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!