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Home Stories: Emma Macdonald

Ashley Feraude

I actually hadn’t met Emma until the moment she opened the door. Victor and I were half-way through saying ‘wait, are you sure we’re at the right place?’.

To many of you, Emma needs no introduction. After more than two decades as a journalist at the Canberra Times and various other ventures, Emma is a celebrated Canberran and a local household name, as well as being HerCanberra’s Associate Editor. I’m not easily impressed (or at least I pretend not to be), but on this occasion I was—especially by the style she projects on her Instagram account—so I was keen to get to know her better.

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Emma’s Ainslie abode is a feast for the eyes. If I had to summarise it in one word, it would be ‘romantic’. The house has been a home to Emma and her family for eight years. Emma and her husband bought it two years after it was designed by Gina Carmody of Carmody by Design and lovingly built by a developer with an eye for distinction, and a determination to mix new elements with reclaimed items, such as original doors and classic Canberra red brick.

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Upon entering, what hits you is the way in which size and space is used in creative ways throughout the architecture. There are an array of ceiling angles, irregular windows and internal balconies, which make you feel like a princess in a castle … or at least that’s how Victor described it to me. Having Emma show us around was like being in a tour of discovery, because behind every door there was an unexpected point of interest, with no two rooms alike. Whether you sought to sneak away in a nook with a book, watch TV, study, work or (in Victor’s case) ride around on your magical unicorn, there were a dozen places to choose from.

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When we got to the kitchen, Emma let me in on the secret that she can see the three main areas of the house from the kitchen, allowing her to keep an eye on the kids no matter what they are up to. And all these years, here I thought that mothers really had eyes at the back of their heads. I feel rather jibbed knowing this was just a home layout trick.

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Speaking about kids, man are they lucky …they have a superb home that gives them their own spaces, perfectly triangle-framed views of Mount Ainslie and designer furniture in their rooms. I wish more of us had this kind of designer upbringing. Why? Well, when I was at school, I tried to start a rally to get our desk chairs replaced with Fritz Hansen. It didn’t quite work out (all I really managed was to get my tie knot pulled so tightly that it took me a week to get undone). Perhaps if more children had a taste for design, I would have had more supporters.

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You would almost think that all this variation throughout the home would become overwhelming, but Emma’s style brings it all together. The mixture of lived-in furniture, eclectic home wares, and notable art by the likes of Crispin Akerman from the Eurogliders or Ginger Riley along with a perfect palette of warm colours, just make the place … romantic. Seriously, the place is brimming with wholesome emotion—so much so that it started to affect Victor and me. On the way out though the garden we spotted a lovely bench and we couldn’t resist sitting and chatting for a while. We didn’t hold hands or anything, but I did refer to him as a princess just to make him happy. 

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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here

Photos by Victor Tawagi

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Ashley Feraude

Ashley Feraude is a creative consultant, music producer and man-about-town. Under his Sound Technique agency, he provides award-winning consultancy services ranging from branding design, creative content development and event music direction for events and hospitality venues. Under the alias Magnifik, he produces award-winning original music filled with electronic soul and performs melodic DJ sets at numerous night spots, events and festivals. And if that wasn’t enough, Ashley is also the author of this insightful interior design editorial series. So is he suffering from split personality disorder and has an obsession over pointy awards? Not really...he just loves design, music and getting an insight into people’s personalities. Plus he likes being really busy. More about the Author