Buvette Masthead

HerCanberra Interiors series: Gavin and Louise’s eclectic home

Rachel Marsh

Gavin and Louise Dalglish-Smith recently invited us into their home, as part of our HerCanberra Interiors series.

From the moment I walked in, I felt warmly welcomed – their eclectic mix of furniture and accessories sourced from all over the world creates a warm and inviting space that anyone would love to be in.

Gavin and Louise met 19 years ago in the snowy town of Whistler, Canada. Following a move back to Australia with a stint in Sydney, Gavin and Louise more recently chose Canberra as their base. They have lived in their Chifley home for eight years now, and from the moment they saw it, they had big plans. Louise especially was captured by the value of the north-facing aspect of the home, with its ability to envelop the house with natural light through all four seasons.


Coloured dots are a cheerful welcome to the family's home.


Fast forward to the present though, and it’s easy to see how Gavin and Louise have visual reminders of past shared experiences. Louise still speaks affectionately of the time they spent together in Canada, and points out many items they brought back with them – items which now add much to their home.  One such piece is a colourful original vintage print by Canadian artist Ted Harrison, which four-year-old Pippa is lucky enough to have hanging in her very stylish bedroom. Now I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s experience the house together.

Ted Harrison Art Work.jpg

A colourful original vintage print by Canadian artist Ted Harrison.


When you first walk through the front door you are greeted with a coat rack full of whimsical charm.  Louise and Pippa placed each coloured dot meticulously, and the feel when you enter the home is really delightful.

One of Louise’s most cherished possessions is the old Ansett passenger-jet trolley given to her by a friend that used to work for the airline.   It sits in a small alcove near the front door and offers great storage, which is always a plus when you have a family of four, as well as three week old puppy Jake, to cater for.

Ansett Trolley.JPG

One of Louise’s most cherished possessions is the old Ansett passenger-jet trolley given to her by a friend that used to work for the airline.


As you enter the living room it is hard to miss the stunning original Dousott painting which was a gift from Gavin’s parents.  The painting sits proudly above the fire place.  The bold yellow is bright and cheerful, and contrasts beautifully with the muted accessories that sit alongside it on the mantle.

Living Room.jpg

The cheerful living room.


The dining room is where Louise’s fearless decorating style really shines. Initially as you walk through the living room the dining room hides away, tucked behind a small wall.  As you walk around the corner though, you are greeted with a dining room that would capture the eye of any guest. The striking green geometric wallpaper by Anna Spiro serves as a bold back drop.  By pairing this wallpaper with the custom ceiling pendant which is covered in a quirky Manuel Canovas fabric, the whole dining room comes to life.

Dining Room.JPG

The striking green geometric wallpaper by Anna Spiro serves as a bold back drop to the dining room.


The colours from the dining room are then continued into the kitchen through the clever use of the bar stools, making it an effortless transition between the two spaces. Throughout the home Louise has continued her love of colour, and by doing this she has created a cohesive feel.

As you venture further down the hall you come across Pippa and Finn’s play room, which is marked with a fun bright green door. The colour then continues inside with a Fenton & Fenton Stag head taking prime position on the main wall.  This is definitely a room that any child or adult would love to be in.

Colourful Bar Stools.JPG

Pops of colour in the kitchen.


What really stays with me when I reflect on my visit to Louise and Gavin’s is that throughout each space, Louise has embraced her love of eclecticism and bold colour, making their home a stunning representation of how wonderful your home can look if you are brave enough to step outside the interior design box!

Get the eclectic look!

Some thoughts on creating an eclectic look, inspired by my experience at Louise and Gavin’s home:

Don’t be afraid of colour.  Colour can bring a space to life, embrace it!

Don’t feel like you need to stick with one particular style. Mix and match different eras.

Take your time when selecting furniture and accessories for your home. It can be a lengthy process, but in the end you will be much happier with the result.

Don’t feel restricted by your budget. Not everything needs to be purchased brand new.


Fenton & Fenton Stag head.JPG

A Fenton & Fenton Stag head takes prime position on the main wall in the play room.

If you have any questions, suggestions or know of a home I would love to experience firsthand, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Rachel Marsh

Originally a Wollongong girl, Rachel Marsh the interior designer behind Inspired Interiors moved to Canberra in 2013 and has now made it her home. She loves nothing more than assisting her clients in creating spaces that are warm and inviting. Always keeping in mind that each client is different and every home should be a reflection of those who live in it. Email her at [email protected] More about the Author

  • Great article Rachel, you’ve been able to capture this home in word form perfectly. What a fun space to live in! I look forward to your future articles as you take on this series x

  • Alex

    What an amazing and bold home- i love it! Louise can you come and help me with mine?

    • Jack

      OMG – please NOOOO – I am just so glad I don’t have to live in that mish-mosh where nothing even is remotely tasteful or well thought out. I am truly sorry – as everyone has differing tastes etc – but when I saw the light shade – well -someone has to say something. Truly awful!!!! Be lovely if we could view some really well thought out homes. Just being “different” does not translate into eclectic – unless it is done with taste and flair.

      • Amanda Whitley

        Oh c’mon Jack – that’s just rude! As you say, everyone has different tastes, but I’m sure we’re all capable of disagreeing with some semblance of respect.

      • Naomi

        I will preface my comment by saying that I knew Louise at school but haven’t got together since then. Jack, I find your comment perplexing. Let me explain why.

        Gavin and Louise were both generous and brave to open up their home for this article. Brave because it opens them to critiques that are sometimes just plain unfair.

        Their taste isn’t necessarily mine but I do describe theirs as eclectic. I can and do appreciate their style. There is a consistency in their choice of items, themes and I enjoy the bold use of colours used throughout their home. I do have a soft spot for deer, moose and elk and love the use of the Canadian items.

        It took me several views of the dining room picture and rereading the para to realise that fab artwork was actually the light shade. It sings of Hawaii to me. Not for my home but suits their room and style.

        These pictures are just as good as any in any decor magazine, if not more interesting because it is from a normal home in Canberra. I see a home that has adults and children living in comfort and fun, not a sterile house to look at.

        This is not a mish mosh. My sewing room is a mish mosh.

  • Sarah

    The fabric on the pendant light is actually my favourite part haha I love the contrast.

  • Loooooooooove the creativity! love, love 🙂 Thanks for letting us see into your gorgeous home xX

  • LOVE it!! Especially the wallpaper and light!
    Love the brave colour choices and quirky pieces, they make a home a truly personal space. Thank you for sharing Gavin and Louise.

  • Renee Pound

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely colourful family home. I love a good splash of colour (I have candy striped wall paper in my lounge room). A home is full of pieces from your travels, near or far, that mean something to the people living there. I really enjoy seeing “real” homes rather than the ‘uber’ staged ones in certain housey mags.

  • Jack

    I apologise if you feel that my comments were “rude” (although I do take that as a bit of a childish response) – HOWEVER, everyone is entitled to their own taste – but the comments attached appear to me as being particularly PC – my reaction was really relating to the realisation that the artwork that bore no relation to anything really was a lightshade. I can actually see that lightshade in a room were it was the focal point – not lost in clashing patterns and colours – what a shame it was just “lost” in a background of what looks like graffiti. (yep – mish-mash actually) Anyway – if you don’t want negative criticism – perhaps don’t use emotive topics. Listening to those topics discussed with Mark Parton – I should have guessed that an opposing point of view would not go down well – but good luck to you all as I withdraw from the conversation and herCanberra – clearly a place only for the chosen few!!!!

    • Amanda Whitley

      Jack, as per my previous comment – absolutely happy for people to have all kinds of opinions, as long as they’re expressed respectfully. Essentially telling someone – who has invited readers into their house – that their home is not ‘remotely tasteful’ is really not cool.

  • Jacky Sutton

    Great article! And the photos are amazing. Do you want to come and write up my home … “once tidy, now a chaotic jumble of cat-strewn cushions and socks…”

  • Jacky Sutton

    And I love the colour, the texture, the homage to Canadian light and expansiveness. Very very cool.

  • Woah, did Jack just refer to the Anna Spiro wallpaper as “what looks like Graffiti/mish mash”? Wow!!

  • Gemma

    I’m loving lots of things but especially the white coffee tables. Do they “nest” together? Can you share the supplier?

    • Louise

      Hi Gemma, thanks the nest coffee tables are from http://www.mocka.com.au, they are also an absolute bargain. I am planning on painting the legs, cheers, Louise

Focus Cosmetic Medicine Leaderboard