An Australia home that is an exercise in sophistication

Sisters Sarah Neilsen and Alice Flynn run Penny Farthing Design House, an Australian design firm (with an online shop) where they design pieces and collaborate with artists to create art and furniture collections. We peeked into Alice’s house this spring, and now we’re getting a look into sister Sarah’s home, which is also located in Sydney, Australia. Sarah has lived in this home with her husband Paul and rescue poodle Charlie for nearly three years. The home, with its abundance of natural light (enhanced by the new French doors!) and airy space is a peaceful respite from Sydney’s City Center, which is located merely miles away. Sarah has created a home that somehow feels both sophisticated and glamorous but also is warm and relaxed. Thank you Sarah and Paul and a big thank you to big thank you to Chris Warnes for the lovely photographs. –Amy

Image above: My bedroom wallpaper is by the very clever Catherine Martin (CM) and was sourced through Porters Paints.  The thought was to create a dreamy space that was not too feminine. The roses are David Austin Roses with a bedside table that was once painted Tiffany blue, then a shell grey and now in is Dulux white on white. The light fixture is an Italian fixture by Deluce lighting.

Image above: The dining room has a David Bromley art piece that commands a certain presence within the room. The dinning table was an auction house find that cost $75. It has recently been painted and taken on a whole new look. The chairs are from Thonet Australia and surprisingly comfortable and sturdy.

Image above: My husband Paul and I both have had careers in negotiation and the floors were a 2-year negotiation as he really wanted to retain carpet for reasons of comfort and luxury.  He has graciously embraced the floors as they create a feeling of more space and more light.

See more of Sarah’s Sydney home after the jump!

Image above: The kitchen has recently been redesigned and ‘squared up’.  In its previous life the kitchen island had an oval shape that came out at an angle. The counter tops are by Quantum Quartz and Calacatta quartz with panelled cupboards in a Zeus Lunar grey matt at 50%. The backsplash is a mirror that has been made to look vintage and my favourite detail are the glass knobs which look like the top of the Chanel perfume bottle and are sourced from Mother of Pearl and Sons.

Image above: This is the view from the kitchen looking out to the new steel doors that have been painted in an almost black are lead into the dinning room.

Image above: Our bedroom has a beautiful 100% creamy white wool carpet that is seriously divine but hopelessly impractical, (who would have guessed). The paint colour is Cloudy Bay at 75% by Porters paints and changes color as the day and season changes.

Image above: Meet Henry, our best seller from Penny Farthing Design House. My sisters bought me the box brownie and candles for my birthday. They sit on a beautiful chest from India sourced from LuMu in Balmain.

Image above: This collection of beautiful things are all sitting on a handmade shell table from Oly San Fransisco purchased from Coco Republic in Sydney.

Image above: The oyster lounge from Coco Republic is 4 years old and is extremely comfortable. It is a great place to curl up for an afternoon with a good book or movie.  The African Juju hat is from Les Interieurs and the black drum is from Lu Mu in Balmain.

Image above: Zigggy and Bea is a beautiful art piece from our business Penny Farthing Design House.  The high top table is also from Oly San Fransisco with gold legs.  When it was being delivered the truck got stuck coming down one of the narrowest streets in Balmain and had to be taken past all the neighbours all anxiously waiting to get to work.  There were a lot of “wow’s” as they carried it down the street.

Image above: The photo’s are by Australia’s most famous photographer, Max Dupain.  They are from the ’50s and the image of the boy is in a series called Bankstown Boys don’t Cry.  These prints are from his personal collection and are one off’s also sold through Penny Farthing Design House. The chair was another auction find that has been partly covered in cow hide and slightly personalized by my lovely little niece Daisy.  (I know it is her because she has started to write her name – dead give away).

  1. Love the casual elegance of this home. Contrasting white w/ rustic brown is one of my favorite interior looks, and there are soooo many examples of it here. Thanks! :)

  2. Love the mirrored back splash and knobs! Gorgeous.

  3. That bedroom wallpaper is absolutely amazing!

  4. Pat says:

    I really love the mostly black and white color scheme with touches of green. So crisp!

  5. The décor is spectacular, where to start! I love the use of plants and flowers either as focal points or a touch to soften a stark corner. The wall paper in the bedroom has a soft feel to it yet denotes strength, an interesting choice for the bedroom. I love the contrast of the contemporary lighting over the antique appearance of the end table next to the bed.
    And again the contrast of a vintage mirror next tot he modern stools an counter top in the kitchen. Lovely design reflecting an interesting life and the owners who live it!

  6. chelsea says:

    Beautiful! Love the palette throughout. Well done!

  7. Veronica says:

    Pretty! They say that for good luck you should choose photographs or figures of elephants with the trunck looking upwards.

  8. Am in love with the wallpaper! I have just had a look on Catherine Martins website and there are some seriously stunning other wallpaper on there. A clever lady indeed!

  9. Beautiful Spaces! Love the animal prints….

  10. Marie says:

    Black, white, brown and green. Stunning!!

  11. The animal references everywhere, are great! It adds texture to a black & white stunner.

  12. Deborah Ellington says:

    A fabulously sophisticated, modern, comfortable home. Wonderful!

  13. c says:

    it’s “dining”, not “dinning”! other than that, beautiful home.

  14. Fiona says:

    Gorgeous home! Catherine Martin is married to the director Baz Luhrmann. They are a creative force to be reckoned with and most recently collaborated on The Great Gatsby film. She did some beautiful rugs recently too.

  15. Absolutely gorgeous! LOVE all of the elephants!!!

  16. Rachael says:

    Love the David Bromley. I’ve never seen a grey painting by him before. Which gallery did you get it from?


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.