Australian Homes

Matthew Lucas

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 21st November 2012

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.

Light-filled loungeroom – light fitting from IKEA, vintage Ottoman velvet cushions bought in Tangier, embroidered chrysanthemum cushions from A Détacher, on Mott St New York.  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

Loungeroom details.  Left – artefacts as outlined in caption below.  Right – a leather ottoman bought in Tangier, and a Jean Cocteau 1950’s porcelain dish from ebay.  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

A Louis XVIth period kingwood commode from Lauder and Howard Antiques Fine Art. Artefacts on dresser, from left – a 60’s didgeridoo from an old missionary collection in Warburton, an ancestor figure and a Sumatran weaving stick from Spitafields market in London, a plastic Gorillaz figure bought from Kid Robot during Art Basel in Miami, a painted Amazonian figure bought in Brazil, a 19th century Bedouin tent peg bought in Marakesh, a 19th century Chinese vase from Lauder and Howard, an Italian 19th century marble foot(!), an African headrest,  a whale veterbrae from Hobart, a boomerang by WA carver Hanson Boxer, and Matthew’s Grandfather’s clock.  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

A 19th century mahogany chair and Matthew’s silver Dries Van Noten tap shoes! Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

Kitchen – IKEA kitchen cabinets, image of Matthew’s Grandmother on the splash back, a 1790’s decanter, Dinosaur Designs blue bowl, brass tea caddies bought in Morocco, a lamp from Agadir in Morrocco and a Berber rug bought in Marakesh.  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

Bedroom – throw from Tangier, colonial WA oil painting, Sheridan ‘feather’ pillowcases.  On bedside – small Dinosaur Designs vase, 19th cent Burmese figure.  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

Super stylish bathroom!  Photographs by Angelita Bonetti, production / styling by Anna Flanders for The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 21st November 2012


  • Brismod 4 years ago

    Wow! Love it when TDF goes further afield. This is a home where you’d be dying to get an invitation for dinner…just beautiful. xx

  • Jane 4 years ago

    Amazing! Lots to learn from this one….

  • Sarah k 4 years ago

    What a gorgeous house. Fab, classic furniture & so happy you did a house in the amazing west. I love Perth.

  • Gaz 4 years ago

    Lots of original ideas here. I love the old furniture and the library and the the splash back.. A true artist!!

  • Pippa 4 years ago

    Visual overload and a bit of clutter! That’s what a like!

  • librarygirl 4 years ago

    oh matthew I want your library, it’s GORGEOUS!

  • Cath 4 years ago

    Thank you for coming west – we do have homes worthy of a gracing the pages of TDF!!!

  • Kathryn Cumming 4 years ago

    fantastic library…and that splash back is so clever!

  • Kate Forster 4 years ago

    Adore this house. He is a true aesthete.

  • Kirsty // OTIS & OTTO 4 years ago

    What an amazing library! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anna Flanders 4 years ago

    I LOVED being in this home. After entering from a usual 70s block of flats you are transported into Matthew’s magical world of design and a little decadence. You can spend hours listening to him recount stories from Manhattan to Morocco and the dusty shelves of out-of-the-way gems throughout the world, even the verge, as he talks through his collection! All pieces picked with his amazing eye, sometimes swapped for a bottle of whiskey and carried on travels (the Moroccan rug). Very, very clever man of style with an awesome music playlist. x

  • Lulu 4 years ago

    I want to meet him and sip aperitifs while meandering around rifling through his bookshelves!

  • LouLou 4 years ago

    fabulous home, so stinking excited that my dear friend Anna Flanders bought us this home. Well done Miss Anna!

  • Clare 4 years ago

    Hooray for the West Coast! This place is amazing! And I’m so glad the original 70s floor tiles were kept in the bathroom. I love those tiles.

  • Amanda 4 years ago

    Was VERY excited to see the title of a Freamntle home pop up in my reader!! Wonderful to see a gorgeous home from over here in the West being featured – such a character filled one… oh to have that library! Would be great to see more WA home here in the future.

  • Gemma 4 years ago

    Agree with the comments above – so nice to see WA featured for once!

    I’ve been trying to work out which apartment block this is in – maybe the Harbour Lights one that overlooks the Swan and traffic bridge? I can see a glimpse of a pine tree through one of the windows so that could be it…

  • Kath W 4 years ago

    Fantastic home. Great mix of old world & contemporary. Thanks!

  • lillian 4 years ago

    woohoo for freo homes! lauder and howard is just the most amazing antique store, just around the corner from me. it’s so fascinating to see inside the home of the man who runs it – thanks df!!!

  • lee mansbridge 4 years ago

    WOW how wonderful to have a Freo home we want more !!!! WA always seems to get a bit forgotten, but we have some amazing ,home and people here.

  • Dinosaur Designs 4 years ago

    Amazing and wonderful Matthew in every way. Great pad!

  • Karen 4 years ago

    Wonderful to see a WA home featured – and what a stunning home at that!

  • Sureka 4 years ago

    Love this home and all its niche details. The photography is absolutely stunning! Well done to the team that produced it.

  • Liselle 4 years ago

    So very excited TDF have arrived in Perth!! :)

  • Jodester 4 years ago

    WA aka Wait Awhile ! It was worth waiting for. Not just the best beaches and amazing climate . Thanks for crossing the treeless plain TDF

  • Tracy 4 years ago

    Fantastic seeing Perth being ‘put on the map’ so to speak. Thanks Lucy

  • Matthew Lucas 4 years ago

    Thanks Lucy at TDF for including me in your WONDERFUL blog, and Lisa for deciphering my appalling spelling…and Angelita and Anna in Perth…and thanks for everyone’s lovely comments and YES! there’s more to WA than big holes in the ground and shark attacks! MLx

  • sarah 4 years ago

    Wow, Matthew, you have an amazing place – loved your vision!!

  • arite 4 years ago

    This apartment is pure genius! Absolutely love the story and imagery associated with the kitchen splash back…. one of the most truly interesting homes i have seen on the net for a long time!

  • Amberly 4 years ago

    I absolutely love how different this is. Gorgeous AND interesting. Thank you for opening up your home to us!

  • test site 4 years ago

    Hey there, You have done an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this web site.

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