Textile designer Abbey Rich lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Brunswick West, Melbourne.
The delightful space is very much a reflection of Abbey’s personal style and design aesthetic, being pink, quirky and covered in textiles.
A feature of the home is the living room wall covered in framed prints by the likes of Miranda Lorikeet, Guerilla Girls, Sean Morris, Montana Kitching and Bonnie Eichelberger, hung from hooks secured with Velcro.
The pink couch is a hand-me-down from her parents (it was the first couch they purchased when moving out together), the pink filing cabinet was bought at a vintage store in Tyabb, the worktable is from IKEA and has been customised with paint, and the remaining items were found in Frankston hard rubbish.
“The pink thing is a new thing. It was definitely not deliberate, it just happened,” she says.
“I had someone say to me recently that everything I do is really pink, but it’s not overly feminine, and I thought that was just the biggest compliment.”
A colourful array of books, Pantone homewares, Frida Kahlo imagery and plants (some planted in saucepans) complete the eclectic, maximalist space.
Hands are a key source of inspiration for Abbey, and an ongoing theme of her self-titled label and home.
“The human body is so beautiful and it does so much for us,” she says.
“I have some books on operations with sketches from the 16 and 1700s with diseases and find it fascinating. I would love to study anatomy."
When visiting Abbey’s apartment in February, her entire textile and clothing label from the designing, to the screen printing, sewing and packing of orders, is taking place in the one-bedroom apartment. Since then, she’s been able to move to a studio in North Melbourne alongside her right hand lady Laura Clark who she met when interning at Obus.
Abbey creates all of the label’s prints through a process of illustration or photography and screen printing, with garment construction and product development assistance from Laura.
“We also have an army of interns helping us out on a daily basis. It is very much a team vibe over here now and I love it,” Abbey says.
These days, home is a sanctuary for Abbey away from university and her studio. She doesn’t have a television or the internet (if something is urgent, there’s always phone data), making home a space purely for relaxing and entertaining friends.
Prior to the moving into the apartment almost 18 months ago, she was living with her family and commuting from Frankston to Brunswick for university classes.
"All through high school I had this plan that I wanted to live by myself and I wanted to do everything on my own, so I worked full time as I finished high school and through to the start of university so I could afford to it now."
“I didn’t really want to travel or do anything, I just wanted a place that was mine…Somewhere that was separate from everything else.”
“Coles was good because I wouldn't talk to a single soul beforehand – I was very nervous and very shy. So many things I do now I can attribute to what I learnt there,” Abbey says.
“People are confused about why I'm so attached to a supermarket, but it did a lot for me, and I have some beautiful friends because of it.”
Abbey Rich’s latest collection ‘Tread Lightly’ was released this week, showcasing a more refined, cohesive and wearable aesthetic, and more environmentally friendly approach.
“All of what I’m doing at the moment is just playing it by ear,” she says.
“I try not to plan it too much because nothing that I’ve done in the past three years, apart from living here, has been what I planned to do.”
Top rental styling tip? Make it your own. Just because you’re technically living in someone else’s space, it is still yours! Fill it with art stuck with Washi Tape and frames hung from Velcro hooks. Collect plants and hard rubbish furniture – it needn’t cost much. Take cuttings from your friends’ plants, collect art from op-shops or make your own, and fill your home with life.
What are favourite furniture/homewares stores? Ah this is a hard one. Bricks and mortar it is definitely Mr Kitly, located on Sydney Road in Brunswick. They stock the most beautiful plants, ceramics and homewares – all the things you could ever need right? Third Drawer Down is also another favourite. I have lots of tea towels, art and ceramics from there and spend many an hour perusing their fabulous web store.
What’s the best thing about renting? For me the best part about renting right now is having a space of my own. As someone who is still in university and just 21 there is obviously no way I’d be able to buy my own place, so this for now is my home and my space without the seriousness of being a home owner. Also, the beauty of renting is that there isn’t really anything tying me down. If I wanted to move tomorrow I could, I have a permanent base but it doesn’t have to be so!