Karl Sebire rents a two-bedroom apartment in Toorak.
His space emanates an ‘old world’ style, integrating items from his travels (including a five year stint living in the UK) and work as an academic, artist and designer. The result is a home that feels firmly established – not temporary or transitional as is often the case with renting – with pieces bound to stand the test of time.
“I think everything I try and accumulate is to be immune from changing trends…Once you see it in Kmart you know it’s on its way out," Karl says.
"When all the copper and rose gold goes and the geometric shapes go, hopefully some of these pieces I’ve got are still going to look good."
Among Karl’s favourite pieces are the Carrara marble dining table he purchased off eBay and the Noritake dinnerware set which was given as a gift and coincidentally part of the ‘Toorak’ range.
“The majority of my furniture is from eBay. I may spend a bit of time browsing furniture and interiors stores, but then I go online to find a more affordable version to get delivered. The only mistake I’ve made was buying a couch that was not as comfortable as it appeared to be,” Karl says.
“As friends and family know that I am a fan of design, the accoutrements and a few key pieces around the home are from my nearest and dearest like the wingback armchair, Jeffrey Smart print and George Jensen decanter.”
Horses are also ongoing theme in the decorating, in a nod to one of Karl’s former jobs in equestrian.
Upon moving in, Karl was delighted to discover hooks were already secured on every wall he desired for hanging art. Works on display include Jeffrey Smart and John Brack prints, vintage tourism posters, architectural drawings of St Paul’s Cathedral by Christopher Wren, and Karl’s own photographs.
The second bedroom in the apartment is set up as an office, which Karl uses regularly for completing his PhD in cognitive pedagogy (in conjunction with working full time as a head of faculty). The office walls are lined with memorabilia from places he’s worked over the years, alongside his various university diplomas. Karl has completed a Bachelor of Applied Design, Graduate Diploma of Visual Arts, Masters of Design and Masters of Education (he did the masters degrees at different institutions at the same time, which has apparently never been done before).
“Fortunately I love study,” he says.
“If I won the lotto I’d go and study at Oxford.”
Karl has called this apartment home for the past two and half years, and has no intention of moving out anytime soon. In fact, he has even enquired with the landlord about buying the property in the future.
Top rental styling tip?
A place will feel more like a home as soon as you get things on the wall. Temporary sticky hooks can do wonders.
What are your most frequently searched home-related terms online?
I am on the look out for a very specific lamp. Most pieces I acquire take a while to find, as I usually have an exact picture in my head of what I want. At the moment, I’m trying to track down a French bouillotte lamp, and they’re not easy to come by!
What are favourite places to shop for furniture and homewares?
Schots Home Emporium, West Elm or a wander down Church Street in Richmond for a browse. However right now I don’t have a single spare corner for any more furniture, so I have to stop buying armchairs!
What’s the best thing about renting?
I don’t need to worry about ongoing maintenance or the management of the overall property. If my life circumstances change, it’ll be a very straightforward move to change my location, but for now, I’m perfectly happy here.