If you type the name ‘Julia Busuttil Nishimura’ into Google — or even if you search by her Instagram handle, @juliaostro — the suggested searches and related queries provided to you will be delicious (well, they’ll sound it anyway).
Results like “julia ostro banana bread”; “julia ostro greens pie”; “julia busuttil nishimura tiramisù” are provided — alongside the all-encompassing “julia ostro recipes”. Not exactly surprising, when you’re a cook with over 100,000 followers on Instagram, and the author of two best-selling books (with a third, yet to be titled book slated for an August 2022 release).
In addition to all this delectable work — when she makes it, less so when we do — Julia Busuttil Nishimura is also a food columnist for our friends over at The Design Files. Which is why, when offered the chance to talk to her and have a peek at her gorgeous Melbourne home… well, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
In a “quite modern yet minimal” rental in Melbourne’s Fitzroy North, Julia and her husband, Norihiko (Nori) have put “a lot of emphasis” on bringing “a lot of themselves” into the space. With two young kids — both boys, Haruki (six) and Yukito (two) — access to parks was a priority.
Finding it just before Christmas in 2020, and moving in by the next month, the “roomier kitchen” was definitely a selling point (you can’t have ‘Julia Ostro recipes’ without a space for her to cook!)— as was the fact it had “beautiful open plan living.”
“I love feeling like we’re all connected. Being able to cook in the kitchen and see the boys playing in the backyard or hanging out in the lounge room is one of my favourite parts.”
The natural light helps too. In fact, Julia called it a “deal breaker”, talking about how much she loves the dappled light in the morning that streams through the sheer curtains in the lounge room. “It’s so beautiful and serene; a nice spot to charge up for the day ahead.”
This element of calm is not only “really important” to her, but has been incorporated in other elements of the home. Firstly, there’s a “little retreat upstairs” for her and her husband, where Julia can write from. “Because I work from home, it’s important that it feels really good to be in since I spend so much time there.”
There’s also a preference for “neutral tones and natural materials”, like baskets, woven linens and terracotta. “Nori is really into indoor plants which I love too, but am not so great at looking after.” Her husband’s green thumb has ended up becoming “a big part of our personal aesthetic.” Pops of colour have been introduced into the home through artwork, ceramics and linens. Think colourful linen bedding, like our Levitt collection paired with Supersoft Lyocell Linen sheets in peach nectar.
As for the boys’ spaces? “One of the biggest considerations when sourcing things is longevity and suitability with the kids,” — a consideration we at Sheridan share, and took into account when designing our Kids Collection. Julia and Nori aim for items that can “take a lot of wear and tear, and will age nicely.”
“Over the past two years, it’s been even more important to feel like our house is comforting and secure. A space where we can relax, have fun and often work.” When it comes to turning a house into a home, it’s “all the things inside” — “the small treasures, the photographs, the special times spent at home together.”
One thing Julia really treasures that’s in her home, sitting above the ceramics cabinet? A “little family portrait” she commissioned by Sanae Sugimoto that uses “traditional Japanese ink usually used for calligraphy.”
“Home for me is peaceful and a place for making memories.”