The Room Illuminated

Room 76 – Abbey Rich’s lounge, kitchen, dining room and studio (Melbourne, Australia)


“The space is a complete reflection of me, so showing it to the outside world makes me feel proud.”


Originally a photograph, this image of Abbey and her friend standing in the stairwell at RMIT, was turned into a painting by Abbey’s mother, Robyn Rich.

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Abbey’s favourite thing in the space is the couch that was handed down to her by her parents. “It was my parents’ first piece of furniture when they got a house together. When I moved out they offered it to me, so it is pretty lovely to have it in my first place too. Even with the Silly Putty stained into the cushion cover from one ill-fated day in my childhood.”

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“My work is very pictorial and I’m pretty outspoken about ethical and political issues. I’ve been drawing this little guy for years and decided to turn it into a lino cut for a series of clothing items. Here I’m just subtly commenting on gender expectations, using pink ink to print the boys’ face when customarily many think it should be blue.”


“Rugs are expensive! And grass is fun! So I decided the fake grass was the right choice.”


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“My beautiful friend Jelva made me this doll as a trade for some of my own work. She knew of my love for Frida and surprised me with it when I was working at Coles…immediately eliciting tears of appreciation and happiness.”


“I found the ‘Try This On For Size’ poster at the yearly Rotary Book Show on our family holiday, smushed in between old craft books. This gem caught my eye – it seemed hilarious and totally ridiculous! A necessary addition to my life.”



“Each week my pal Loulou and I had a habit of dressing head to toe in one colour for no particular reason other than a mutual appreciation for colour coordination.”



“I can’t remember how my love for Frida Kahlo developed, but it is a pretty important part of my life. I’m so in love with art and design and as a woman Frida Kahlo seemed like the perfect icon. Her life was hard, she used her art practice to help her cope and to make a statement, she lived an amazing life and pushed the boundaries of general expectations.”

Logo q and a finalWhat is the room and who uses it?
This is a dining room/kitchen/studio/lounge room all in one. I live by myself in a small one-bedroom unit so I have worked to make the space as functional as possible. Predominantly I use it, but my friends and family come and go frequently – sharing meals or creating artwork.

What do you do for a crust?
Until recently my main source of income was coming from my job as a customer service supervisor at Coles. But I made the decision to let that go and focus on my design work. I currently work as a freelance textile designer, studio intern for a couple of local fashion and design labels and am a full time uni student as well!

What goes in the room?
This space is much less a house than it is a studio, which as a textile designer is pretty lovely! I surround myself with artwork that is my own and also that of which I have received as part of trades with other artists and friends. There are books, art supplies, inspiration and lots of food!

Favourite piece in the room and why?
It is hard to pick really, I’m a pretty sentimental person and every item I own has a story, whether it be the furniture picked up in hard rubbish with my dad or artwork I’ve swapped with a beautiful friend. But to be quite honest, it is probably my couch. It was my parents’ first piece of furniture when they got a house together. When I moved out they offered it to me, so it is pretty lovely to have it in my first place too. Even with the silly putty stained into the cushion cover from one ill-fated day in my childhood.

Anything on your wish list that you would like to add to the space?
As a working, functional space I would love to have a huge table to work at – print lengths of fabric or construct large repeat layouts.
I am all about collaborating with other beautiful humans so my Dad and I are actually currently working on building a table together this summer, which will be a lovely addition to this space.

What do other people say when they see your room for the first time?
For about the first twenty minutes of anyone new entering this space they seem to wander around quite speechless, just soaking it all in. It is pretty lovely to watch their reaction, the space is a complete reflection of me so showing it to the outside world makes me feel proud.

Why do you love this room?
I think I love this room so much because it is mine alone! Growing up in an artistic family I was definitely allowed creative freedom in terms of decorating my room etc but this place is all mine. It is filled with things that I have collected for a life that is my own, it makes me inspired to create work and it is a place that my friends can visit whenever.

What is one lovely memory you have whilst being in the room?
I don’t have a specific lovely memory; I’ve been here for nearly a year and most days something fun will be happening. I’ll print a new piece of fabric, get an email about a new job or cook a lovely meal with friends and just hang out and chat. I feel pretty lucky to have this space; so much of my time spent here will become a fond memory.
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This entry was published on December 17, 2015 at 7:50 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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