The Fremantle home of Matthew Lucas. Saarinen for Knoll tulip table from DeDeCe, a blue 40’s chair found on the side of the street in New York at 3.00 in the morning (‘there were two but I couldn’t carry both!’ says Matthew!), a Dinosaur Design glass vase, 60’s Hollywood Regency lamp from a vendor on the side of E Houston St in Manhattan, and two of four country Chippendale chairs c1760. Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.
Library – a Geo IVth mahogany desk bought by Matthew when he was 16! Red flocked Mao found in the Wolfsonian museum gift shop in Miami, eighteenth century bookcase – inherited. Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.
Left – black and white photo of Matthew’s father, Matthew’s collection of hats (on an old piano leg a saved from a fire wood pile), and his mothers 19th century poetry collection. Right – Matthew’s extensive library. Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.
Matthew Lucas in his Fremantle apartment. 60’s leather sofa from a thrift store on E 86th St in Manhattan -(‘it was a KILLER to move!’ says Matthew!). Paintings by Arthur Borthwick, a piece by New York street artist Shepard Fairey from Guest Fine Art, a tiny oil of Portsmouth by W Jenner dated 1882 and a 30’s oil of a priest by Virginio Monti. Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.
I must admit, I haven’t personally set foot in the amazing home we have to share with you today… instead, this little gem came to us by way of a tip off from WA-based writer and stylist Anna Flanders, who was super keen to see a little more Perth-based content on TDF! Of course after seeing Anna’s intriguing snaps of this eclectic home, I was very happy to oblige – I am always trying to uncover stories a little further afield, and so was very excited to work with Anna and photographer Angelita Bonetti to produce this story! Our very first Fremantle home on TDF – can you believe it!?
Filled to the brim with antiques, collectables and incredible artworks, this apartment in Fremantle, WA belongs to one very colourful and creative character. Matthew Lucas has spent many years working in ‘niche retail’, and also has a background in theatre – writing, producing and touring plays. His passion for antiques and furniture began whilst he was still at high school, when he would do basic furniture restoration work in school holidays for Fremantle-based company Lauder and Howard Antiques Fine Art. Amazingly enough, more than 20 years later, he now works for that very same company!
Though Matthew’s career has come full circle in recent years, his work has taken him all over the world. His early career included a stint in London, where he worked for Liberty (‘Heaven in the 80’s’ recalls Matthew – ‘at that time Liberty still had a buying department that travelled to Burma for uncut rubies!’) and J.Dege & Sons – an old school Saville Row tailor. He also spent time living in Madrid, before studying drama at the VCA in Melbourne, and then spending 10 years working in theatre. After this, in 1996, Matthew was hired by iconic Australian design brand Dinosaur Designs for their Melbourne start up, and in 2002 moved to New York to launch the company there. Eventually Matthew left New York in 2008, and returned to Fremantle, where he now manages Lauder and Howard Antiques Fine Art., Ottoman Empire and L&H – three furniture / object / design based companies. He also consults for retail and interiors clients.
Matthew has been in this early 70’s apartment block with views over the Swan River for three years. Upon first acquiring the apartment in 2008, Matthew knew a lot of work needed to be done here. ‘I really had to redo the entire interior, as it was daggy and untouched with horrific apricot terracotta floor tiles throughout, no kitchen and a bad bathroom’ he recalls.
A kitchen was added, with a splash back that incorporates a photo of Matthew’s Grandmother and her best friend taken in 1928. An image was manipulated by Elsh Designs in Fremantle, and then printed on the back of toughened glass. ‘I say hello to her every time I make breakfast’ says Matthew.
Floating timber flooring was also added throughout, walls were knocked out to open up the space, and conversely, the existing front door was blocked up to create a study and integrate Matthew’s library into the whole apartment. Window sills were added throughout, as were ebony door knobs – ‘an indulgence I channeled Tom Ford for’ explains Matthew!
Of course one of the most striking features of this museum-like home are the dense layers of detail on every surface, and the rich sense of history evident in each of Matthew’s treasured artefacts. Matthew loves this eclectic, unexpected mix – ‘In terms of design now, I love the idea of ethnographic objects mixed with fine 18th century porcelain and furniture, and a healthy dose of mid century classics!’ he says. ‘My vision for this place was ‘a photographer for National Geographic in 1962 moves to Manhattan! – think early David Attenborough meets Steve McQueen…meets Cecil Beaton!’. Oh My goodness… I think he nailed it!
Massive thanks to Matthew for sharing his stunning home and for the epic captioning effort, and to Anna Flanders for producing these images with photographer Angelita Bonetti.