Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Arran Russell and Jacqui Lewis

by Shannon Grant

Arran Russell and Jacqui Lewis live in Five Ways, Paddington in Sydney, Australia. Arran is co-partner in the clothing brand Vanishing Elephant along with Huw Bennett and Felix Chan. He also partners with his wife, Jacqui, and her agency, FOLKE, working on creative and art direction. I suspect working together professionally is great practice for their other creative collaboration: furnishing and decorating their home. Arran explains that while they don’t have a deliberate style, they tend to combine their aesthetic leanings. Arran is more inclined toward minimal styling whereas Jacqui likes more “stuff.” Fortunately, they both had great things to contribute when they moved in together — Arran owned a lot of art while Jacqui had more furniture. Having lived here just over a year, it appears that together they have successfully created a lively and artistic home, well suited for their daughter, Marley, and their dog, Honey. When they aren’t working together, they are gathered around the dining room table, spending time with friends and enjoying Jacqui and Marley’s home cooking. Thank you, Arran and Jacqui, and thanks to Dominic Loneragan for the lovely photos! — Shannon

Image above: The copper chair and desk are both by Blu Dot. We discovered Blu Dot in New York and loved it so much we had the desk shipped home. Now a great guy called Brett is distributing in Australia, so we got the chair from him. The lamp is by Flos. The photo was a wedding gift from our friend, Trevor King, and the rest of the stuff is Jac’s hoarding.

Image above: This is shot from our dining room looking through to the lounge spaces. The lounge is an old Cassina Jac has had for years that we recently dyed charcoal, although it looks quite blue in this shot due to the rug. The rug is from my sister, who bought it for us in Iran as a gift when she was living there; it’s 400-year-old segments stitched together and overdyed. The coffee table is by Oishi, an Australian company, and the lamp is an original Arco that a friend had been given [when it] was in pieces. I don’t think he really knew what it was or its value, so I took it and had it polished a touch. The oil burner is from Page Three down in Melbourne.

See more of Arran and Jacqui’s Sydney home after the jump . . .

Image above: This is a mishmash of artworks — some I did when I was studying fine arts, a wedding present from our friend Anna-Wili Highfield, a photograph by Bec Parsons that was a gift and a Mark Gonzales priest sculpture. The collage graffiti piece was a tabletop I found in London when living there about 10 years ago, and the sculpture on the left is by our friend James McCreedy, as is the illustration tucked behind it.

Image above: Our dining room has on the left a photograph by Bart Celestino and a weaving by Ben Barretto, which was a wedding gift we bought for ourselves. Just out of shot is a Shaun Gladwell piece also. The chairs are Wegner chairs you can see through to our kitchen.

Image above: The lamp was given to me by mum a long time ago. I have no idea where it’s from. This little arrangement is what my wife likes to torture me with. I love the sculpture by Anna-Wili Highfield, especially as Jac was given it over seven years ago, and it was her first foray into paper sculpture animals. But the rest are just plants and vases and mini ornaments like Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers that crowd the place up!! The sideboard is by Oishi also.

Image above: Upstairs we have only two bedrooms, and we spend most of our time downstairs. Being a Paddington terrace [that’s] decades old, we’re lucky to have high ceilings, and newly laid floorboards make for a nice space also.

Image above: This is the view from the lounge area. It’s a really beautiful space, and Jac and I argue as to who gets to work from this space and who has to work from the dining table (or lounge). The windows are at the front of our house, but luckily the view in is blocked by huge trees. The succulent in the yellow pot we found on the street during a council throw out, and Jac dragged it two blocks, which I thought was crazy, but you can’t argue with the boss lady.

Image above: Jac and I each have a pretty shocking book-buying habit. Between us it’s a disaster. This is only a third of our books on these shelves, and it can get pretty messy, with little piles of books found all over the house. The photo above our bed is by Bec Parsons. We have a little deck off our bedroom, which is great too, although we don’t use it as much as we should.

Image above: A detail from before — the sculpture is by Anna-Wili Highfield, and the succulents Jac and Marley seem to snap off from neighbors’ plants and have in little glasses and vessels all around the house.

Image above: The artwork is by Bec Parsons, and the lamp is another Flos lamp. The lamp is the bigger version of the little one we have at the desk downstairs, and I’m kind of obsessed with them. My bedside table is a little Eames thing, and it has a pile of books that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

Image above: This is Honey, our little adopted dog. We got her only recently. She’s six years old, the same as our daughter, so Marley is pretty impressed with that. She came with the name. I would never call a dog Honey, and I was adverse to a small dog at first, but Jac brought her home regardless, and now I love a small dog. She’s pretty awesome and has a big dog personality anyway.

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  • LOVE the mixture of styles! It makes for a very cohesive and homey feel! Well done and congrats on the feature!!

  • I love the high ceilings, the wood floors and how well lit the space is…perfect for growing plants. What a lovely home and a even more beautiful family…Marley and Honey are sooo cute!

  • Absolutely love the Bec Parsons ocean photograph. I have searched high and low for it. Where did you buy it / find it. Please let me know as soon as you can!!

    Shari (NYC)

  • Love the pared-down aesthetic but ultimately really love your company name… where did you get it? Laura Foulke

  • Could you explain how you dyed your Cassina sofa? It looks to be upholstred, not slipcovered.
    Thanks, Holly Ellis

  • Ana-Wili Highfield’s stuff is amazing – I look at her website & wish…

  • Thanks for the lovely feedback and some answers!

    Bec Parsons can be best contacted through her agent Company 1,http://company1.com.au/portfolio/bec-parsons/fashion-1/

    FOLK means a group of like minded individuals and/or a small army. We liken it to our agency being an army of like minded creatives. The E at the end stands for Empire, empires we build for our clients, and the one that we will build for ourselves.

    The sofa we had dyed locally in Sydney, it’s got removable covers that are agonisingly hard to get on and off, and it has faded so much in the sun, we’re wondering what to do in the next twelve months. Looking like a new upholstery job is on the cards!

    Hope this helps!

  • How do you dye a couch? Seriously, I would love to dye my Cassina couch. It is the color that yours appears in the photo, and charcoal would be the goal…

  • This is suuuuuch a great house! I love how this home looks lived in and full of treasures, but not cluttered. Also love the copper chair and metallic touches.

  • Oh my god! I have a Jack Russell named Hani – (pronounced “Hah-nee”)! AND only her face is spotted just like your Honey! Mine’s named after a Korean animation character who is a lightening fast runner. What a coincidence!