Australian Homes

Suzy Tuxen and Shane Loorham

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 14th August 2013

The gorgeous Brunswick apartment of graphic designer Suzy Tuxen and design director Shane Loorham.  Kitchen – Thonet bentwood chair handed down from Shane’s parents (originally white with an olive vinyl seat, this was stripped and re-painted black with raw timber ‘socks’ by Suzy and Shane – spot on!). Other dining chairs – Aristoc ‘Scape’ chairs by Grant Featherston. ‘These were super generous and unexpected gift from our friends Kitty and Leon of LeSphinx, who had inherited these from Leon’s grandparents’ says Suzy. They have been re-upholstered by local graphic designer turned upholsterer wonder-woman Wendy Ellerton.  Yellow bowl on the table  by Catherine Holm, yellow vessel in background by Established and Sons, a gift from Suzy’s sister Alana (they’re available from Living Edge).  The Bialetti coffee pot collection – all collected by Suzy from Opp-shops.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
Kitchen.  Thonet bentwood chair handed down from Shane’s parents and re-painted black with raw timber ‘socks’ by Suzy and Shane – spot on!  The utensils pot in the background is by melbourne ceramicist Bridget Bodenham.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room.  Jardan ‘Nook’ sofa in black leather.  ‘We had this on our wedding registry!’ says Suzy. ‘We loved the look of vintage sofas but couldn’t find one that was big or comfy enough, and we were so happy to find this sofa! It’s upholstered in black analine leather so it will last 50 years and age well!’.  Pendant lamp by Twentieth Century Scandinavia,  rug by Loom Rugs, knitted cushions made by Suzy, Jielde yellow floor lamp (carted back from london in Suzy’s suitcase!), hanging geodesic sculpture made by Shane. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Suzy’s Grandmother’s tub chair with cushion knitted by Suzy, Nook sofa by Jardan, Tribalala Wool Blanket by Darkroom London (run by old friends of Suzy and Shane based in London!) in collaboration with Camille Walhala, rug by Loom Rugs, hanging geodesic sculpture made by Shane. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Shane and Suzy in their kitchen.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

I have a theory about graphic designers.  They ALWAYS have nice houses.  I realise this is  massive generalisation, but I do see a lot of houses…!  Graphic designers’ homes are usually slightly quirky, interesting spaces, styled with care, and often filled with the work of talented designer and artist friends.  More often than not, graphic designers seem to adhere to quite a clear and confident aesthetic when decorating their homes. They’re quite measured and thoughtful about the way they pull different elements together.  They tend to invest wisely in classic pieces.  And just like the best executed design projects, a graphic designer’s home really is all about the details.

SO what do you get when you find two self confessed ‘graphic design nerds’ under one roof?  An insanely photogenic first home, that’s what!  This sweet love nest in Brunswick West belongs to super talented Suzy Tuxen of A Friend of Mine, and Shane Loorham, who is design director at Liquorice Studio.  They share their two bedroom ground floor unit with their insanely energetic and devishly handsome Samoid dog, Cotton (he doesn’t sit still long enough for photographs I’m afraid – we did try!).

Shane and Suzy bought their flat as first home owners in 2010, moving in at Christmas time that year.  Though the unit is part of a 1970’s block, it was quite cleverly renovated by its previous owner, leaving Shane and Suzy to make cosmetic rather than structural changes after moving in.

‘The previous owner did a lot of fantastic renovations to this ’70s unit – ripping out the laundry to open up the kitchen, and exposing the beautiful Tasmanian Oak floorboards’ says Suzy. With little to do inside, Suzy and Shane focussed their first-home-owner DIY enthusiasm on the exterior of their little unit, which was ripe for an update!

‘The flat exterior was originally a really ugly variety of ’70s chocolate brick’ says Suzy, who opted for a deep charcoal / black instead, painting directly over the brown brick facade. ‘We also painstakingly re-tiled the front doorstep in hexagon mosaic tiles with black grout – again this was originally a very ‘special’ brown gradient tile from the ’70s which we weren’t sad to see the back of!’ she recalls.  The pair have been keen to try different things out at home, changing certain elements one way and then another to personalise the space. ‘Our front door was a bright green for about a year’ says Suzy.

Clearly, Shane and Suzy have seriously excellent taste, but they also have an admirably disciplined approach when it comes to furnishing their apartment.  With only a small space to fill, they’ve chosen to invest in classic, quality items piece by piece, building a beautiful little collection of furniture and art slowly, slowly, when budget permits.  They’re the kind of people who fall in love with a specific piece, then plan strategically for a year or more to acquire it!   One of their most loved recent investment pieces is the Jardan ‘Nook’ sofa, upholstered in black leather.  ‘We had this on our wedding registry!’ says Suzy. ‘We loved the look of vintage sofas but couldn’t find one that was big or comfy enough, and we were so happy to find this sofa!  It’s upholstered in black analine leather so it will last 50 years and age well!’.

Of course, other special pieces here are treasured for their sentimental value.  ‘Shane gave me a vintage Valentine typewriter five years go when we first met, after noticing that I’d torn a picture of one out of a magazine’ says Suzy. ‘It has got to be the best present I’ve ever received! It now has pride of place on the study wall, although occasionally we have taken it down to type something on it’.

Suzy and Shane have created a special little sanctuary here, and though it’s small, there’s something so comfortable and functional about this sweet little pad.  When asked what she loves most about living here, Suzy is quick to respond.  ‘We love the kitchen’ she says. ‘It’s big, bright and and a really nice space to eat and have people around for dinner.  We lived in London for a while, with a kitchen in a cupboard – the increase in size is welcome!’.  Another major plus for both Suzy and Shane is the area.  ‘Brunswick West is great, we have super lovely neighbours, all up for a chat, and they all have amazing gardens laden with fruit and produce, which they often generously share’ says Suzy. Go Brunswick!

Huge thanks to Suzy and Shane for sharing their home with us today.  Aside from running her brilliant design studio, A Friend of Mine, Suzy is also one half of Significant Others – a carefully edited online shop she runs with friend and creative collaborator Ryan Ward of United Measures. Well worth a little look if you love Suzy’s style!

Looking from TV room through to hallway and study beyond.  Wall unit from 20th Century Scandanavia in East Brunswick.  ‘It fits perfectly in this little nook!’ says Suzy.  Timber toys ‘Biplane’ and ‘Muscle Car’ by United Measures Toy Co for Significant Others, 2 larger vases by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Study.  Desk – picked up on the side of the road, chair – handed down from Suzy’s grandparents (Suzy brought this one back to life by removing the old varnish and staining the legs black). Patterned basket from Oxfam, Artemide ‘Tolomeo’ light – a lovely gift from Shane’s old workplace, Burö North.  Artworks, Clockwise from the left – Suzy’s beloved Olivetti Valentine typewriter, New York poster + marbled paper artwork (both bought on a holiday to New York), Matlok Griffith‘s painting-over-our-wedding-invite artwork.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Shane’s Paulistano ‘MAN CHAIR’ from Hub Furniture – his 30th birthday present from all his family and friends a few months ago!  Artwork on left – Suzy’s large zig zag artwork for Significant Others.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom.  Suzy’s collection of murder mystery books above the bed!  Welsh blanket by Melin Tregwynt – a wedding present from Suzy’s mum.  Side table – inherited from Shane’s folks.  Artworks from the left – a prototype for an embroidered piece for Significant others, Inuit fabric print from an opp shop, apple print from trip to NY.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

French 1950s vintage ‘Dr Auzoux’ poster by P. Sougy of the anatomy of a pine cone.  Vintage map school desk, which was Shane’s mother’s desk growing up. Moon print in bedroom by Carla Grbac for Significant Others.  ‘Carla made this amazing piece which is actually handwoven, with a moon print silkscreened onto the weaving’ says Suzy.  Silkscreening onto a weaving – amazing! Ryan Ward from United Measures made the timber hanger, which is threaded to the weaving in Japanese style.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Painted apartment exterior with tiled entryway, tiles laid by Suzy and Shane ‘NOTE – Although we are DIY lovers, we will never do this again… ever!’ says Suzy!  Muuto dot hooks, a 30th birthday present from Shane’s family. Brass fox head door knocker bought in London. The vintage number ‘2’ was bought online, originally it came from a Soviet apartment building.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 14th August 2013

38 comments

  • Mary Anne 2 years ago

    Gorgeous eye candy! Love it all! It’s cosy, modern and super stylish! love those geometric sculptures, thonet chairs, Jardan sofa, etc etc etc and Suzy’s Gorman? Boots! Thanks Lucy and Suzy and Shane! xx

  • julia-lifeonchurchill 2 years ago

    What a great amount of family and repurposed pieces! That map school desk is gorgeous. Great tour!

  • Rebecca 2 years ago

    Oooh, a lovely start to the day, especially for those us who are small space dwellers. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. I have a particular pang of lust when I spot an underbench oven. We have a gap between our (rather ancient) standalone stove and bench; every wheel of cucumber is magnetically attracted to the ravine. Perhaps square cucumber is the solution.

  • Rachel Castle 2 years ago

    So super nice. This is what I want my little 13 year old Cleo’s house to look like one day. xxxx

  • Amy Hunt 2 years ago

    Beautiful…random question, does anyone know what plant the broad leaf is in the black pot in the photo of the ‘man chair’? It’s beautiful! Thanks! Amy

  • Alex 2 years ago

    Gorgeous home, thanks for sharing. A tiny detail, but the door handle on the study is perfect. Any idea where I could find? Thanks x

  • Jane 2 years ago

    Like this one

  • Kate Paillat 2 years ago

    OMG. I’m pinning this like a woman possessed! So, so good. Love every detail.

  • Cathg1g2 2 years ago

    Love it all

  • I love their space. It screams creativity! I couldn’t agree more with what you said about graphic designers or designers in general. Apart from being creative, they are also meticulous. I should know, met and worked with some designers for years.

  • Melissa 2 years ago

    Gorgeous place. Go Brunswick!! I think it is a rubber plant Amy…..

  • Kirsty // OTIS & OTTO 2 years ago

    So many iconic pieces, wonderfully mixed together. LOVE every detail! Thanks for sharing! X

  • beci 2 years ago

    SO GREAT! Amazing use of black and colour. What a multi-talented lady suzy is!

  • gemma 2 years ago

    oh i LOVE this! so beautiful!

  • JESS 2 years ago

    LOVE

  • kaela 2 years ago

    Love the kitchen! Amy, the plant is a Split-Leaf Philodendron, I love it too!

  • evie 2 years ago

    such a great home. love the details, suzie’s knitted cushions and all the wonderful opshop finds!

  • Marmalade 2 years ago

    Oooh love this one!! Just picking one little detail to say wow about and that is the front doorstep, so gorgeous!! Makes me want to run out and do the same. And the door knocker too. So many things to love in his house.

  • Julia 2 years ago

    seeing exactly the same stack of books on the study desk and above the bed is a bit weird…

  • Bec 2 years ago

    Looks lovely :) I’m wondering what the wall hanging is, in the second last photo – above the map desk? I love it!

  • Jen 2 years ago

    Does anyone know what type of paint the exterior bricks are painted with? I am nervous to paint my own bricks because I have seen so many where the paint looks so thick and plastic… In this house they look really good…

  • Georgia Perry 2 years ago

    What a treat! I adore Suzy’s work and love finding out that her home is just as gorgeous! xx

  • Emma 2 years ago

    Bec- they are Dr Auzoux charts from Paris (40s and 50s)- lovely- I’ve also been doing a little research, you can get them on Etsy…
    https://www.etsy.com/search?q=auzoux&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=ZZ

  • ejorpin 2 years ago

    Oh my goodness! So much to love here…

  • lindsay miller 2 years ago

    plant in black pot is a ficus……

  • Amy Hunt 2 years ago

    Thanks for your responses Kaela, Melissa and Lindsay! Much appreciated!

  • kel 2 years ago

    Wow, gorgeous!

    Does anyone recognise the dining table?

    Thanks

  • Suzy 2 years ago

    Sorry for coming late to the party! Thanks everybody for all your lovely comments about our little home. Kel, the table legs were my grandma’s with an IKEA timber top. The door handles are original from when the unit was built in the 70s I think! Rubber tree sits by Shane’s man chair (not sure of technical name, I think Lindsay has probably nailed it!). We painted our exterior in a exterior grade paint which was simply titled ‘black’! ( can’t remember the brand name sorry).
    x Suzy

  • Sam 2 years ago

    I love the white/black/wood palette of this house! We are just about to paint the interior of our house… any chance you remember the white/s you used on the walls and trims? It’s hard to find good advice using Australian paint brands!

  • kat chadwick 2 years ago

    Totally gorgeous home!

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