Erin Champion and Jai McTaggart rent a house with their cat Coco in the coastal town of Barwon Heads, Victoria.
This rental has only recently become the couple’s home since making the sea change from Melbourne earlier this year. Together, they own Dust Vintage Spaces – a styling and furniture business sourcing retro pieces. Erin is also a jewellery designer for her label Erin Champion Jewellery, and Jai works as a yacht technician.
The couple talked about moving from Melbourne for a long time before Erin finally made the call this year. While they are still in the city frequently for work (Jai catches the train into Melbourne every weekday), this new home base has encouraged a slower pace of life.
The main living spaces in this rental have recently been renovated but retain plenty of charm throughout. The sunroom in particular is a standout, having been quickly filled with various indoor plants. In addition to the main house, there’s also a garage, a huge backyard and a separate bungalow complete with an original ‘50s bathroom they plan to rent out as a short-term holiday house.
The only ‘new’ items in the home are some picture frames, works by up and coming artists and Erin’s sister, decorative ceramics by Sushi Ceramics (that double as jewellery displays when Erin sells at markets), and a friend’s handmade throw rug.
Most of the pieces sourced for Dust Vintage Spaces are stored in Erin and Jai’s house before being sold, meaning the styling of their home is constantly changing. The Persian rugs and orange pod lounges in the living room for example are among recent business purchases that look right at home in their space.
All items for Dust are personally sourced from around the country at garage sales, bazaars, Gumtree and deceased estate sales. The couple tend to steer clear of mid-century pieces that dominate most online sellers’ pages in favour of late ‘70s and ‘80s items. The first big trip they made was to Adelaide, which resulted in finding several original ‘80s chrome pieces made in South Australia. Right now, Erin is on the hunt for some early items from Ikea.
Erin and Jai’s long term plans aren’t set in stone, but living this rental is serving as a ‘trial period’ of sorts before possibly buying a property in the area.
“We’re in two minds – we want to be near the ocean but also want a bit of acreage, and we really want a pet pig!” Erin says.
Top rental styling tip?
Choose affordable, timeless pieces that will work in homes from many eras. You never know where you'll end up next.
What are your most frequently searched home-related terms online?
80s, Italian and lounge suites.
What are favourite furniture and homewares stores?
What’s the best thing about renting?
We seem to gravitate towards older homes built from the 40s to the 70s – they are always rich with personality from previous owners. Our current home has the most amazing, curated yard that we have dubbed the Barwon Heads botanical garden. Not to mention it’s a five-minute walk to the beach!