Is that a giant painting of Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls? A plush Takashi Murakami smiley face pillow? A pixelated Edna Mode from The Incredibles? Vintage iPhones trailing the door frame?
At Josh Jessup and Matt Moss’s city apartment in Melbourne you couldn’t possibly get bored. There’s so much to look at. We’re drawn to a popping Keith Haring cushion; spray paint cans neatly scaling the wall; a tactile cabinet of miniature toy cars; a cross-eyed KAWS model figure; a fully stocked candy dispenser; and a homemade grid of 54 rubber ducks.
The interior artists moved into the apartment in February 2021, and in a year they’ve clocked up 11 million likes on Tiktok, and almost 300,000 followers, for their tips on rental-safe interior design. The couple lives and works together (along with dog Louis), turning an otherwise personality-free unit into a playground of colour, Facebook Marketplace finds and a base for their business Josh and Matt Design.
“The spectrum of emotions you can feel in our apartment is one of our favourite aspects,” says the duo. “We get a lot of happiness and energy from all the colours, and feel super relaxed and cosy with all our lighting and furniture choices. Overall, we feel very safe in this space.”
Jessup and Moss tell Broadsheet the community they’ve found on Tiktok has been humbling. “We never expected to connect with so many different people from around the world with a shared passion for art, colour and maximalism. There’s another side to that coin; while you find a lot of wonderful people there are also a lot of trolls who’ll try to bring you down or discredit your achievements. We’re learning to take it all in our stride.”
The couple says they love where they live, a stone’s throw from Guildford Lane and an easy walk to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). “We can see a lot of different landmarks [from the apartment] – Melbourne Museum, the State Library, Melbourne Central’s dome, Melbourne Arts Centre, Eureka Tower, the Yarra, the MCG. We love to visit Flagstaff Gardens with Louis, it just helps us relax and unwind.”
Their top tip for transforming your own place? Ambient lighting. “We can’t stress this enough. It really lifts the spirit of the room and creates a cosy atmosphere that downlights could never achieve. We started our lamp collection by finding bargains on Facebook Marketplace and at Ikea. We’ve never looked back.”
Names: Josh Jessup and Matt Moss
Live: In an apartment turned art playground in the Melbourne CBD
With: Louis, our cockalier
What made you fall in love with the place?
We loved the floor-to-ceiling windows with curved sections that give us 180-degree views. We also loved that there was a corner room, which is now our TV room where we spend our nights.
Have you made any architectural changes?
We removed most of the doors in the apartment to help us utilise every single square metre. It’s crazy how effective removing a door can be to increase the perception of space. It allowed us to create our bedroom layout, which wouldn’t have been possible with the door in place.
How did you go about decorating it?
We broke it down into layers – such as furniture, lighting and art – and focused on the largest items. We love to anchor a room with larger neutral, earthy pieces, such as wood or marble, and then layer in colour and texture on top. Experimentation, and trying different items in different areas, is key. Modular furniture gives us the freedom to change our space depending on our needs. We also love mixing bold and pastel shades, and we decided to dive into the deep end of and embrace the full colour spectrum.
We’d say our vintage Kartell Eros dining chairs in blue lucite. This was our first-ever bold colour purchase and it really kickstarted our interior design journey. Prior to these chairs, the colour scheme we had in our apartment was white, grey and brown – so it was a dramatic shift.
Where do you get your furniture from?
Sustainability was a key factor in furnishing and decorating our apartment so we gravitate towards thrift and vintage stores. Some of our favourite stores are Sydney’s Lunatiques and Mitchell Road Antique & Design Centre, Melbourne’s Smith Street Bazaar, Retropolis and Angelucci 20th Century. Also, the internet. We’ve found a great range of Instagram curators such as Curated Spaces, My Verona, Very Nice How Much? and Didi & Dora. We’ve also scored some of our best finds on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
It would have to be the TV room. It’s in the corner of the apartment so it has more windows than walls and it feels open and airy. It has so much natural light for all our house plants – and those sweeping views of the city never get old.
What do you love about the area?
We live right across the street from Melbourne Central, so we feel like we’re in the heart of it all. Having everything at our doorstep might sound hectic, but it’s amazing how peaceful apartment living has been. It really does feel like an oasis.
See more in Broadsheet’s Home Visits series.