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Seven homes of amazing female artists

by Sarah Oakes - 09/07/15, 12:00 AM

There's no better place to find interiors inspiration than from people who use their home both as a place for living and a space for being creative. From the Blue Mountains to Mexico City, this is how a handful of incredible female artists have lived and worked.

 

Frida Kahlo

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Frida Kahlo's bright cobalt-blue life-long family home in Mexico City is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Donated to the city by her husband Diego Rivera, her studio, bedroom and tropical garden are just as she left them when she passed away in 1954. The home is a shrine to traditional Mexican art, the highlight of which is a sculpture-filled central courtyard space around which the whole house is built.

 

Margaret Olley

Margaret Olley lived, worked and died in her oversized Paddington Terrace. An ex-hat factory with a lush garden, it bulged with artwork and artifacts collected throughout her 88 years. After Olley passed away, her lounge room (aka the infamous 'Yellow Room'' she recreated in her painting) was painstakingly moved piece-by-piece to Murwillumbah, NSW where you can visit it yourself at the Margaret Olley Art Centre.

 

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin lives in Spitalfields, East London in a slickly renovated heritage home that once belonged to a Georgian silk weaver and was built around 1726. While these digs looks pretty plush, Emin is best known for her gritty installation work My Bed, a piece she made while living in a council flat in 1998. It showed her real bed at the time "in all its embarrassing glory, with used condoms, dirty underwear and empty bottles of alcohol strewn across the crumpled stained sheets."

 

Jenny Kee

Jenny Kee resides in an old dairy farmer's cottage in the Blue Mountains. Red corrugated iron and distressed wood finishes line the interior and exterior of the house. Inside, the walls are adorned with splashes of bright colour and cushions and scarves in her signature prints. "I like to put the colour in. It's like what happens in the bush when the flowers come out. Greys provide balance to the reds. I'm a blossoming flower among my gum trees," she told Fairfax. See a full gallery of Jenny's home here.

 

Kim Gordon

Best known for being the  bassist, guitarist and vocalist of Sonic Youth, Gordon is also an established visual artist and curator, and she's exhibited her work at home and abroad. She still works from her 103-year-old Northhampton townhouse (she moved with her family when New York City became too expensive). Her home decorating style is unsurprisingly minimalist and very rock 'n' roll (aka there is not a lot of vacuuming going on here).

 

Wendy Sharpe

Wendy Sharpe's home is full of nudes. She won the Archibald Prize in 1996 for her nude self portrait, and walls in her house are adorned with joyful, voluptuous and entirely naked women. It's an eccentric space with velvet couches, plush drapes and an extraordinary arabesque doorway that leads into an "orientalist room". Sharpe lives with her partner in the Federation terrace in Sydney's Erskineville. The couple say the house reflects their extroverted and optimistic personalities. "We're both voluptuous, intense, dramatic, energised and full of character," says her husband, Bernard Ollis. Read more about Sharpe's pulant home here.

 

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe, aka the "Mother of American modernism", is best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. A big source of inspiration was the sweeping views from her home and studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico. She fought for ten years to buy the property and succeeded in 1945, after which she restored and redesigned it. Filled with large windows and minimalist interiors, it's as modern and functional today as it was back then. The property is now a National Historic Landmark and a museum dedicated to O'Keeffe's life and work.

 

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