A bright and happy retro-styled Sunshine Coast apartment, filled with Blythe dolls

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The offbeat occupant: Nicole, Blythe Doll customiser, homemaker and vintage collector/seller!

Other occupants: My partner Greg and our two much loved RSPCA rescue kitties Mr. Floppy and Bubble.

New wall...

Approximate square footage: 650-1000 sq. feet (30-90 square meters)

How many bedrooms? 3

Lives in: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

When did you move into this home? Only 6 weeks ago!

Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live? Although this is a new rental apartment for us, we’ve been on the Sunny Coast (about one hour’s drive north of Brisbane) for four years now. The area we live in is beautiful and quiet but has loads of amazing restaurants and a shopping mall within 10 minutes walk. Our home is on the second floor of a small block set about 200m back from the Maroochydore River and about 1km from the beach. Some of my favorite things about living here are the warm weather (love wearing shorts everyday!), the relaxed laidback lifestyle, and the awesome farmers’ markets.


What makes your home offbeat? Very few of the items in our home are new. I could count the pieces of furniture that are less than 10 years old on one hand. I love collecting unique pre-loved items with character. There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending a morning digging around at a flea market or discovering a new op-shop. I tend to favor objects dating from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s

Being a crafty person, I’m also not hesitant to take to a vintage chest or chair with a coat of paint or re-cover an old lampshade. Since I spend a lot of time at home I want our apartment to be interesting and quirky — a place reflecting my own eccentricities and style.

Through the looking glass...

What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? Because I collect (some may say hoard!) we had a LOT of stuff when we moved. The most challenging thing was figuring out how to fit everything in without creating a cluttered mess.


The blessing of having an open-plan living area can also be a curse when trying to figure out furniture placement to maximize the space. I moved things around continuously until it worked.

There's no place like home...

I wasn’t too keen on the laundry, as it sits out in the open at the end of our hallway! Originally I planned to make a curtain or screen to block it off, but once we moved in I realised that would just block all the light. My solution was simply to decorate the space as I would any other room, with pictures on the wall, nik nacs on display, and an orange rug on the floor. As long as it’s kept tidy, I walk past it now and don’t even notice the washing machine or tub!

What’s your favorite feature of your home? Our apartment has high peaked ceilings in the lounge — it’s what drew me to the space. From the outside I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The open design of the lounge/dining/kitchen area combined with the high ceiling creates a feeling of openness and space that you don’t often find in a small unit. I also love that every room has lots of windows, so there’s an abundance of natural light and airflow.

Vintage dining...

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? I’ve learned it’s essential to love where you live. We spent the last four years in a damp, dark, small unit, and moving was the best decision we could have made. It seemed like such a hassle at the time that we just kept putting it off… and putting it off. But your house is such a huge part of your life! If it’s not somewhere you look forward to coming home to each day, then it’s not the place for you. It’s incredible how much happier I feel here.

More of our new apartment...

What’s your grandest plan for the space? One of the reasons we moved was so I’d have an office/studio space all to myself. I’ve yet to finish organizing or decorating this room so that’s definitely next on the agenda. I’m trying to figure out a good storage system for all my art supplies and books, which is quite tricky because I really need this space to be well organized and I have an ever-growing collection of silly vintage toys to work around!

My room...

The other grand plan we have is to grow a vegetable garden on our balcony. I love to cook and we try to eat as organically as possible, so the idea of having our own little patch of fresh seasonal veggies is appealing. [Note: read up on container gardening tips from Offbeat Homies here! – Cat] I found fabulous retro fibreglass planters perfect for the job, so all I need to do now is figure out how to grow things!

What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? Mix it up! Don’t be afraid to collect things from different eras or styles if that’s what you like. Ikea and similar stores are fabulous for buying basic cheap items, but no one wants their home to look like a shop catalog. Buy the things you really love, that make you smile when you look at them, and I think your home will become something to be proud of. ♥

A bit of Ikea love...

Comments on A bright and happy retro-styled Sunshine Coast apartment, filled with Blythe dolls

  1. So freakin amazing! I especially love the advice about collecting from different styles and eras. I keep looking at Apartment Therapy’s small cool contest, and while some of the places are awesome, so many of them just look like Ikea threw up on them. And that’s why I love Offbeat Home! The house tours on here are so creative and just GENIUS, really.

  2. Your home brightened my evening! I love how light and colourful it is. I associate ’70 deco with brown/orange spaces without much natural day light, but your home shows it doesn’t have to be that way!

  3. I absolutely love the furniture and what they did with the apartment. I wish my home could look 1/2 of what your apartment looks like. So brilliant!

  4. I could honestly EAT the awesome here. Its fabulous! And all those Blythe dolls. Do you know how much I nearly strangled my mother when she told me she ‘had one of those weird dolls’ when she was a kid and that that was the only thing she didn’t care for meticulously and pass on to me. Oh my word – amazed. LOVE.

  5. So excited to see a fellow Aussie here on Offbeat Home!!! Your apartment looks very similar to the way my fantasy home looks in my head but alas, my hubby doesn’t share the same fabulous taste as us!

  6. Oh wow, the 60’s/70’s era is so not my style at all but I absolutely LOVE this! Having recently moved into a new house myself I’m jealous of how organised you are!

  7. Gorgeous home! I just love the colours and the brightness and neatness.
    And the picture of the cat beneath the TV made me giggle. Cats can be so silly.

  8. What a great idea with the bookcase! We have one of those for knick knacks and storage that separates a sitting room and a study, so it tends to only look “pretty” on one side… Think I may have to steal the frame idea!

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