At home with Tara Connell
Creating a family home
Creating a family home
Anyone who has renovated their home knows it is a long and painful process, especially when you start a house like Tara’s, one in need of a whole lot of TLC. It was the view that caught the eye of Tara and her husband, Brett; situated at one of the highest points in Melba, the house looks over the Belconnen town centre. It’s a vision slowly moving towards a cityscape as it fills with apartments and offices: a small gathering of not-so-high-rises sticking out amongst the suburban bush that surrounds it.
The first five years of life in this home were akin to any kid’s dream, while trying to save for the renovations the family went wild. “[They] rode their bikes through [the dining room], they wrote on walls and I hated it,” the chortled laugh that followed made me suspect Tara may have enjoyed this time more than she let on. Tara tells me you need to live in a space for a while before you know how live in it, and it’s clear every aspect of her family’s life fits perfectly into the home. Family homes are messy, covered in toys and books and anything else you can imagine, but the mess in Tara’s home has a smooth feeling of cohesiveness. All the family memories and keepsakes are displayed like accessories.
Visiting the home of a designer is the closest thing you can do to stepping into their brain. Somehow, some way, with that magic designer touch, they create beauty and sanctuary inside their walls.
The two kids’ rooms stood out to me the most, walls and cupboards had been painted, toys and books had been put on display, and picture of a Wookie holding a surfboard tied the whole space together.
A collection of small artworks that sit above the TV are some of Tara’s favourites. ‘All you need is love’ and ‘bottoms up,’ gathered from trips to the green shed and many garage sales. A lot of Tara’s house comes from the most unusual of places, she led me down to the rumpus room where a gas heater hissed and whirred at me, “it’s pretending its real,” she told me. She found it on the side of the road and like most things in her life, product or person, she made space for it in her home
With Tara’s six siblings and Brett’s five, not to mention all their kids and partners, Tara’s home fills up quickly when there’s a family event. “We had seven birthdays last week… it was crazy.” Tara’s home may be busy, but she loves to style it and often stays up rearranging the furniture for fun, but when family comes around all the style goes out the door. Chairs and tables get squeezed around the kitchen and dining room and the lounge room gets an entirely new layout, but the one thing that changes the most is the small bookshelf in the kitchen. It acts as the family’s personal book exchange library and with a family as big as Tara’s they will surely never run out of things to read.