Interiorssneak peeks

A Sydney Apartment is the Perfect Stage for Beloved Collections

by Amy Azzarito

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These days, most of us can claim to be busy, but Sydney resident Alex Zabotto-Bentley elevates “busy” to an art form. After years of working in fashion and editorial, he took a calculated leap and opened his own creative agency where he heads a team who plans and creates some of Australia’s biggest events, like the recent Swarovski Paris. He also created a full pop-up restaurant, started a new blog to document his love of shoes, and spent a month traveling through Argentina and Brazil, where he combed through antique shops around San Telmo in Buenos Aires for the perfect treasures to bring home (He came away with a beautiful Portuguese timber-carved saint with a golden crown and halo.). So when Alex finally has time to catch his breath, his home is a respite from all the parties and events he crafts for work. Even though he’s a collector of treasures found all over the world, keeping the overall palette subdued and grouping vignettes in color themes leaves the apartment feeling like a relaxed gentleman’s retreat. –Amy

Photography by Carlotta Moye

Image above: “This is an incredible 1950s egg shell bamboo Italianate credenza in my living room,” Alex says. “The large-scale original Owl artwork is by Joshua Yeldham. It looks divine hanging over the decadent flowers by the master Sean Cook. Under the dome is a cityscape of New York City made via a collection of old architectural buildings collected over time.”

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Image above: “I love anchoring my living room with big, defined masculine pieces, like this pair of exquisite mid-70s timber and brass inlaid chairs that I found on my travels. I recovered the cushions in French velvet and mixed the chairs with a refined bronze side table and lamps from Jason Mowen. The Beni Ouarain Moroccan rug is from Becker Minty. And Spanish ceramic bull from Ken Neale’s 20th Century Modern.”

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See more of Alex’s Australian apartment after the jump!

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Image above: “The incredible 1950s slate stacked wall is the feature of this entrance hallway. This is a very Cary-Grant-at-home-in-Hollywood look. It is grand and it always appears golden in colour. I have collected Keith Haring work for many years since I met him in the 80s and this original signed Keith Haring Pop Shop piece is very special to me. I had the French salon chair covered in slubby linen canvas from South Pacific Fabrics. The ALV cushion by Shilo Engelbrecht is from the incredible Australian interior/fashion incubator The Design Residency. A handwoven Moroccan Beni Ouarain rug and a French carrara marble top antique bistro table complete the space.

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Image above: “It is almost impossible to find a large, straight wall in this apartment and where there is one, you can bet that I fill it with art. A long inset wall in the living room is the perfect fit for the super-large new work ‘Breathe,’ an oil painting by Aaron Kinnane 2014. Again, everything is same-hued. A one-off netball painted by the fantastic Australian (now in New York) artist Anthony Lister rests on a late 19th century French leather upholstered salon chair.”

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Image above: “My apartment is literally a series of vignettes/clusters on top of really special pieces of furniture. This vignette on a French chest of drawers in the dining room features a Scott Petri oxidized oil, wax and copper pigment painting along with a cluster of collections from around the globe in beautifully harmonizing hues – Argentine bronze altar cross, barnacles from Indonesia, leather-bound books from the set of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and even vintage Wedgwood. The orange sculpture on the wall is Dion Horstmans.”

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Image above: “A color-coded happy cluster of objects in the dining room. I love collecting busts, Wedgwood and marble objects. Those almost non-colours that look more like stains look so beautiful when partnered with rich linen books with their dust jackets removed. It is all about stacks and height ratio. I love the forever changing dynamic when a new piece arrives.”

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Image above: Just a few of the things that inhabit my armoire. An incredible brass and bronze cross statue under Victorian Dome (found here), a Robert Doble oil, automotive and gloss paint on canvas ‘Gravity’ artwork.”

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Image above: “A French bow-legged side table with a cluster of earthy goodness from the 1960s, from a plaster bust to an elk horn to a Portuguese St. Agnes. This window overlooks the Wyldefel Gardens. Under the table is a color-blocked book stack with a hand painted 1940s turquoise urn (from here).”

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Image above: “This hand-embroidered, gigantic blanket that represents the colour wheel took over 80 hours to make. Like my very own Gustav Klimt made by my dear friend’s mother. The large, photographic print of a bird is by renowned Australian photographer Leila Jeffreys from Tim Olsen Gallery.  And my Louis Vuitton epi-leather oxblood overnight bag. My favourite bag I have ever owned. Large, ornate French light fitting is from the set of the movie ‘The Great Gatsby.’ The large-scale oil painting of clouds is by the beautiful Bernadette Trela. I love the Italianate 1940s marble-carved pineapple bedside lamps. And of course, French linen sheets.

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Image above: “Wyldefel Gardens was built in 1934 and designed by architect John Brogan. In high Continental Moderne style, it is in the community of 22 identical apartments, with curved bent glass windows and beautifully rendered walls and the most exquisite, 90-year-old manicured garden. Looks like an old cruise liner.”

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