Elysia Zeccola Home Truths: Palace Cinemas national festivals director’s property journey

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Palace Cinemas national films director Elysia Zeccola. Picture: Jim Lee

Elysia Zeccola is the national festivals director for Palace Cinemas, which is showcasing the Italian Film Festival in Melbourne from September 19 to October 16.

Where do you live?

In Camberwell, in a Federation Queen Anne home I bought three years ago. I live there with my fiance, Pino, twins Rafael and Nikita, 7, and our cat, Javier.

What do you love most about your home?

All the period details: the ceiling roses, cornices, high ceilings, bay windows and turret. The house has a lot of character and warmth.

Have you changed anything about your home?

I recently renovated. This involved repainting, putting down parquetry flooring, knocking out a wall, opening up the living and dining room, and converting a study to an au pair’s room. It was a small job that turned into a big job.

One more thing you’d change?

Nothing. I’ve just turned it into my dream home, so I’m very happy with it.

How many homes have you ever lived in?

So many! I spent the first year of my life in a modest home in Buckley St, Noble Park, then lived in Wheelers Hill until I finished school. After that, I shared a house with uni friends in Collingwood and then moved to Brussels, in Belgium, and Rome and Bologna, in Italy, before coming back to Melbourne. I lived in Toorak, East Melbourne, South Yarra, the bayside ‘burbs and Camberwell. It has been a real adventure.

Elysia Zeccola steps out at the French Film Festival. Picture: Jim Lee

The most memorable?

Bologna. I was following my dream of learning Italian, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I left everything behind — my boyfriend, family, friends and job — to start from scratch in a new town where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language. But it was also the most rewarding and memorable experience. I learned Italian and made lifelong friends.

Your first foot on the property ladder?

When I was 26, I bought an Art Deco apartment in Albert St, East Melbourne, a 10-minute walk to the top of Collins St. It was a great time.

The highlights of your property journey?

Buying the East Melbourne apartment — just the proximity to the city and the Art Deco charm. I couldn’t go wrong.

The lowlights?

Moving further out for a bigger place that was too far from work and left me dealing with daily traffic hell for years. Living closer to work was a must after that decision.

Best property advice you’ve heard?

Location, location, location. It’s worked for me.

Any future property plans?

Buying an apartment in Paris — that’s the next dream.

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