Home Life Series

Inside Pauline Morrissey's mid-century apartment in Toorak's iconic Caringal Flats

To start the year off with a bang, this week’s Home Life Series is a tour of one of Toorak’s iconic coral-coloured Caringal Flats, which freelance writer Pauline Morrissey now calls home. 

Pauline has dominated the lifestyle, design, and property space with her accomplished editorial background, curated style and exceptional interior knowledge. Her days are spent penning columns for Domain lift-out magazine, covering beautiful Australian homes and featuring brands she adores, like Kip&Co!

After recently moving to Melbourne to soak up the rich multicultural scene, Pauline and husband Kieran couldn’t resist snapping up one of Melbourne’s coolest (and most colourful!) apartments. Keep reading as we delve into Pauline's mid-century aesthetic, how she transformed her humble apartment into a big, bold personality AND the inspiration behind that purple bedroom we are swooning over!

Hi Pauline! Thank you so much for welcoming us inside your beautiful home in Toorak’s iconic Caringal Flats. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? 

I’m a proud Filipina-Australian who has the pleasure of writing about beautiful houses and locations for a living. My work includes leading various columns for Domain’s lift-out magazines, alongside creating copy and content for brands in the lifestyle, design, and property space. 

I’m married to Kieran, whom I met in high school in our hometown of Port Stephens, NSW. We were great friends and started dating a year after graduating. As a couple, we’re known to our family and friends as serial movers, having lived many places together — from several Sydney apartments over eight years, a two-year stint in London, a six-month North American road trip in an old RV we renovated, to purchasing our first house in 2021 on NSW’s North Coast. 

Earlier this year, I successfully reacquired my Philippines citizenship, inspiring future plans to split our time between Australia and the Philippines. This new goal motivated us to sell our 3-bedroom home on the coast, downsize, and shift back to city and apartment living to ease this transition. 

Shop Pauline's Edit

It’s fair to say you have quite a way with words! Did you always want to be a writer/columnist, and how did your career start? 

Looking back, I’ve always loved documenting. I’ve kept many childhood diaries and ran a personal Blogspot for years, back when that was a thing. When I first started picking up writing work, it was about saying yes to everything and anything. Then, in 2015, in my mid-20s, I joined Domain as a full-time lifestyle writer, igniting my passion for property, architecture, and design. 

Despite becoming a full-time freelancer almost seven years ago, Domain remains my main client, where I cover beautiful Australian homes and run a design column featuring brands I love, like Kip&Co.

Apart from the gorgeous coral-coloured exterior, what drew you to this late 1940s apartment complex? 

Once you look at enough apartments, they tend to all start looking the same, but this apartment at Caringal Flats stood out immediately. 

From the get-go, we were smitten with its charismatic architecture, iconic sky bridges, lush grounds, and communal gardens. We found our apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows, garden views, and curved balcony especially appealing.

I often find it comical how all these mansions in Toorak surround our one-bedder, yet we share the same perks of our neighbourhood’s wide, leafy, and quiet streets. 

We’re swooning over your choice of interiors! How would you describe your aesthetic? 

I would describe my style as mid-century inspired, with a desire to be classic, moody, and minimalist, offset by my weakness for vibrant colours.

 My more refined taste is evident in our custom joinery by Spaceworks Melbourne in a rich Laminex Natural Teak, plus some modernist-style items such as our marble Tulip table, Float Sofa by Sarah Ellison, and Rice Paper Shade Ellipse Pendants from HAY. 

On the other hand, my affection for colours is apparent with our retro-inspired green carpet from Supertuft, Casala dining chairs, which I spray painted in a bubblegum pink, and the mix-match motifs of our soft furnishings, such as Kip&Co’s Dreamy Floral Quilted Bedspread contrasting with our custom Heatherly Design Louis Bedhead in Tattie linen by Anna Spiro.

Let’s take a moment for the purple bedroom! Where, oh where, did you get this inspiration and what encouraged you to take the plunge? 

Again, our purple bedroom reflects my dual design tastes. Initially, we painted all our walls a creamy Dulux White Swan. Then, two months later, once our carpet had gone in, I suggested to Kieran that we paint our entire apartment purple, which he declined at first but later agreed to just our bedroom. I’m not inclined to say whether or not this was my bargaining tactic, to begin with! 

We chose Dulux Virtuous, a beautiful lilac tone, creating what I now call our ‘ube room’, named after a purple yam, a popular ingredient in traditional Filipino desserts.

Shop Pauline's Edit

You’ve recently moved from Sydney to Melbourne. What are you most loving about Melbourne so far? 

I took for granted how much I valued the city’s culture and diversity until I briefly went without it during our time on the coast. With that said, Melbourne’s rich multicultural scene is undoubtedly a highlight. 

Moving here has meant I’m always at most 15 minutes from a Filipino restaurant or grocery store. Earlier this year, while visiting and apartment hunting in Melbourne, we attended the Food and Wine Festival, where there was a weekend-long Filipino program. Kieran has also started attending lessons at the Philippine Language School of Victoria in Braybrook, a step towards our transnational living plan. 

We intend to enjoy this vibrant little apartment of ours for the next 2-3 years while we’re in Australia. And the fact that it comes with a whole new city and many surrounding regions to explore is just a welcomed bonus!