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A Reservoir Home Created By Family, For Family

by Mark Dylan

Almost everyone in flute teacher Elissa Robustelli’s family has played a part in creating her Reservoir, Melbourne home, which she shares with her partner Matt Sheers, manager of Natural Habitat Studios and violinist.

Elissa’s parents purchased the original home on the site in the 1990s for Elissa’s Nonna and Nonno, where they lived down the street from their extended family.

When Nonno passed away, the family decided to subdivide and build two townhouses on the block for Elissa and her brother respectively. The original house was demolished, except for the stumps and a few walls, but many materials were salvaged for the build of two almost-new residences by Elissa’s dad. 

‘I am so fortunate that my parents were in a position to financially help us with the build,’ says Elissa.

‘In the early stages of planning, I was unsure which route to go down; whether or not to set it up as an investment and rental property with simple and cheaper design choices, or to make it a forever home. I realised I may not get another opportunity to build from scratch especially with my dad being the builder, so after I made the decision of it being a forever home, I spent countless nights on Pinterest and Instagram to find what style of home I liked the most.’

Elissa’s zio (uncle) Paul, who is a carpenter, also helped with the build, and sourcing timber from the factory he worked at that was coincidentally closing down.

‘They were getting rid of all of their floor stock, so naturally we took as much as we needed,’ says Elissa. Every door in our house is a solid timber ‘front’ door that has slightly different timber panelling… Even our window sizes were determined by what floor stock was left, so there are some cute tiny windows juxtaposed with huge timber sliding doors.’

Elissa had full creative control over the home’s interiors, putting her heart and soul into their design to ensure their  longevity. Terrazzo floors were at the top of her wishlist, as well as a music room with the perfect display shelves.

‘I was very stubborn with how I wanted the shelves and doors to turn out, and didn’t take no for an answer!’ says Elissa. ‘Between my dad and the cabinet makers at Verna, it took them a few months to get it supported in the right way and tick all of my design boxes.’ 

All that amazing terrazzo is complemented by Dulux Antique White U.S.A on most of the interior walls – a warm and inviting white, balanced out by colourful sofas, unique kitchen tiles, and a wavy bedhead in the bedroom, painted in Dulux Puddle

Tying in with the ‘family’ theme is much of the furniture, including key heirlooms bought by Elissa’s parents on their Italian honeymoon in 1978. ‘They went to many furniture factories in Italy to deck out their new house, and came across the company Gallonetto. They fell in love with the Frassino (ash) timber pieces and bought a whole house worth of furniture, from the dining suite, chairs, couches, beds, bedside tables, wardrobes, shelves, and even the matching umbrella holders,’ Elissa says.

Elissa’s parents shipped the furniture back to their Melbourne home, where it’s lived ever since, until Elissa ‘begged’ them for the dining suite, bed, and red lounge. ‘Although Mum was very reluctant to part with them, Dad freely gave them knowing these pieces will live and be loved by another generation,’ she says. 

Elissa has always lived in Reservoir, and says living in a local home crafted with such care by those she loves fills her with pride. ‘I will cherish every tiny little corner of this house forever.’

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