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Reader Design Dilemma: Michelle's Hallway Runner

Posted Friday, January 31, 2014 in: Obsessed With

When House Nerd reader Michelle Harmer wrote to me to ask if I had a suggestion for a gorgeous floor runner for the hallway of the 108-year-old Melbourne home she and her husband recently finished renovating, I instantly thought of asking you guys.

I learned long ago that House Nerd readers are a savvy switched-on lot! So maybe you can help Michelle out.

Here’s a rundown...


A 108-year-old Federation home in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury, 7km from the city. “My husband Matt and I had always rented in the area, but could not afford to buy,” says Michelle. “We ended up buying further out… WAY further out, and hated it. So we bought the DUMPIEST house - read: original, falling down, very rough diamond! - in the area we loved. Our house is a typical Federation/Victorian style - long and narrow, block fronted with a long passageway down one side. Except where we needed a plumber or electrician we have done all the renovation work ourselves… I’m pretty sure our neighbours think we are insane (both have beautiful homes, replicas of ours - fully renovated and extended which is awesome motivation for us!) Three years and a baby later we have finished (well almost) restoring the original part of the home and I am finally allowing myself to decorate! Yippee!”


Michelle’s old Melbourne home has a traditional long passageway down one side of the house. Michelle and Matt have renovated it from its original condition . “When it came to the original part of the house, we knocked out the false lowered ceilings and restoring the old ceilings, removed several layers of carpet, vinyl, newspaper, removed wallpaper, paint and restored archways,” says Michelle.

BEFORE & AFTER: I was super-impressed by Michelle and Matt’s work. Except where they needed a plumber or electrician, they did all the work on their house themselves. “Doing it ourselves has meant we are able to buy the more expensive things, like Methven tapware, custom cabinets, quality tiles that we would have had to sacrifice if we'd had someone do it for us,” says Michelle. “It does take longer as we both work full-time, but for the end result that’s fine by me!”

PS: How gorgeous is Michelle’s bathroom? I am a bit in love with it and had to find out more. “Ahh thanks, yes our bathroom gets lots of comments!” she laughs. “We designed it, researched and sourced the pieces individually as we weren't happy with the sets of sink, vanity, benchtop available pre-made. The wood bench top was sourced from a company who go around demolishing old factories, railway yards etc, so you just go to a big warehouse full of wood and choose the bits you want. We just chose the cupboards and made bench top to fit. It's got a wax/ resin coating on it to fill but not cover the imperfections and has a slight wave in the edge, which we love. It's got a black Japan wash over it to really bring out the colour and texture of the wood.”


I've popped in a couple of photos of Michelle's place to give you a feel for Michelle and Matt's style. Michelle has been searching for the perfect floor runner that will suit the renovated house and family’s style, but with no luck. “I am searching for a hall runner that is not traditional, but not modern - I know! - and would love to hear thoughts and suggestions on where I could go for some inspiration. There are a million Persian rug companies online and a million modern rug companies but I'm after something a little different. I find it hard to describe the style we like, as we have a bit of everything and it just seems to work! The only thing we shy away from is ultra-modern - for us it feels too clinical, square and 'clean'. We like the rawness of old wood with its imperfections and our pared-back fireplace with concrete hearth. Looking forward to and so grateful for any ideas you and your readers might be able to throw my way!”

We’re eagerly welcoming your suggestions… so if you have any ideas of what kind of rug or floor runner Michelle might like to try, I would love to hear about it! Just leave a comment below.

MY SUGGESTIONS: The Andalusia Wool Dhurrie in Horizon and the Sarah Campbell Mosaic Triangles Wool Dhurrie in Wave, both $149 and from West Elm


Stuck on a room? Can’t pick the right paint colour? Have a big blank wall you don’t know what to do with? You can send in your own reader queries to maya “at” and every so often I’ll pick a couple to feature. Give me a rundown on your home, your interior or garden design dilemma and include a few photos and you might just see your space up on here! Maya x

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