Thursday, June 12, 2014

THE FAMILY HOME PROJECT | ASTRED HICKS + CO
















    photographed by Luisa Brimble

    I had always thought that Astred of Design Cherry was the most glamorous woman in all of bloggerdom. I mean, look at the woman, she is a 1950's cover girl in all her glory. There is only one word to describe her and that is FLAWLESS. 

    When Luisa and I entered the front door of the charming red brick home our jaws fell swiftly to the floor and on the floor they stayed. Astred's house is a perfectly curated 1950's time capsule. Iconic Mid Century designer furniture can be found mixed back with endless curios and vintage toys. I could go on forever but I won't. Instead I'll let Astred do the talking;




    Who lives here? 

    Hello! Come in, wait.. let me put the dogs on stay. Okay, come on in. Here in my home you will find three people and two dogs.  There is me, Astred: book designer, blogger and snappy dresser. My husband, Bob: packaging designer, fisherman and Super Awesome Husband – SAH™; our kid, Archer: 2 ⅔ year old tornado, installation artist and part time dinosaur; and the hounds, Knuckles: 6 year old Australian bulldog, 25kg snuggler; and Dutch: 5 year old Staffy X, full time bum sniffer.

    I met Bob at design school in 2001 and we’ve been trawling markets together ever since. Our background in design makes us visual people and our home is a busy, noisy, colourful one. Filled with collectables, craft projects, fishing equipment, vintage clothes, DIYs, art, boogers and crazy little odd things I’ve picked up on our journeys. 

    Have a look around and a play with the toys but please put a coaster under your teacup.

    What is your style ethos?

    Edited clutter. 
    We collect 50–60s stuff and it fills our house to the brim. Vintage, industrial and illustrative are the main themes I seem to amass. From Australian mid century furniture designers like Parker and Snelling, collectable ceramics like Diana ware and Barsony lamps, to novelty bed linen and vintage margarine contains I found in the shed. I pick and choose eclectic pieces and arrange them like a designy bowerbird. 

    Who/what inspires your style?

    Late 50s–early 60s design heavily influences my style whether it’s my home, my clothes, my hair, my music – everything has a vintage influence. This time period is packed with style that just makes me so incredibly happy. 

    I don’t take my self too seriously (most of the time) and generally the things on display throughout the house have some form of whimsy, humour or quirk to them. I like teaming beautiful objects like vases and lamps with industrial objects like mini jigsaw attachments or knitting needles filling preserve jars like a bouquet of flowers (in our bathroom I have a fish vase filled with a toothbrush bouquet). My dressing room is a mixture of gorgeous vintage accessories and odd 60s toys with weird faces.

    50s illustrations, especially children’s illos, are something that give me joy and I try to find and incorporate them into everything – like the mural in our studio/sun room, which is inspired by a 50s hotel mural and was designed and painted by Bob and me.

    Colour is abundant our house, I can’t get enough of mid-century colour palettes: salmon pink, sea foam greens, aqua blues, and lemon yellows… 

    And books. I can’t get enough of them either. Old books to display stuff on, new books to get lost in the contents, novels to demolish in one sitting, story books to read and re-read to my kid. Books are not a luxury in this house they are a necessity. Which is probably why one of the first things we did when we bought our house was to construct an entire wall of bookshelves so we could have our own library.

    Where is your favourite place to sit?

    For me it’s the couch or any seat that is in the general area of my backside. For Archer it’s my Nana’s Danish coffee table (please honey get off it!).

    How does the layout of your home affect the way you live/function within it?

    It took us a long time to find this house. We wanted a post WW2 red brick house, or if we were lucky enough (which we almost were, damn those gazumpers) a mid-century ranch house. So we moved to an area of Sydney not far from where I grew up in the inner-west, that was ripe with 50s red brick gems. But we were picky, many of the houses had pokey little rooms, weird set ups (hello front door that opens straight into the toilet), or were just plain outside of our first-home-buyer’s budget. Taking a deep breath and stepping over my imagined line in the search area we found this house and bought it from the original owners. A well kept 50s red brick with a large extension done in the 60s.

    The extension added a huge sunroom, which is now my design studio/library/playroom and a huge undercover patio (adding an outside/inside room). It added a really modern ‘open living’ feel to the house letting the lounge room flow through the dining room and out to the sunroom. 

    The house has three bedrooms, one of which is my dressing room. That’s right I have an entire room just for my clothes, accessories and getting ready – I’m living the dream.

    The windows are large which is a great feature of this style of house and take up almost entire walls but it makes wall space limited so we have made windows in to works of art by using vintage fabrics for curtains. 

    The kitchen is pokey and gets a little crowded when you’re cooking and inevitably opportunistic dogs come sniffing, Archer comes to help/hinder and your partner wants to chat (when I say ‘you’ I mean Bob, because I am not the cook in this house).

    What are your future plans/dreams for your house?

    Where’s that list? oh here it is, a roll as long as the house!

    The big ones are new kitchen and bathroom, oh and to put the roof back on the patio.
    The previous owners gave the house a bit of an update in the 70s and tiled OVER what I can only guess is the original pastel bathroom. And the kitchen is dark and poky with silly cupboards (that we painted yellow, black and grey to cheer ourselves up). 

    Our idea is to keep the kitchen and bathroom in line with the 50s style of the house (and our tastes) but to mix a bit of contemporary stuff in there too – like bi-fold windows and a fancy shower. Sounds like a mishmash but I know we can do it and it will look marvelous. 
    Now to win lotto…

    Any tips for someone who might like to emulate your style?

    I’ve been collecting for over a decade so my stockpile of stuff is pretty advanced, in the early days my husband and I would go on op shop runs from Sydney to Wollongong on the days we weren’t studying; then we’d market trawl on the weekends. One of the first dates Bob took me on was a trip out to the western suburbs of Sydney to go to garage sales and op shops. Over the years as our collection has expanded we’ve slowed our trawling and it is very rare that we’ll go to a market or antique fair these days – but I am still trawling the op shops!

    So my key tip is perseverance and develop a love for the hunt – as most of the time it’s not the object but the thrill of the chase: ‘will I find that mug to finish my set?’ ‘Holy Smokes! Is that a Barsony!?’
    Markets like Surry Hills and Rozelle Markets have a lot of potential to find mid-century and kitschy items. 

    What makes a house a home?

    Family and having things around you that is true to who you are. My collections are visual extensions of my personality and having these things surrounding me makes me very happy. 
    But really our home is made with the love we share with on another.

    Things to buy:
    • Parker dinning table purchased from Retro on Regent 
    • Original Herman Miller Eames Armshell chairs (garage sale find) – buy new from Herman Miller 
    • Artworks Sylvia Ji, Kozy and Dan, Gemma Jones, Lab Partners, Natalie Jeffcote, Beci Orpin, Tretchikoff, Astred Hicks and various vintage prints. Outré Gallery offers a range of lowbrow art pieces 
    • Couches were custom made based on a 60s couch but Freedom Furniture have a great vintage inspired range in at the moment
    • Bed linen a mixture of Orla Kiely ; Target and thrift shop finds


    Astred, THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for inviting us into your marvellous home. It's equally as delightful as you are, which is pretty overwhelmingly so.

    Visit Astred in her other home.

    10 comments:

    1. So in love with everything inside this house. Right up my alley! Astred looks like she has stepped out of tv series Madmen. x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Oh Isn't it THE BEST!!!! Seriously, it was so much fun going to Astred's house, meeting her and being amongst their awesome.

        Delete
    2. Absolutely love this house and the delightful family that live in it. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous digs with us Astred and Emily, fabulous photos as always. x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Best.House.Ever.

        Luisa is such an amazingly talented photographer also. Such a privilege to 'work' aka tag along with her!

        xx

        Delete
    3. Thank you so much for the opportunity Em, it was a blast having you and Luisa come over.
      We love the photos! Although Dutch is little disappointed he didn't make the cut, probably should have stopped sniffing butts and posed for a few photos ;)

      ReplyDelete
    4. LOVE all the turquoise and red, stunning

      ReplyDelete
    5. Oh so in love with everything in Astred's house. I agree Best.House.Ever! Jo xx

      ReplyDelete
    6. Totally adore this house and the delightful family that live in it. Much obliged to you for offering your ravishing burrows to us Astrid and Emily, impressive photographs as usual.

      ReplyDelete

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

    xo em