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InteriorsShop Tour

Shop Tour: An Australian Concept Store Based in an 1864 Masonic Hall

by Rebekah Carey

Pip Brett and Nick Luelf purchased the former Masonic Hall of Orange in New South Wales, Australia in June of last year and opened the doors to their concept space, The Sonic, only nine weeks later. The Masonic Hall was built in 1864, and one night when Nick was walking the couple’s dogs he saw that it was for sale, and actually had been for four years. The next day they looked at the space, fell in love with the exterior, the interior’s original beams, bricks, and hardwood floors, and put in an offer. Nick is a builder, which would prove useful in their whirlwind nine-week renovation of the space, and Pip owns a homewares store — Jumbled — and clothing store — Iglou. Pip launched Iglou in 2006 and Jumbled in 2012. Through the success of the shops’ online marketplaces and social media presences the stores were outgrowing their physical spaces, so creating a concept store with the couple’s favorite things — fashion, home goods, and coffee — was ideal timing. The classic Masonic Hall was so big that it allowed enough room to let the three businesses feel like they had distinct spaces, while still feeling open and having a clear flow.

With a tight timeframe, and limited budget, the couple enlisted old high school friends and architecture and interior design firm, Studio Esteta, to help round out their vision. The support from others also elevated the design, and most importantly helped to ensure their plan was complete so that the moment they were ready to begin their renovation, nothing would delay them. Finishing the project was a labor of love, complete with friends and family whose help made it all possible. The last project Pip and Nick are in the process of tackling now is the cooling and heating of the massive space — the latter of which will be important because it actually snows in Orange! Ultimately, the creative couple made a shop that feels both historic and modern at the same time, and one we’d be happy to get lost in while sipping a coffee and taking in all the treasures. —Rebekah

Photography by Martina Gemmola

Image Above: Pip describes all the hard work that went into making their dream a reality, “Chipping render, painting walls, sanding floors… we did it all ourselves and we nearly killed ourselves in the process! Looking back, it was the greatest experience and I’m so proud and can’t believe what my husband and I (and a merry team of helpers) achieved in such a whirlwind.”

The Exterior Of The Sonic A Concept Store In South Wales Australia On Design*Sponge
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Pip lends a little insight into the history of their space, "Our Masonic Hall was built in 1864 in a traditional Masonic design style with references to Eygptian architecture and ancient Greek symbols." Pip continues, "We re-painted the façade white and exposed the original Greek emboss on the façade. Introduced black steel details; new fencing, signage, black steel framed doors and handrails – a common link throughout the building."
Nimrod's Is The Cafe Portion Of The Sonic In Australia On Design*Sponge
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This is the cafe area of The Sonic -- Nimrod's. In the Jumbled and Nimrod's cafe areas Pip shares their renovation goals, "Create a light and bright interior aesthetic – blank canvas to display the product. Raw and textural palette. Expose existing ceiling structure." Some of their favorite features of the building can all be seen from this vantage point. "When my husband and I got up in the ceiling for that very first time, we fell in love with the beautiful old beams and just couldn't believe our luck. It was even more amazing than we ever could have possibly imagined. Up there we just knew that we had to buy it. We somehow managed to purchase the old building (lots of begging and pleading with the bank) leaving us with a VERY limited budget, but I guess that is when the challenge and exciting journey began."
The Cafe Seating Area For Nimrod's Inside Australia's Concept Space The Sonic
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"There are three distinct areas in the open-plan design of The Sonic. We wanted to create a space that had a flow throughout whilst still maintaining a distinct separation," Pip explains.
Additional Cafe Seating Within The Sonic In Australia Tour On Design*Sponge
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Pip admits, "I had always dreamt about a concept store - coffee, fashion, home - everything I love under one roof!" The bones of the space were always incredible, but Pip and Nick knew they could make them even more so with their goals for the inside. "We exposed all the existing trusses and pitched ceiling. Opened up existing separate interior spaces to allow for connection and spatial flow. Exposed all the original brickwork and painted it with a whitewash finish, enhancing the existing qualities of the building."
Iglou Is The Refined Clothing Store Within The Sonic Tour On Design*Sponge
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One of the three distinct spaces is the clothing store, Iglou. Pip describes her inspiration for this area: "Refined and intimate feel. Maintain existing low ceiling grid. Light and bright, but more refined than Jumbled. Constrained playfulness."
Iglou The Stylish Australian Clothing Store Within The Sonic
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We love how cohesive, yet distinct, the three separate entities are within the space. Pictured-- Iglou, the clothing arm of The Sonic.
Pink Dressing Rooms In Iglou The Clothing Store Within The Sonic On Design*Sponge
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The perfect pink hue in the Iglou changing rooms, “Rose Nude” by Taubmans.

Classic Style And Minimal Lines Shine In The Sonic's Iglou Dressing Rooms On Design*Sponge
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A dressing room that feels like it could be found in Old Hollywood or a minimalist's wildest dreams.
Pink Dressing Rooms In The Jumbled Shop Within The Sonic In Australia
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Pip looked on the positive side of their limitations, "Our limited budget and extreme time restraints made the renovation challenging. However, I am a huge believer that a limited budget forces you to be resourceful; to work harder in finding cheaper alternatives and to push you to think outside of the box. When this takes place, that is when the design magic happens."
Jumbled Housewares In The Sonic On Design*Sponge
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With a space so big that entire living scenes can be beautifully displayed, it's no wonder Jumbled (and the other shops) have done so well in the new space.
Pip and Nick's Concept Store The Sonic On Design*Sponge
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Pip shares what she values the most in their space, "I am most thankful that The Sonic allows us to work in a big and beautiful space every day. Our new home gives our art and products room to breathe and shine, which has seen our business grow and flourish. I feel so lucky that we stumbled across this lovely old building and took a chance."
The Jumbled Shop Space Within The Australian Concept Store The Sonic On Design*Sponge
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Pip explains the tight renovation schedule and their community who helped them achieve their dreams: "Because of the short timeframe we had to literally work day and night for nine weeks. Having my husband Nick as a builder saved us so much time and money. We did everything that we possibly could ourselves and had a team of dedicated family and friends lending a much needed hand. I think they realized that we may have bitten off a little more than we could chew. Without them we would probably be still renovating and/or broke!"
Jumbled The Home Goods Store Within The Sonic In Orange, South Wales, Australia On Design*Sponge
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An added benefit of the huge space is that it allows Pip and Nick to host events and workshops as well. The lovely, and rather prolific, Australian stylist Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors, just hosted styling workshops in the space.

From The Front Of The Store You Can Nearly See All Three Spaces Within The Sonic In Australia Toured On Design*Sponge
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"Iglou and Jumbled had outgrown both of our current stores and we were looking for something bigger when we discovered that the old Masonic Hall was for sale. It ticked all of the boxes -- it had so much character, a huge inspiring space, incredible roof trusses and beams and was in a great location right in the center of town. The size and layout of the building allowed us to turn our dream of a concept store into a reality."
The Sonic Family On Design*Sponge
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All smiles with Nick and Pip and their sons, Digby and Barnaby. Photo by Pip Farqaurson.

Floor Plan Of The Australian Concept Store The Sonic
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Pip shares the intention behind the design of their space, “There are three distinct areas in the open-plan design of The Sonic. We wanted to create a space that had a flow throughout whilst still maintaining a distinct separation.”

SOURCE LIST

Interior and exterior design- Studio Esteta

Outside
Paint- Dulux in Natural White and Domino

Signage- laser cut locally by McSigns

Timber door handle – Designer Doorware

Iglou
Walls – Paint: Dulux natural white

Flooring – Cabot’s CFP Floor Water Based floor finish, tinted with Dulux natural white

Laser cut signage and all metal work- ATB Industries in Orange

Metal work paint – Dulux electro range, color: Black Ace

Feature light- POTENCE PIVOTANTE BY NEMO LIGHTING (black wall light)

Counter – American oak veneer

Central Plinths – Dulux Narrowneck Satin finish

Lighting – LED track lighting, color: black satin

Iglou Changerooms
Paint color- Rose Nude by Taubmans

Carpet- RESIDENCE CARPET. COLOR: 0018 EIGHTEEN (DUSTY PINK) Supplier: EC Carpets

Wall lamps – Onefortythree

Curtains – Kismet polished linen, color: Cameo, Supplier: James Dunlop

Metal work – Dulux electro range, color: Black Ace

Mirrors – Mira Leaning Mirror, color: Coal, Supplier: Middle of Nowhere

Stools – ikea, painted with Taubmans, Rose Nude

Jumbled
Lighting – LED track lighting, Color: white satin

Counter – plywood B Grade radiata pine – limed with Cabot’s

Floors – Cabot’s CFP Floor Water Based floor finish, tinted with Dulux natural white

Walls – painted Dulux natural white

Duct work – painted Dulux natural white

Steel work – Made locally by ATB Industries, Powdercoated: Dulux electro range, color: Black Ace

Nimrod’s (cafe area)
Counter- solid Tasmanian oak cladding limed with Cabot’s

Tabletops- Victorian Ash limed with Cabot’s

Metal work – made locally by ATB Industries. Powdercoated in Natural White, Delux

Nib wall – Painted with Blue Shamrock by Taubmans

Skylights- VELUX

Stools and chairs – Spice stool, contour chair and racquet chair, Supplier: Space to Create

Lighting – led track lighting, color: white satin

Floors – Cabot’s CFP Floor Water Based floor finish, tinted with Dulux natural white

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