Gallerist Home Spotlight: Kerry Armstrong

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A stately home gets an upgrade … inside and out.

The Sydney Morning Herald sat down with Kerry Armstrong to go behind the scenes and into her well curated stately home in Melbourne’s north-east.

Artist Kerry Armstrong and husband Michael, both directors of Studio Gallery Group, were attracted to both the grandeur and “homely energy” of their stately home in Melbourne’s north-east. ⁠

Sharing the estate with dogs Ricky and Doc, Lola the cat and five show horses, the couple focused on reshaping the equestrian facilities and the tennis court, as well as creating a home for their sizable art collection.

Kerry Armstrong walks her horse, Rambo, outside Melrose. The home was one of the locations for the 1959 film, On the Beach. CREDIT:ARMELLE HABIB

The home
Melrose, a grand Victorian home built in 1875, sits on eight hectares in Harkaway, in Melbourne’s south-east. It has an entry hall, observation tower, large formal rooms, original stables and an equine arena.

Who lives here
Artist Kerry Armstrong and her husband, Michael, both directors of Studio Gallery Group, with dogs Ricky and Doc, Lola the cat and five show horses.

What we did
“Our focus has been on upgrading the equestrian facilities and the tennis court,” says Armstrong. “Inside, we’ve hung a rotating collection of favourite artworks.”


“The house has a sense of grandeur, yet its homely energy won us over,” says Armstrong. Artworks are by Elsbeth Shaw (above fireplace) and Andy Harwood. CREDIT: ARMELLE HABIB

“I’d coveted a Gufram cactus sculpture for years and knew I’d found the perfect spot for one here in the lounge and dining rooms,” says Armstrong. CREDIT: ARMELLE HABIB


Favourite room
“The formal lounge and dining room as they are such grand spaces. We chose contemporary styles such as the ‘Togo’ lounge by Ligne Roset and a Moooi table.”

The ’hood
“Harkaway is still in Melbourne but it’s very country,” says Armstrong. “There’s a cafe in the old post office and a great Italian family restaurant in nearby Berwick.”

Future plans
“We’re working with designer Darren James to create a large kitchen and outdoor living pavilion,” says Armstrong.

Best advice
“When hanging art, pay great attention to furniture heights and proportions,” says Armstrong. “It’s easy to do it wrong, and the benefits are so obvious when done right.”


“The contemporary art set among the period features is regularly rotated – like a private gallery,” says Armstrong. The photographic work is by Serap Osman. CREDIT: ARMELLE HABIB


A work by Armstrong hangs in the main bedroom. “It’s so silent here at night, which we both really value after living on a busy Melbourne street,” she says. CREDIT: ARMELLE HABIB

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