Today we take a tour of the amazing home and studio of artist Alessandra Rossi. Alessandra lives in a renovated home in South Fremantle, along with her husband Peiro and their two children, Leonardo (14) and Artemisia (10), plus their cat Sofia and Piggy, the guinea pig. The family home will be opened up to the public as part of Artist Open House Fremantle over the weekend of 13-15 November.
Now in its second year, Artist Open House Fremantle sees some stunning homes in the South Fremantle area opened up over one weekend. The abodes will be filled with art from local artists, and will be available for purchase. We urge you to get down to mosey through the houses. They will each be open at the same time and are situated within walking distance of one other, so guests can visit the venues at their leisure.
But first, join us for a peek inside Alessandra Rossi’s two storey home. As well as opening her house to the public over the Artist Open House Fremantle weekend, Alessandra is an accomplished artist whose work will feature in the program as well.
Details from Alessandra Rossi’s studio.
In the old part of house you’ll find two bedrooms, a guest room/playroom as well as a cosy lounge filled with books, and a bathroom too. Delve further into the house and you’ll come across a grand extension with a glorious open plan kitchen and lounge area. There’s a laundry downstairs with the master bedroom and another, not yet complete, bathroom found atop the timber stairwell. The house is a juxtaposition of the old and the new – with a mix of sleek, polished concrete, modern art, crocheted rugs and dog eared books. Painting, sculpture and more cover the house, with much of the work Alessandra’s own.
Head out the back and you’ll find Alessandra’s studio, which sits above a music/teens retreat. With the wide windows overlooking the garden, it’s a pretty inspiring place. “We recently fitted a sauna in the sunken garden for our winter resort!” Alessandra told us.
Alessandra and her family have lived in the house for 10 years now.
We bought the house in 2005 when our youngest child Mitzy [Artemisia] was eight months old, after a tip from a good friend that lives in the neighbourhood.
We went to view the house a day before it was to be open to the public and as soon as I saw it I said to myself ‘No way am I moving into this over priced hovel.’ Despite the house being ‘the worst house in the best location’ I couldn’t get past the image of the stinky carpets, outrageous curtains, an asbestos veranda, the tiniest kitchen, a “sun room” that heated up the house like an oven, a bathroom that’s best not describing and of course the only toilet was an outside toilet! No way!
Next thing I know, my husband is sharing his vision for a renovation and I am convinced – we bought the house! Of course I managed to get Piero to promise that the first thing we do is build my studio at the back – for mine and everyone else’s sanity.
From then, followed endless summer nights with new and old friends drawing our ideas for the renovation on the walls of the old kitchen. We got good tips from architects David Hartree and Johnatan Lake and visionary friends like Gilles Besson from Espace. The final design was drawn by architect Wayne Jacks and the building commenced with us as owner-builder on a two days a week and weekend basis. Friend and master carpenter Peter James joined my husband on the build.
Alessandra Rossi (left) and Cathrina Read, Founder and Director of Artist Open House Fremantle (right) share a cuppa in the open plan kitchen.
One of the main positives that came out of renovating the house themselves, was that they were able to make many decisions as they went along. “We have always conceived this house as an organic matter as opposed to a static object – able to grow and evolve as the needs of our family changes. It’s still a work in progress!” says Alessandra.
Alessandra and her family love their South Fremantle lifestyle. Since moving from Subiaco they have never looked back. “Here in South Fremantle we are surrounded by a strong community – in a matter of days of moving here we had more friends than time!” There are many other artists and musicians that live in the area and support one another. Artist Open House Fremantle really sums up how Alessandra views her community: “sharing, supporting, engaging”. We couldn’t agree more.
Find out more about Artist Open House Fremantle on their website or our event page. The houses will be open to the public over three days next month, Friday 13 November from 5-7pm, Saturday 14 November from 10am-7pm, and Sunday 15 November from 10am-4pm.