Australian Homes

Sydney Home · Virginia Mesiti and Scott Otto Anderson

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 25th September 2013

The Surry Hills apartment of Virginia Mesiti and Scott Otto Anderson, and one year old August.  Vintage Børge Mogensen leather lounge, Poul Jensen Z-Chair, designed for Selig in the 60’s – Scott says ‘I eventually found another one of these chairs to make a pair but Gin made me put it in the studio as she felt we had enough seating already :( ‘Virginia responds –  At the time we counted seating for 35 ppl in our living room!’.  Outside on the balcony, a glimpse of the Totem Hanging Pots by Scott and Virginia’s dear friend Kevina-jo Smith, with Helen Fitzgerald & Lucinda Schreiber.  Iconic Sydney Ferry on George Nelson bench / coffee table.  Rug by Armadillo. Scale model Audi TT on rug – another prop for a shoot.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining area. Vintage Eames chairs bought after they were taken from a tech in the UK undergoing renovation – Scott and Virginia added the new walnut dowel bases here. Vintage standing lamp from Mitchell Road Auctions.  Jean Prouvé dining table, a prop picked up after a shoot last year, Aalto vase – a long time favourite. Artwork on wall behind, from Top Left – Warra Warra (Crocodile Skin) woodblock print by Sandy Pascoe from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land; Alfred Jacobsen 19th C. Danish theatre decorations; Two costume designs for the 1970s Broadway production of Carmen picked up at a New York flea market; Three small watercolours from the Tales series, 2009 by Tara Marynowsky (www.taramarynowsky.com); The Gambler by Dennis Magdich, original airbrushed artwork for 1978 issue of Playboy; Two oil portraits by Kelly Murphy (2007) which were gifts painted in our apartment while she was staying there; Untitled (Bow River) Oil on Aluminium (2011) by Fiona Williams; Mongolian Hat illustration picked up by Virginia in Mongolia in 2007; Bears vs Owls, 2008 by Lucinda Schreiber.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The giant pencil was a beautifully-crafted prop Scott got built for a video clip he directed for Modular Records – the band got to keep the Walkman and cassette that went with it! Jason (Parotia Wahnesi), oil on linen by friend Julian Meagher, 2011. Wästberg Studio Ilse W08 lamp is a prized possession. Ceramic pots bought from the crazy succulents man who does a garage sale every year down the alley in Redfern. Aldo Londi designed Rimini Blu ceramic cats for Bitossi. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room detail.  Old Timers watercolour on paper, 2009 by Tara Marynowsky. Classic 80’s Koala Bear made from kangaroo fur picked up from St Vincent De Paul in the 90s, as too the vintage $5 Eames-inspired fibreglass seat he sits on. Pro-ject Audio Turntable, Krix Bricks speakers bought locally, with a Tu: Tu: kit tube amplifier imported from Japan; No213 Gras Wall Lamp from Spence & Lyda. Built-in Record Cabinet designed and built by Todd Staunton Joinery. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Despite seeing some of the most seriously amazing houses every week, I don’t often get envious bout other people’s homes, but for todays’ stupendously cool Sydney apartment I shall make an exception.  I could live here in a heartbeat!  This light-filled two bedroom apartment in Surry Hills is home to Virginia Mesiti, a production designer for film and TV, Scott Otto Anderson, a film director and founding partner at Photoplay Films, and August Otto Anderson, their ‘unemployed one year old’ !  With its amazing location overlooking Prince Alfred Park, unusually generous proportions, and considered edit of ridiculously cool artwork, furniture and collectibles, this pad really is the ultimate home for a creative young family.

Virginia and Scott have been here four and a half years.  The original apartments were converted from an old Mambo warehouse in the mid 1980’s.  Last year Virginia and Scott  also undertook some basic renovations of their own in preparation for August’s arrival, re-working their bathroom, laundry and kitchen, and replacing the floors throughout with a European Oak herringbone parquetry. They also took the opportunity to polish the large octagonal concrete column in the living room, which had previously been covered in layer upon layer of lead paint – what an inspired idea!  It’s amazing how this feature alone adds such brilliant texture and interest to the room.

Now, when you look closely at these pics (and the brilliantly detailed captions – thanks Vigrinia!) you will notice just how considered every single detail here is.  It’s as if the home has been thoughtfully curated for a character, in the same way I guess Virginia would create a carefully considered environment for a film.  From the artwork, many by friends and family, to the painstakingly sourced vintage furniture, and various props from film shoots, every detail here has a history and a story to tell.  Its no surprise Virginia and Scott had a little trouble narrowing down their favourites pieces!

‘Scott has a bit of a thing for lamps and chairs, but the Wästberg lamp and the Poul Jensen Z-Chair are probably the most coveted’ says Virginia. The Z-Chair was something Scott had been in search of for a long time – he finally found one in LA whilst on a job there. ‘It became quite an effort and expense to get it back to Australia but still brings great joy’ says Virginia –  ‘the angles and lines are completely unique for its period’.

Of all the artwork on display here, the giant photograph entitled ‘Stereo, 256 Ferguson Drive’ by Katie Breckon is a particular favourite for Scott and Virginia. ‘It’s one in a series of highly detailed, life-size documentations she’s made trying to recover some sense of loss after her father passed away’ says Virginia, a friend of Katie’s.  ‘You can see every fingerprint and smear, it’s like you can almost smell the mustiness of Claytons and Old Port cigars.’

The big pencil is another amazing piece that deserves a mention / explanation! (In fact, Lisa and I have been referring to this house for months as ‘The Pencil House’, such is the charm of this amazing oversized detail!).  This beautifully made prop came from a video clip Scott made a few years ago for Modular Records. ‘It’s solid wood, and you really feel like you will be able to write with it (and are disappointed when you discover you can’t)’ says Virginia!

Of course, over and above the material details, it’s the bare bones and amazing proportions of this apartment that really sing.  ‘We get the most magnificent morning light, and love the high ceilings and the original steel-framed warehouse windows’ says Virginia.  Another highlight for the whole family is the enviable location, in close proximity to parks, cafes, and both Virginia and Scott’s studios. ‘We bought this place when the park opposite was under construction, and since then they’ve done a complete renovation of the pool, tennis and basketball courts’ says Virginia.  ‘Now that Prince Alfred Park has finally opened, it’s like having a 20 acre front yard to play in!’

HUGE thanks to Scott and Virginia for generously sharing their home with today, and I must also thank our Sydney pal, the amazing Xanthe Highfield for the tip-off – what a find!

The giant pencil – a prop Scott got built for a video clip he directed for Modular Records. Jason (Parotia Wahnesi), oil on linen by friend Julian Meagher, 2011. Wästberg Studio Ilse W08 lamp, ceramic pots bought from the crazy succulents man who does a garage sale every year down the alley in Redfern. Aldo Londi designed Rimini Blu ceramic cats for Bitossi. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room detail.  Stereo, 256 Ferguson Drive (from the Set This House in Order series, 2009) photograph by the incredible Katie Breckon. Norman + Quaine sofa. Alex The Amazing Adder hand knitted snake, a gift to August from a bespoke store in the Blue Mountains. Various crystal decanters containing ‘a variety of spiritous liquors such as Poire William Eau de Vie, 1975 Delord Bas Armagnac and 21yo Hibiki Whisky – yum!’ says Scott!  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Bed from Ikea, bedlinen by Fictional Objects, Eames wire base table by Herman Miller. Atelier de Troupe Potence lamp purchased from Scott and Virginia’s dear friend, designer Gabriel Abrahamin LA.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

August’s room.  Hot air balloons found in the South of France, vintage Eames rocker was a long-searched-for eBay score. String System shelves in birch from Great Dane Furniture. Chinese heads were props left over from Superman Returns. Kalon Caravan Cot from Kido. Pillows from Marimekko and Harvest.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Details from August’s room.  Untitled watercolour on paper, 2007 by Stefan Marx. Puppet prints taken from People by Blex Bolex, Gecko Press 2011.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

More details from August’s room.  Old ship came free with a case of Cutty Sark whisky courtesy of Scott’s late dad, Philip (who can be seen at bottom right of frame). Miller Goodman Shapemaker blocks; awesome wooden drum by Plan Toys. Fake apples again are props from a shoot. Matchbox miniature hunting scene from somewhere in Bavaria. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen details.  ‘More booze (and more in the closed cupboard to the left there too)’ says Virginia!  Vintage ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ mug found online.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The coolect collection of stuff Sean and I have ever seen on a ‘fridge!  Invitation to August’s first birthday/caption competition. (Such a cute idea and so beautifully printed!) Rainbow, pastel on paper, 2013 by Lucia Bennett. Untitled (Sorry) and Untitled (Closed), 2002-2003 by Adam McEwen for the Wrong Gallery, Tate Modern. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Entrance hall.  Three of ten  cross stitches by Racquel Welch from her ‘Top Ten Jewish Comedians’, 2006, from Gitteweise Gallery.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 25th September 2013

40 comments

  • Kayleigh 1 year ago

    I love this look…personalized, homie, but still open

  • M Taylor 1 year ago

    Aghghhg – this place is delightful. Art, bookshelves and awesome chairs. I’m in heaven.

  • Jane 1 year ago

    Love the shoes at the front door!

  • evie 1 year ago

    i love this home. the props!!! so fun and happy, what a great feeling this home has.

  • Jasmine 1 year ago

    Oh gorgeous, love the windows and kitchen splachback tiles and August’s room is so cool. Also August is now my future son’s name, I love it!

  • Rose 1 year ago

    Amazing house. Full of fun and personal touches. A dream. Plus, makes me love our Ikea bed even more!

  • Siobhan 1 year ago

    Love the house, so charming and full of character. Thanks for citing the artists. Always good to learn about talented local artists.

  • Melissa 1 year ago

    Colour love!

  • Kate 1 year ago

    This space is perfect! I can’t believe that color…. Perfect.

  • Christy 1 year ago

    This apartment is stunning, and just so cool. I would love to see it, however, once Virginia and Scott are forced to toddler-friendly it. We had lots of pretty things lying around our place too, until our son started walking around and grabbing (and then chewing or throwing) everything in sight …

  • Jen P 1 year ago

    Love this. Would be ahppy to live there in a heartbeat too, Lucy!

  • Katrina 1 year ago

    Love love love the herringbone floor.. a feature of my dream house!

  • Caroline 1 year ago

    DREAM HOUSE!!! Every print hanging in this home is magical and beautiful.

  • Jasmine 1 year ago

    Love! Where are the splash back tiles from?

  • Olivia 1 year ago

    TDF is posting some GEM houses lately!!

  • Louise 1 year ago

    Love it! Where are the drawers in the living room from? Hunting for decent lounge room storage that also works with a TV, DVD etc.

  • Thomas 1 year ago

    Love the sheets by Fictional Objects – gonna get some right away!! http://fictionalobjects.com/

  • Danielle 1 year ago

    What an amazing home! LOVE!

  • Cathg1g2 1 year ago

    Oh yes love the happiness of those Eames chairs around the table and baby cot and everything…Sorry We’re dead, just brilliant!

  • Martha Diane Jacobs 1 year ago

    I often revisit the design files collection of gorgeous Australian homes, This one is so beautiful I have already gone back over it three times! Thank you for sharing!

  • That is one gigantic pencil! Cool place! Very retro inspired. The place looks immaculate. It’s like stepping into a design school’s showroom. Everything is well put together and with refreshing splashes of color. The nursery is cute and unusually designed. Where one finds mostly stuffed animals and printed walls, this one is pristine white with lots of books, funky figurines, and antique slr’s for knick-knacks.

  • Emily 1 year ago

    beautiful bright apartment, and they have a dream collection of furniture. and they have such a playful way of displaying their objects. thanks for sharing!

  • Sooo many beautiful details. Bright & cheery. Love it! Thanks for sharing! X

  • Cass 1 year ago

    Wow, some geat taste right there. Thanks for sharing this! (and someone tell me if those ’10 best Jewish Comedian’ cross stitches in the entry are by Raquel Welch the actor?!)..

  • Gin & Scott 1 year ago

    Thanks for all the lovely comments. Here is some further info for those asking:
    Christy – yes, we’re in the process of moving things up higher this month past. We’ve been blessed that Augie hasn’t started walking yet. Not sure how long the decanters are going to last…
    Louise – the drawers are from Ikea! They’re meant to go vertically attached to silly metal stands inside a wardrobe, but we just puttied up the holes that are there for the bracing and sat three in a row in the living room (and bedroom too, under the windows if you look carefully). I think they’re called ‘Stolmen’.
    Jasmine – the tiles are matte glazed penny rounds from Academy http://www.academytiles.com.au
    Cass – that’d be great if it were Racquel the actor, but no it’s just Racquel the artist’s ‘stage name’.

  • Mel 1 year ago

    Love the arrow through the Apple in The gorgeous baby’s room, where can I get one?

  • Gin & Scott 1 year ago

    Mel – Ha! That arrow was a gift made for August by the wonderfully multi-talented Stephanie Ladd-Anderson from He.She.It.They.I. – I’m sure she could make you one if you asked nicely.
    Those guys are also responsible for the ‘Nice Pear’ sculpture on the record shelf and the awesome ‘He Said, She Said’ business cards on the fridge! http://www.hesheittheyi.com

  • Adele 1 year ago

    Very beautiful and inspiring home, I love details, your collection of object and the mix of colours!

  • Xanthe Highfield 1 year ago

    Oh how did I miss this post?! The house looks so fantastic! Go team Design Files! Very excited to see a tip off made it to the site. Love your house Gin & Scott!!! X

  • Sue 1 year ago

    On the IKEA website trying to find the bed featured in this lovely home. Any tips as to the name of the bed?

  • Editjunk 1 year ago

    The key to making a good negroni is lots of gin. You have obviously been given the key.

  • Kerrie Davis 12 months ago

    A stunning home and loved the built-in cabinetry but couldn’t find Todd Staunton Joinery anywhere on the internet – is the company called something else?

  • Joinery 10 months ago

    Kerrie, you can contact Todd via stauntonjoiner@gmail.com

  • Rachel 6 months ago

    What an amazing, incredible place, so bright and colourful and dreamy. It looks completely comfortable and liveable while being absolutely un-precious. I think it’s my favourite place I’ve seen here.

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