When we shot this fabulous family home in Sydney's Paddington a few months back, I actually knew very little about its occupants, Sophie Tatlow and Bruce Slorach, who run a brilliant little design studio in Surry Hills called Deuce Design. In the weeks that have passed since they kindly let a random stranger in to photograph their home (thanks guys!) Sophie and I have become good pals... she is an absolute GEM and has sent me many story leads, tip-offs and advice! She's ex Melbourne but has lived in Sydney for many years, and is one of those amazing, energetic people who just seems to be everywhere at once. If ANYONE is doing ANYTHING cool in Sydney, Sophie knows! It's lovely now to write this story knowing a little more about the clever creatives who live here!
Sophie and Bruce live in this light-filled Paddington home with their son Henri (10). When they first got their hands on the place eight years ago, Sophie says the house had a 'beige vibe' - a little like walking into an episode of the Brady Bunch! 'The original fitout included splattered brick, cream flecked carpet, brown curtains, buckled laminex, and too many internal walls – you get the picture' says Sophie. At the time, it looked like an authentic terrace but in actual fact it was a ‘faux’ mid-seventies version, designed to fit into the Victorian streetscape.
Not long after moving in, Bruce approached architect Peter McGregor, working closely with him to re-design the home and make a dramatic metamorphosis. Internal walls were pulled down, the balconies at the back of the house were transformed to increase the bedrooms and top floor study, and the entire rear wall was knocked out to allow Sydney's beautiful sunshine to stream in to the split-level living spaces.
Whilst they do love the odd graphic print and quirky souvenir collected on their travels, I get the impression Sophie and Bruce are design purists at heart! They're passionate about mid century design, and have an impressive collection of classic modernist furniture and lighting.
'As far as favourites go, I like the dining room table' Sophie says (its the Joyn table by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra). 'It seats 8 people and we’ve had some good dinners around it. The table has a long story behind it, too long to tell, but let’s just say it was hard fought for and nearly didn’t make it...’
Other favourite finds include Sophie's treasured Parentheses light (designed by Achille Castiglioni in the 70's). 'It has a counter weight, and the steel tube allows you to move it it up and down. Brilliant idea!' she says.
Whilst she still has great affection for her home town, Sophie has definitely been seduced by Sydney, after many years living in the sparkly city! 'Everyone says the says the best things about Sydney are the beaches and the weather' Sophie says. 'As a former Melbournite, going to the beach isn’t a top priority, but I still like the idea that you can get to a beach in under 20 minutes when you need space, air, light. There’s no denying the therapeutic quality of the Sydney climate. I like the warm balmy nights, the frangipani in the air and the crazy Sydney speed (most of the time). I love the rows of terraces and the way people have customised their homes with personality and style - coloured doors, custom iron lace, all the quirky bits and even the shoddy renovations. I also love the mad torrential storms and lightning!'
In between running their much respected design studio in Surry Hills, this year Sophie and Bruce have also been busy with a special personal project. This November they're launching Utopia Goods, a unique range of homewares with a crafted, quirky edge. With Bruce's impressive pedigree (he was head designer at Mambo for five years, before setting up Deuce Design) I'd say this new venture is destined for immediate CULT status. Stay tuned - I'll be sure to keep you posted!