Who lives here Yvonne Starr, founder of Ukitu, her husband Aaron, their daughter Goldie. Plus, a new baby on the way.
LocationSydney’s Sutherland Shire
Decor StyleModern-Mediterranean meets bohemian aesthetic
Favourite room"The living room – it oozes with my favourite neutral and warm tones, a lot of texture, sculptural pieces and raw material, and is the best place to sit back and enjoy a cuppa! I feel inspired and relaxed at the same time," says Yvonne.
Favourite pieces"My current favourites are my LRNCE lamp which I adore and my wave cane lounger I sourced second hand. They—along with a lot of other pieces I own—are so unique, and I love how they double as pieces of art as well as being practical. My followers know I’m all about that!"
When it comes to sourcing second-hand homewares, vintage enthusiast and Ukitu founder, Yvonne Starr has an exceptional eye. After running out of space in her own home, Yvonne launched her thoughtfully curated vintage furniture business, Ukitu, as a means to share her preloved passion with other interior enthusiasts.
Meaning “touched” in Basque, Ukitu sells everything from fossil stone consoles to antique ceramic urns in limited drops on Instagram. Her loyal community excitedly awaits each and every specially curated drop, which almost always sells out within seconds of her posting.
Still, if you thought her feed was envy-inducing, wait until you see her home. In an area that stands in awe of its natural surrounds, Sydney’s Sutherland Shire is overflowing with beaches, bays and national parks. It’s a dreamy backdrop to Yvonne’s two-bedroom apartment, which she has curated into a beautiful abode for her growing family.
“Being in the area we are, the apartment blocks aren’t your breathtaking beauties or retro gold mines. The one we’re in is modern and minimal. The layout is well thought out and the perfect size for raising a little family. We are so lucky too, as it comes with a huge wrap-around balcony,” says Yvonne.
The apartment with its two-bedroom, two-baths and generous living space is made all the more spacious with its high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. The hallway breaks up the living and bedrooms, giving the apartment more of a house-like feel.
“We have lived in our little home for three years. I didn’t actually see it before we bought it—my husband saw it and jumped on it. We were drawn to and ended up picking this place, for the generous floor plan.
“When we moved in we gave it a fresh lick of paint and new floors. We went for soft terrazzo floor tile in the living and kitchen space and cream carpet for the bedrooms. Being a fairly new unit block, we were lucky it didn’t need a lot of work. I’m saving all the big design ideas for our forever house.”
Set to an earthy palette of beige, tan, and natural wood, there’s a beautiful consistency and flow throughout the space. A lover of texture, Yvonne weaves spectacular second-hand cane and rattan pieces together with contemporary artwork and unique sculptural vases to create a modern-Mediterranean-meets-bohemian aesthetic. With stunning dried floral arrangements sprouting from terracotta vessels and ceramic spheres, Yvonne’s perfectly curated abode is warm, welcoming, and oozing with character.
“My thought process behind the way we’ve styled the interior is that it had to be light, non-cluttered and full of personality and design. Being an apartment, you have to work with the space you’re given, and you don’t have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the structure. So, we worked with what we had.
“We kept the walls light and dressed the floors with quality and preloved wares and furniture. I think it’s important to spend money on some pieces. Still, not everything needed to be “designer”, so we have filled in the gaps with handmade or vintage pieces,” Yvonne explains.
Handmade & Vintage Furnishings
“Uninspired by the conventional homewares and furniture on the market, I started sourcing second-hand for our own home and found that they were much more special and unique. I would continue to source and swap things around my home and then began to run out of space, hence Ukitu being born!
“I have the world’s (I’m very bias) handiest husband. Aaron has crafted a lot of pieces in our home, like our bed frame, consoles, shelving and more. I design, he creates.”
When asked which room in the apartment was her favourite, Yvonne pointed straight to the living space. It oozes neutral and warm tones, a lot of texture, sculptural pieces and raw material – a place where she feels inspired and relaxed at the same time. And unsurprisingly, it’s where you will find her most-loved finds.
“My current favourites are my LRNCE lamp which I adore and my wave cane lounger I sourced second hand. They—along with a lot of other pieces I own—are so unique, and I love how they double as pieces of art as well as being practical.”
Yvonne's Apartment Space Saving Tricks
“My main tip, especially living with a crazy toddler, is baskets, baskets, baskets! They look amazing and are the perfect and aesthetically pleasing storage solution. The layout in our apartment is very straight forward, so we were lucky when planning where all the furniture pieces and accessories would go.”
Yvonne Starr's Favourite Shire Hangouts
For breakfast and coffeeLeft Bower in Sutherland has delicious, hearty meals made with quality ingredients.
For lunchJensens in Kareela has a sophisticated yet simple menu. It’s decked out so beautifully and is located in a spot you wouldn’t expect such a jackpot of a restaurant!
For dinnerQueen Margarita of Savoy in Cronulla has authentic and the best pizza, pasta and Italian food in Sydney, hands down!
For drinksAlphabet St in Cronulla for their sour apple martini’s. Say no more!
Shop atMindful and Co. in Cronulla. I only stumbled across this gem a few months back and my gosh she has the most beautiful and unique homewares!
The one thing you loveThe Shire Farmers Market in Sutherland. It has locally grown, organic fruit and veg, freshly baked bread and pastries, fine meat and everything quintessential to a farmer’s market. Quality food and is always a plus when supporting local.
Get the Look
Shop the style: Tara Sideboards, Lounge Lovers, $1299, Catherine Hickson, Around Willandra I, Art 2 Muse, $1650.00, Rachel Saunders Woman Vase, Terracotta, Bed Threads, $300.00, Bamboo Pendant Light 60W, Royal Design.com $356.00
Being a vintage curator, Yvonne cannot go past preloved and handmade pieces. There’s something so special and unique about them. For the pieces that add that “wow” factor, her go-to’s are Tigmi Trading, Pop and Scott, Pampa,and boutique homeware stores.
“My main tip would be to stick to a palette and theme throughout your home. Continuing the same textures and colours makes the entire space feel connected and effortlessly thought-through.”
This beautiful home tour was brought to you by Bed Threads and featured in issue 7 of Sitchu Magazine titled "At Home with a Vintage Curator". You can find the Olive Bedding Set and Oatmeal Sheet Set as seen on Yvonne's bed online at Bed Threads.
Photography: Alana Landsberry/Bed Threads
Styling: Rory Carter/Bed Threads
Words: Genevieve Rosen-Biller/Bed Threads
Sub-editing & Online Adaptation: Margaret Quilter