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.”