jute and clay collection. But in the mix, you'll find a personal touch through her DIY pottery, including a book stand shaped like a clitoris.
If there is one thing Trkulja doesn't vibe with in her homemade haven, it's the light fixtures. It's on the list of things to eventually swap out, but given she's only been in the apartment for a couple of months, she's committed to making do for now.
Trkulja's bedroom is more pared down — oatmeal-coloured sheets, a houseplant on a stool in the corner, and gold-framed artwork on the wall. But it's for good reason, as she's dedicated the room to two major priorities: sleeping and having sex.
Her bedroom carpet, a blue-tinged grey, doesn't really fit in with the larger aesthetic of her home, but Trkulja acknowledges that it just comes with the territory of renting. The sentiment extends to a narrow tiled bathroom, that is balanced out by an airy kitchen (a selling point when signing the lease). "You win some, you lose some. You just have to accept some of the funky parts of the places you rent," she says.
Overall, Trkulja accepts the space for its natural beauty and offerings, weaving in her personal style where warranted, but letting the space speak for itself. The result is a cosy and welcoming space, that balances work and play, and dedicates each room its own intentional purpose.
"I think the aspect of my life that influences my home is a sense of trying to treasure slowness and pleasure and mindfulness, in a way," she says. "A home for me needs to feel like a bit of sanctuary to come into where I can kind of relax, rejuvenate, reset."
Get the look of Aleks Trkulja's home below: