Australian Homes

Louise Olsen, Stephen Ormandy and Family

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 5th February 2014

The Sydney home of Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs. Living / TV room, featuring Louise and Stephen’s collection of books, Eames chair and Collage side table by Stephen Ormandy for Dinosaur Designs. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Front living room.  Paintings from top to bottom, from left – Stephen Ormandy at top, Peter Atkins beneath, Louise Tuckwell at bottom. Right hand group – Jane Olsen at top, Patrick Hartigan beneath, Rober Klippel at bottom. Large painting at right by Stephen Ormandy.  Rug by Designer Rugs and Dinosaur Designs, Couch from map in Melbourne, designed by Chris Connell, from left to right on shelf – sculpture by Stephen Ormandy (on top of stacked books), vases by Dinosaur Designs, sculptures by Gemma Smith.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Detail of painting by Stephen Ormandy, and sculptures by Gemma Smith.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking from front living room to entrance hall. Rug by Designer Rugs and Dinosaur Designs, Side table on left by Arne Jacobsen, side table on right by Stephen Ormandy for Dinosaur Designs.  Gary Hume artwork, ceramic pot by John Olsen.  Mobile by Louise Olsen.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Loungeroom adjoining the front deck, with view to ocean beyond.  Designer Rugs and Dinosaur Designs rug, designed by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy, chair by Henry Bertoia, screen print by Gary Hume, side table by Arne Jacobsen. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

This stunning contemporary home in Sydney’s Bronte belongs to two very prominent creative Sydneysiders – Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs. I must admit, it seems perhaps a little too soon after last week’s immensely popular home feature to share yet another incredible and rather famous Sydney home with you again!  But, for one reason or another, our content schedule has us posting two epic envy-inducing Sydney homes back to back… ah well, what can you do!?

Perched up high with views to the ocean, this has been home to Louise and Stephen for 16 years, who purchased the home before the birth of their daughter Camille, now 14.

Despite its generous scale, ocean views and incredible natural light, Louise and Stephen say their home wasn’t always quite so enviable!  ‘It was originally a dark federation cottage that had had a ’70s moment’ explains Louise, who moved in with Stephen and lived here for nine years before renovating.  Like so many homebuyers, Louise and Stephen’s first move after purchasing the original cottage was to paint all interior walls white, but aside from this cosmetic improvement, they were content to bide their time.  In life and in business, it seems these two are always in for the long haul!

‘During those first nine years we saved the money we needed for the renovation’ says Louise. ‘The good thing about waiting is that we knew exactly what we wanted to do; we had a vision of how we’d like the house to be, we knew where the light fell, where the wind blew, and really got into the soul of the place before we renovated’.

Now a generous two-level property full of treasured design pieces, vibrant colour and incredible artwork, its clear this is the home of profoundly creative people.  The impressive art collection displayed across almost every wall includes work by Louise’s father, revered Australian artist John Olsen, as well paintings by Stephen himself, whose practice continues to grow and command serious attention in the art world. Other favourite pieces include sculptures by Australian artist Gemma Smith (the perfect complement to Stephen’s work in some of these shots!), and glass Ghost sculptures by Nell.

‘Our art collection, they are like family’ explains Louise. ‘The works are by friends and artists we love, they all have stories and so many memories. My Mum used to say that ‘paintings are like windows’. They do become part of your life’.

However, despite the notable collection of fine art and design here, there is nothing precious or showy about this space.  Louise and Stephen have created a genuinely relaxed and laid back environment, where collectible art sits happily and in no particular hierarchy alongside endless stacks of books and trinkets, and souvenirs picked up from their many travels.  Each space flows effortlessly into the next, and Skipper the sausage dog totters absent mindedly from room to room.  Perhaps its the cool breeze that seems to flow through every room, or those calming sea views… either way, this is a home that really is a sanctuary for the busy family who live here.

‘It’s a place to relax’ says Louise. ‘It’s our retreat, where we can get lost in books and the garden. It’s great being close to the ocean to swim, surf and breath the fresh ocean air. There’s room to dream’.

HUGE THANKS to Louise, Stephen and Camille for sharing their beautiful home with us today.  Thanks also as always to Heleena at DD for facilitating this shoot!

Living / TV room, and Skipper the sausage dog!  Photograph by Martyn Thompson, shelving system designed by Dieter Rams and made by Vitsoe in the 1960’s, Dinosaur Designs side table by Louise Olsen, assorted vases by Dinosaur Designs, Eames bird on shelving unit, Noguchi side table in foreground, couch from Poliform.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room.  Homewares from Dinosaur Designs’ current ‘Modern Tribal’ collection, chairs by Jasper Morrison, Stephen Ormandy painting, flowers by Saskia Havekes from Grandiflora. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room details. Homewares by Dinosaur Designs, ghost sculpture by Nell, sculpture by Gemma Smith.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen – assorted Dinosaur Designs homewares on the bench. ‘Miss Moneypenny’  painting by Murray Hilton.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs sitting room.  From Left to right – Crocodile bark painting by Aboriginal artist, Yirawala, Valerie Strong Olsen sitting on Noguchi table, Nell ghost glass sculpture, red chair by Paul Poulain, cushions from Japan, portrait of Louise Olsen by David Bromley, John Olsen painting at far right (top), beneath this, an Emu bark painting by Aboriginal artist, Yirawala.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs hallway details – Little collection of pieces from Louise Olsen’s travels to Papua New Guinea. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs sitting room details, from left – chair by Jasper Morrison from Dedece, side table by Noguchi, glass Ghost sculpture by Nell, painting by Valerie Strong Olsen, Swan figure from the NEW Museum NYC, red chair by Paul Pauline.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs sitting room.  Far chair by Patricia Urquiola, sculptural headpiece from Papua New Guinea,  hanging mobile designed by Louise Olsen, assorted vases and objects. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs sitting room details.  Clockwise from left – glass bird from A Détacher NYC, White tree and glass vase by Dinosaur Designs, glass vase from Sere in Japan, vase on far right by Jonathan Adler, Coral from Louise Olsen’s collections, round vase from Dinosaur Designs. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom bedside detail.  Dinosaur Designs homewares and necklaces, Arne Jacobsen side table, lamp from Corporate Culture, raffia stool from Mexico. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Painting by Stephen Ormandy.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dressing table, featuring Louise’s collection of Dinosaur Designs bangles and necklaces, and rock jar from DD Earth collection. Georg Jensen brass pot, artwork (far left) by Fred Williams, bird by Godfrey Miller drawing, black and white dot painting Dorothy Napangardi. Godfrey Miller artwork (in between bangle stands).  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom reverse – DREAM jewellery collection on dressing table!  Photograph by Petrina Higgs from Steels gallery in Paddington, bangles by Dinosaur Designs.  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Fourteen year old Camille’s bedroom.  Rice paper prints from Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York. Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

View to Bronte Beach from Louise and Stephen’s front balcony!  Photo – Sean Fennessy, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 5th February 2014

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