The CBD apartment of Peter Lawford

Dining room, featuring Peter’s extensive glassware collection

Decorative glassware and Fornasetti tableware – two of Peter’s best loved collectables

When I first set foot in the CBD home of Group Property Manager Peter Lawford I think I squealed. (Not entirely uncommon but still).  This unique home, high above Exhibition st on the 28th floor of a tightly held 90′s apartment building, is quite simply unlike any other home I’ve ever photographed.  It’s just full to the brim with glittering, twinkling, colour co-ordinated STUFF!

There’s not a spare inch of Peter’s fabulous (yet modest) city pad that hasn’t been tweaked, painted, wallpapered, or adorned with some bold, eyecatching treatment.  From his impressive glassware collection to his layered soft furnishings, eclectic artwork and a collection of ‘only‘ 30 chairs –  you gotta give credit where credit’s due for Peter’s unfaltering commitment to this supremely maximalist styling approach!

Peter had so much to say about his much loved home –  he’s incredibly entertaining and super passionate about all things design – so much so, I had a lot of trouble editing his words…. Here goes -

- How long have you lived in this home?

I have lived in my current apartment for five years. It seems longer for many reasons. I have always had this amazing affinity with the space, from the moment I walked in. It was just meant to be.

- Have you made any significant changes to the home since moving in?

I tend to decorate rather than renovate the apartment. I travel overseas four times a year for work and always bring back too many ideas. I make many minor changes on an ongoing basis (small scale and almost weekly) and this is usually prompted from a residential or commercial interior – or idea I spot more often than not in an Italian or Spanish interior design magazine.

There have been many changes in terms of furniture placement and layout. In fact, I have replaced almost all of my furniture from when I first moved in. I have also painted and wallpapered.

- How have you found living in the CBD?

Unfortunately, living in the Melbourne CBD can be polarized between a really great and very average experience. It is all about location, location, location. I live on Exhibition Street and this area of the Melbourne CBD is very rich with bars, restaurants and theatres. It is alive during the day and at night and I think the best part of Melbourne. Docklands leaves me cold. Anything near the Casino leaves me even colder.

I think to get the best out of living in the CBD you should try and select an apartment that provides some sort of interesting view and has good light. Otherwise, you may get a real shock after moving in – and have a remarkably similar life experience to a battery hen.

The CBD is just getting better and better. Melbourne is such a wonderful rich city with a vibrant and dynamic city life. I feel lucky to be immersed in this positive and exciting energy – and 24/7 as I also work in the CBD.

- Any favorite aspects of the home or prized possessions?

I love my inner city and distant mountain views from Level 28. It is just magic. I also like the security and peace of mind that comes with living in a quality high-rise apartment. You can just shut the door and go overseas for a few weeks without a worry in the world. That is really living.

I have been collecting objects and furniture for a very long time – probably seriously since the mid 1980’s. I have what some people believe is an unhealthy obsession for chairs. I think these people may have serious issues that need to be addressed! I ‘only’ have 30 chairs in my two bedroom apartment – which is a little crowded but fine, all things considered.

I have also collected many pieces of glassware from Australia, the UK, Japan, Sweden, and Denmark over the past 10 years. I was in London in September this year and went to the Battersea car boot sale for the first time, and managed to add to my collection. It is amazing what an elderly couple will provide for 10 pounds from the back of a 1960’s GT Cortina at 7.00am in the morning!   Try it – as you will not be disappointed!  This is now on my international radar.

I have always liked a bargain and really enjoy the hunt for objects – although this has got significantly harder in Australia over the past 5 to 10 years. I have now expanded my search to include Europe and the USA. I also frequent the Mornington Peninsula which still manages to surprise and delight me with some recent finds.

The selection and placement of artwork is also very special to me and I still really enjoy everything I own. I tend to move it about – because it is just too easy to become complacent if it remains inert. Unfortunately, there isn’t much unadorned wall space in my apartment – and I often ‘joke’ with my friends about buying the apartment directly underneath or on top of mine and putting in a staircase. And they think I am joking!! Fools! I have the real estate agent – Angela – on speed dial.

Massive thanks to Peter for sharing his amazing city pad with us!  I am coming down with a serious case of chair envy….

Peter loves a cushion!  He seeks out certain fabrics and has cushions made in his favourite prints and patterns.  Favourite fabrics include D&G, Vernon Panton Optik (1969) & Geometri (1961) fabric from the 60’s and Designers Guild fabric from 2005 and 2010.

Living room details

Living room – original everything (no replicas here!)

Deeper tones in the bedroom, and artwork by some of Peter’s talented friends

Even the bathroom is not safe from Peter’s maximalist tendencies!


No surprise to see Kelly Wearstler’s ‘Domicilium Decoratus’ here!