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Inside an Australian Painter's Gloriously Cluttered 'Rabbit Hole'

Australian painter Gregory Irvine has spent the last decade decking out his Victorian house in Melbourne with all manner of collectibles, often displayed by the dozen. A tortoiseshell comb collection lines his bedroom wall, and an antique plate collection populates the kitchen. His shoe closet is home to an assortment of hairdryers, bangle bracelets are stacked like teetering skyscrapers, and his garden has a full array of cacti. The effect of the entire house, which was recently featured on The Design Files, is remarkable and singular; nothing is jumbled, but none of it looks overly put together either.

Irvine, who began his career painting sets for the Australian National Ballet, has since become known for his large and colorful paintings with expanses filled with minute details. Many of his collections later end up depicted in his elaborate canvases. "My theory is, if I can't display it I can't own it," he said in a Design Files video (below).

While he seems to have 37 of everything, "I'm not interested in hoarding." In fact, Irvine's predilections do not extend to the exterior of his 150-year-old house, which is a historic landmark and can't be altered. The party stays inside. And oh, what a party it is.

"I'm the type of person, where if I lived in ugly surroundings, I'd just curl up and die. I have to be surrounded by beautiful things—I just have to be!" Some of his most prized possessions come from India, like an antique cobalt blue mirror and green glass chandelier, both of which are centerpieces of the living room. "I am definitely house-proud. If people don't like my house, I don't like them," the artist declared. More photos, below.

Video by Paris Thomson via the Design Files

· Gregory Irvine Paintings [Artrecord.com]
· Greg Irvine [The Design Files]
· All Adventures in Interior Design posts [Curbed National]