my favourite room.

TAKE an exclusive look into some of my friends and clients ‘Favourite Room’ from stunning bedrooms, living spaces, kitchens, work environments and even hallways! You might even pick up a few ideas for your own homes. If you’d like to have your Favourite Room featured, drop me a line and invite me in!


Michael Edwards & Matthew Low

23.06.20

Matt & Michael

WHEN Michael Edwards and Matthew Low stumbled across “Redleaf”, it was as if the property chose them to be its new owners! A luxurious retreat in the historic town of Wollombi; a quiet town nestled only a short drive from the Hunter Valley wine country.

It was obvious a great deal of work lay ahead to bring the property up to its former glory, but the framework was solid and the grounds well established. Plus, the building was gorgeous and just needed some love and attention. During the long settlement (three months), Michael and Matthew used this time productively, transforming Redleaf into their dream getaway.

As it is impossible for Michael and Matthew to spend every weekend away from Sydney, they have opened up Redleaf Wollombi (which is the sister property to their first getaway Redleaf Browns Mountain in Berry) for visitors to relax, unwind and truly feel spoilt by the plush retreat.

The pair invited me into their Italianate-style villa to show me the culmination of all their hard work.

What is your favourite room in your house?

My favourite space is most definitely the living room.

Why is it your favourite room?

Matthew and Michael

Firstly, I think it’s because Matthew and I did it together. We compiled every element in here, and we had so much fun buying all the pieces that fill the room. It was an absolute joint effort. Luckily, we have very similar tastes – it certainly makes it a lot easier!

The room has a number of traditional elements and features natural materials such as stone and timber. The colour palette is quite neutral except for the pop of colour (artwork on wall), which really stands out.

We both love entertaining and this room is where all our family and friends congregate around the fireplace for great food, great laughs and great conversation. The view from the living room is pretty spectacular; the garden, the pool and the gorgeous countryside.

How does your favourite room represent who you are?

Family and friends are our focal point as is the living room. We are spoilt with the wonderful produce and organic wines from Wollombi and as we love to cook, and entertain; this room really sums up who we are. The house features six bedrooms, enough room for loads of friends and even their children.

What do you like most about your living room?

Matthew and Michael

The light! The room is bathed with stunning natural light. During winter, the view was quite bare, but as the seasons have changed, the gardens are looking lush and green and cast a different light in the room. When summer arrives, the mood will change again.

If you could invite anyone into your living, who would it be?

I’d love to have Sophia Loren as our guest. She’s fantastic and epitomises timelessness. We’d enjoy some great food and wine and then I’d want her to entertain me, could you imagine the stories?

What would you change about your favourite room?

Absolutely nothing! The whole room came together exactly as planned. It’s everything we wished for.

What advice would you give on how to create the perfect space?

Matthew and Michael

Don’t hold back — not with colours or furnishings. Put in all the time, thought and energy required to make your room reach your dream and expectations. And, do it with strength!

If you are interested in stay at ‘Redleaf’ Wollombi visit their website: www.redleafwollombi.com.au  for more details.

DOMINIC MAUNSELL & TED WICKES

05.04.20

In our last Favourite Room, we spoke to Ted Wickes who showed me around the home he shares with his partner of 20 years Dominic. This time, it’s Dom’s turn to take me into Maunsell Wickes in Paddington – the oldest running art gallery in Sydney – to reveal what he loves most about it.

The gallery is made up of three terrace houses built in 1840 for the stonemasons in Victoria Barracks. Built out of sandstock brick, the mortar is actually made from crushed seashells from nearby Sydney beaches. The gallery conveys a plethora of history as it has been operating since 1960. There are nine rooms in total in addition to the courtyard.

What is your favourite room in your gallery?

It would have to be the first rooms you walk into. I came to work here in 1985 ­– it was my first serious job. My mother, whose childhood friend Barry Stern owned the gallery, employed me and taught me the business I’m still involved in and love. These rooms were also where I met my partner Ted in 1996. It was also the place I met my best friend Elsa Moxham who has been working here since 1972!

Why is it your favourite room?

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Because of the ever-changing exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and ceramics all lit by the afternoon sun.

How does your favourite room represent who you are?

We always tell our friends and clients that the gallery is built on a sacred Aboriginal site, as it has looked after us for so long.
In addition, the paintings we put up are, in a way, our self-portraits. They represent our taste, and the people we choose to represent are those we love and respect.

What do you like most about your gallery?

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The artists, the clients and the cousins that call by. We recently had a dinner with 15 cousins and friends for dinner by candlelight with the fire blazing. Good friends, good food, good company, great vino.

If you could invite anyone into your favourite room, who would it be?

It would definitely be Barry (the founder of the gallery). He’s my Ol’ Governor. He now lives in Bangkok, but will be coming to Sydney for my 60th birthday at the end of the year.

What would you change about your favourite room?

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I’m very happy as it is. It changes every two weeks anyway with the art we hang.

What advice would you give on how to create the perfect space?

Don’t be scared of your art dealer. Do your homework.

Mickey Robertson

29.01.20

I recently visited Mickey Robertson at her property in Camden, ‘Glenmore House’, and was not surprised by the fact she found it difficult to decide on her Favourite Room – there are so many beautiful and picturesque spaces to this property and I was completely captivated by the gardens where she regularly hosts events and gardening classes. Enjoy!

What is your favourite room in your house?

Mickey Robertson 1Photo: www.theaustralian.com.au

That is SUCH an impossible question!  I love all the rooms in our house!

And the ones that aren’t in the house too… like the potting shed, and the Dairy or even the Hayshed. My favourite room is generally the one I’m in for the task I’m working at; but each at a different time of day, when the play of light is at its best. So let’s say it’s the Gallery – the long, quite narrow room that connects the original sandstone house with the wings we added.

Why is it your favourite room?

Despite being a thoroughfare, it is a point of axis, from where I can see the garden on both sides of the house. It’s bathed in both early morning as well as late afternoon’s golden light and I can also see into the rooms of the old house and through to the kitchen. It’s a quiet place to sit and tap at the computer (I wish I could say to read a book!), or to enjoy a conversation with a friend or two when the kitchen doesn’t seem appropriate (and we’re not there for the long-haul which would mean the Sitting Room!). It’s a rather grown-up and elegant space; reminiscent of a room you might find in Spain or the south of France, (though on a very small scale) with water splashing in the pond just outside the front door, and in midsummer anyway, the room that captures the wonderful perfume of some of my favourite scented plants: Burmese honeysuckle, frangipani, ginger and the beautiful Hawaiian vine, Solandra maxima.

How does your favourite room represent who you are?

Mickey Robertson 2Photo: thedesignfiles.net

It does this on many levels… not just me, but also Larry. In some ways, the pair of gilt wall sconces that belonged to his French grandmother was the instigator of the design, which is elegant, yet simple. A Georgian style sofa as you may find in a country house in Scotland (from where Larry hails), covered in a modern take of yellow damask; simple cotton curtains in a Spanish design, fresh & bright (we spent a good deal of time in Mallorca & Spain), these same colours reflected in the garden flowers just outside the window. A red-striped cotton panel from Instanbul, a still-life in the style of the Dutch Masters, a collection of family photographs. It’s a room that represents places we’ve spent time in our lives, so reflects the past, yet is very much in the present. It’s from where, on occasion, the sound of the piano wafts across the garden. It makes me think of far-flung places; people we know so well and is alive with pools of colour and light.

What do you like most about your garden?

The garden is full of life, colour, texture, perfume, minute detail as well as causing wonderful views from each window and the verandahs of the house. Each segment of the garden reflects the building to which it relates, so spills from bold, striking structure to a pretty, romantic, rustic idyll. It provides sustenance for the eye as well as the stomach, with the kitchen garden being both a joy to behold and the source of our fresh produce.

If you could invite anyone into your garden, who would it be?

Mickey Robertson 3Photo: ink361.com

I’d quite like to welcome Monty Don into my garden, so that we could talk about lots of other gardens!

What would you change about your favourite room?

Not much really! Though I would like to add external shutters to the French doors (to match all the ones on our windows). This would allow me to manipulate the light even more, as well as the heat on those intense summer days.

What advice would you give on how to create the perfect space?

Mickey Robertson 4Photo: thedesignfiles.net

Look to the outside and take into account your landscape (this is appropriate whether you’re in the city or the country). Take the style of architecture of your house/apartment into account. Dwell on where you are, in the great scheme of things. And get the bones right: set up your space before contemplating the furniture. And try to interpret who YOU are, rather than falling for the latest fad. Good interiors stand up to the test of time. And a real home is never complete…

For more information visit: www.glenmorehouse.com.au

Ted Wickes & Dominic Maunsell

29.04.19

They own the longest running art gallery in Sydney – Maunsell Wickes Gallery in Paddington – but it’s Ted Wickes and Dominic Maunsell’s colourful semi in Sydney that encloses their favourite space ­– their dining room. It’s the room that has seen many a dinner party, amazing conversation and buckets of wine flow over the last two decades. I was invited into the vibrant dining room to find out why the duo is so besotted by the space.

Ted took some time to answer my questions.

 

What is your favourite room in your house?

Ted Wickes1

Our favourite room is our dining room. It is separate to our living room, but we still spend a lot of time in both rooms.

The house was built around 1910 and there was NO dining room. So, I decided I needed to build one. It was important to keep the structural integrity. I thought the best place to build a dining room would be at the back of the semi. There was a beautiful window treatment in the existing room, so I enlarged that room and added some sandstone steps so we could easily move into the garden from the dining room. I just love those steps.

 

Why is it your favourite room?

We entertain a lot and we both love food. We probably have a dinner party once a fortnight and we can snugly fit 10 people.

It’s probably my favourite room simply because I designed it. I love the way the room leads into the garden – it’s just lovely especially with the view of a wall of camellias.

 

How does your favourite room represent who you are?

Ted Wickes2

It represents our love of entertaining. It also has a lot of art works – including a sculpture of Bacchus by Melbourne artist William Eicholtz – which is very apt as I love red wine! There are loads of windows so there’s plenty of light. I just love the chandelier – it brings out the blue from the living room (the colours we painted the house were specifically chosen by architect/interior designer George Freedman). The chandelier was made in Mysore, India, and we purchased it from Martyn Cook Antiques.

 

What do you like most about your favourite room?

Probably that it faces north. We get sunlight all year round and in winter the sun-filled room is just delightful.

 

If you could invite anyone into your favourite room, who would it be?

Ted Wickes3

Our very dear friend (Australian composer) Peter Sculthorpe died late last year. We enjoyed many dinners together here over the last 15 years. Peter would always bring beautiful bottles of red wine for me! The last time he had dinner with us here we listened to a live broadcast of his one of his works being performed in Canberra. When it finished, the conductor dialled our phone number to talk to Peter. The whole audience heard him on the phone. It was a very special moment. So, I think I’d like to have Peter back here for a meal.

 

What would you change about your favourite room?

I’d like it to be larger. Thinking back now, I probably should have built it bigger.

 

What advice would you give on how to create the perfect space?

I think the most important thing is to live in a space before renovating. Many people buy terrace houses and don’t live in it, employing an architect to gut it. I moved in and lived here for a while and could see what the house needed. Live in a space before renovating to get a feel for the home.