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The 2020 Miss Universe Australia talks identity, inclusivity, and how she made her house a home.

| By Bed Threads | Home tours

Inside the Impeccably Styled Melbourne Townhouse of Maria Thattil

The 2020 Miss Universe Australia talks identity, inclusivity, and how she made her house a home.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour writer, podcaster, content creator, and former Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil's home in Melbourne.

“Oh my God, I’m home.” Those were the words Maria Thattil uttered to herself when she first stepped foot inside her beautiful abode in Melbourne – only when she uttered them, it wasn’t her home at all.

Initially, those changes were minor – with Maria under the impression the house just needed “a bit” of TLC. What started with the intention to only renovate the bathrooms turned into a full house refurb. “I ended up changing the floors upstairs, completely redesigned, gutted and renovated both bathrooms, installed new wardrobes, created a storage cupboard, put in new patio doors downstairs, installed sheer curtains, completely redesigned, gutted and installed a new kitchen, added a new, sturdier door to the garage and made all the lights more energy efficient.” So, more like a turbo charge of TLC. “But my goodness, what a difference it all made!”, Maria says.

In stark contrast to the frenetic force of her fast-paced life, Maria’s home exudes a sense of calm and composure. “I wanted earthy, neutral tones and lots of organic shapes and textures because that made the space feel grounding and calm. I’m constantly travelling, meeting new people, working to crazy deadlines and juggling so many projects that I really need a space that is my oasis where I can retreat, relax and rejuvenate”, Maria says.

An earthy palette of Terracotta, Oatmeal and natural wood sets a tranquil tone throughout the space, with pops of colour and quirk (or “little injections of my personality,” as Maria calls them) breathing fresh life into its soft sophistication. Above the dining room, a large bright and bold artwork with a fluorescent border introduces colour into the space, while a Bed Threads x Rachel Saunders Woman Vase in Matisse Blue commands attention amongst a scattering of neutral-toned treasures on the slatted wood credenza.

You don’t see many women of colour, let alone queer ones, in powerful positions or in mainstream spheres, speaking up about what affects us.

- Maria Thattil

As for Maria’s most prized piece in her home, it’s a tie between two artworks that each hold deeper meaning for her. “First, the Henry K artwork I commissioned that hangs above my couch which was inspired by my skin. Learning to love my skin and my Indian heritage has been a lifelong journey,” she explains. This lesson was also the impetus behind throwing her hat (or should we say crown) in the Miss Universe ring in 2020. “I wanted to use the opportunity as a vehicle to champion inclusivity so that my experiences and the experiences of others like me might be changed. You don’t see many women of colour, let alone queer ones, in powerful positions or in mainstream spheres, speaking up about what affects us,” she explains.

The bedroom – “undoubtedly” her favourite room in the house – is where you’ll find Maria’s other most prized piece; a textured, sculptured nude of a woman which hangs above her bed. “It’s an ode to how I now celebrate my body, comfortability with my sexuality, and I wanted that comfortability to translate to my bedroom. A place where I am meant to rest and unwind, naturally me.”

When Maria got that feeling at the open house earlier this year, she was right. The house would become her home – and understanding the difference between the two has become essential to her aesthetic ethos. As for what makes a ‘house’ a ‘home’, “It’s in the ‘lived in’ details. Photos of your loved ones. Crinkles in your sheets and folds in the throw hanging over your couch. Quirky accents of colour and trinkets that might not make sense to someone else, but they move you. It’s ‘lived in’ details that tell a story of the person who lives and loves within its walls.” In both her writing and her home, Maria proves she’s the ultimate storyteller.

Shop Maria's edit.

For more from Maria, follow her @mariathattil

Photography by Amelia Stanwix. Styling by Beck Simon.

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