Australian Homes

Vicki Wood

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 17th September 2014

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The incredible Redfern, Sydney apartment of Vicki Wood.  Custom built dark timber bookshelves display Vicki’s eclectic collection of books, vintage finds and lush indoor plants.  The leather chesterfield couch completes the look!  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files

VickiWood-kitchen

Vicki’s beautiful kitchen!  ‘The kitchen is my most favourite room’ Vicki says. ‘The cockerel print was a French classroom aide. The lights over the dining table are old stage lights. The chains that they hang from was from an old boat.  The white tiles on the splash back and ranger hood are Spanish.  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Kitchen.  ‘I hand painted every cupboard door in the kitchen!’ says Vicki. The kitchen bench top is black smart stone, 10cm thick for a robust, country farmhouse feel. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Kitchen details.  The kitchen tiles are Spanish.  The canisters , chopping board and crockery are all French flea market finds.  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Vicki Wood at home!  ‘This is me and my chesterfield happy to wear our aged patina!’ says Vicki cheerfully!  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

I must admit, today’s gorgeous home is one I shamelessly stalked via Instagram… (We have our methods!).  It’s always a bit of a challenge making contact out of the blue with someone you’ve never met before (especially via social media!) so I was thrilled when the lovely homeowner, Vicki Wood, was open to our advances.  And when Eve and I finally rocked up at Vicki’s apartment building in Redfern a few weeks after this initial correspondence, I have to say it was a wonderful surprise to find that both home and homeowner surpassed all our expectations!  It’s a very special space, and Vicki is one amazing lady!

The impressive factory building in which Vicki’s apartment is housed was actually the first warehouse conversion in Sydney.  ‘It was once a shoe factory, operating from 1903 until 1970’ Vicki says.  Upon first viewing the apartment, she instantly fell in love with it’s exposed beams, light, history and most importantly, it’s 14 foot ceilings… and chose to ignore it’s ‘dull and dated eighties persona’!  She was confident she could rework the space to suit her own tastes, with the assistance of her brother Kelvin, a builder.  Custom cabinetry was installed throughout the home, including floor to ceiling dark timber bookshelves in the living room – an incredible centrepiece which houses Vicki’s much loved collection of books, antiques and vintage finds.  In the kitchen and bedroom, cabinetry was installed and painted by hand by Vicki – ‘because I like seeing the brushstrokes’ she says!  Perfectly imperfect tiles from Spain were sourced to give a unique texture to the splash back and range hood, whilst vintage stage lights were hung over the dining table.

‘I wanted to create a classic New York or Parisian style loft apartment, that would never date, but just become more comfortable with age’ says Vicki.  Much like the old Chesterfield which almost didn’t fit through the front door (!), everything in the apartment has history and sense of nostalgia about it. ‘From the 1930’s intercom that my son found in New York, to the Bakelite light switches I searched the globe trying to find, everything has a story – I love that’ says Vicki.  ‘My design ethos is about authenticity and history, as the surfaces and finishes here develop an aged patina, I hope their beauty will be more enhanced as they show their history… a bit like myself really!’.

Vicki designed the interior herself, with the help of talented family members.  She is the first to admit she isn’t qualified in design, but is a passionate collector and intuitive stylist who takes great pride in creating interesting spaces.  ‘I don’t have a degree in design, I just have a love for creating homes’ she says. ‘Homes that feel loved and lived in truly reflect the lives of the people who live there… My home makes me feel safe and nurtured, surrounded by symbols of the things I love most’.

It was so delightful chatting to Vicki during our shoot and getting to know a little more about her and her family – they’re a pretty incredible bunch!  We learnt that Vicki is a versatile creative in her own right; a driven and determined ‘do-er’ – and styling interiors isn’t her only self-taught talent! Having played out her younger years as a resourceful single mother of five, Vicki is now grandmother to a brood of gorgeous kids, who have inspired her latest creative endeavour – a self published children’s book and collection of recorded music created under the name Uncle Bear Skin Productions.

‘My daughter and I have written a French/English children’s book that will be released next month, and a children’s album called ‘Eucalyptus Dreaming‘ again in French and English’ says Vicki.  AMBITIOUS, huh!?  The results might surprise you – having never written a book before, Vicki has created a uniquely Australian tale and commissioned a suite of spectacular illustrations by Bec Winnel to bring her characters to life… whilst Vicki’s daughter,  Kelly Elsom, a talented bi-lingual singer, has recorded an entire album of songs to flesh out the characters in the book.  Not content with these insanely impressive self-initiated projects, Vicki went on to direct two of the sweetest little music videos too, featuring her gorgeous grandkids.

‘I directed my children and grandchildren, which seems too crazy to even say, but it was just so much fun’ explains Vicki. ‘My original concept was to create something that we would love, a memory for us to always have. I am excited now to be able to share this with everyone and hopefully they will enjoy it as much as us’. The videos are well worth a look for an insight into Vicki’s world and her amazing family – the English version is here, whilst the French version is here.

After chatting to Vicki at length about her family and all her self initiated projects, it’s clear how much her home really is at the heart of all her creative work.  It’s here she conceives all her ambitious ideas, and, surrounded by museum-like bookshelves, antiques and ephemera, it’s here she first developed the characters in her book.  Her supremely photogenic home is also used constantly for shoots with her kids and grandkids and their various creative side projects.  ‘When I started on this apartment, I never imagined that I’d be shooting a film clip in the living room or having film-makers or photographers use it as a set’ says Vicki thoughtfully. ‘I guess if you put a lot of love into what you do, good things happen’.  Indeed!

Massive thanks to Vicki for sharing her home and her world with us today !

 

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Kitchen detail.  ‘I love pots of herbs in the kitchen’ says Vicki.  ‘Sure they don’t last forever but they are worth replacing. I tend to buy more herbs in pots than flowers’.  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Vicki’s study on the mezzanine overlooking the living room and kitchen.  ‘I really love sitting at this desk looking over my kitchen, somehow I feel very content here’ says Vicki.  And YES she really does use the vintage typewriter! Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Vicki’s bedroom.   French linen on the bed, oak floors, custom built wardrobes, hand painted by Vicki – ”I like to see the brush strokes!’ she says.  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Vicki’s bedroom.  A collection of layered french linen on the bed, and a Sardinian sailing chart complete with the captain’s notes above the bed.  Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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A weathered concrete urn found at the tip (!) contains lush collection of thriving indoor plants.  ‘Plants always feature heavily in everything I do’ Vicki says. Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

VickiWood-corner

Vicki’s living room bookshelves display an eclectic collection of books, antiques and vintage finds – including a 1960’s US Scuba helmet! Photo – Eve Wilson,  production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 17th September 2014

37 comments

  • Linda Di-Giusto 2 years ago

    What a truly beautiful home and a wonderfully creative woman. LOVE IT!!!!

  • Annie 2 years ago

    What an absolutely fabulous place. I’d move in there in a heartbeat!.

  • Romany 2 years ago

    Just beautiful! Great job Vicki, this is a home with real heart and soul.

  • Pooja 2 years ago

    I’m in love with that kitchen, the lovely mix of old & new pieces, & the exposed brick walls. Thanks Lucy for sharing this wonderful home!

  • Cheryl 2 years ago

    What a wonderful home and props to the self-initiated projects!

    I’ve now been listening the English and French versions of I Love Sippy; delightful playing in the background as I make some tea!

  • Thank you for the inspiration! Vicki has created the ultimate stylish family sanctuary.

  • Barbara 2 years ago

    Wow. What a delightful home and such an inspiring woman. Five kids on her own?!?! And still a creative powerhouse. More wow’s!!!!

  • Alarna 2 years ago

    Wow! Stunning house and l’ve just watched ‘l love you Sippy’, blow away with the beauty x

  • Kate 2 years ago

    By far one of my favourite houses featured on TDF this year. That kitchen – I am positively lost for words :) I love Wednesday mornings and checking out your blog :)

  • Judy 2 years ago

    Vicki, your home has so much warmth. Any wonder everyone wants to hang out there with you. I am sure they never want to leave. It is just beautiful.

  • Ruthie 2 years ago

    Fabulous home! And an inspirational owner. Vicki – is it possible for you to share your secrets on who you commissioned to build your cabinetry?

  • kaboodle kitchen 2 years ago

    A beautiful kitchen. The tiled splashback and rangehood are a stunning feature.

  • Deb Burgess 2 years ago

    Congratulations Vicki…..a superb home that you have created.
    Is there ever a possibility of seeing a floor plan of apartments such as Vickis’, so we can see how cleverly people have arranged their spaces ?
    It would be so inspiring for others as it is the arrangement of space/furniture that seems to be the biggest challenge.
    Thank You again Design File !!

  • Kate 2 years ago

    Gorgeous. What a lovely, warm kitchen! Thanks for sharing

  • John Benfell 2 years ago

    What a great space, Vicki ….Fantastic…10/10

  • Margie 2 years ago

    Truly gorgeous

  • ca 2 years ago

    Lovely stuff. Vicki do you mind telling us the source of your kitchen tiles? thank you!

  • Vicki wood 2 years ago

    Hey ruthie, no problem at all . Traditional cabinetry , in alpin nsw . He does travel to sydney regularly and he is the most reasonably priced and easy to work with cabinetmaker I have found. He followed my designs to perfection . Kindest regards Vicki x

  • Susan 2 years ago

    More more pictures please… would love to see Vicki’s bathroom too!

  • holly 2 years ago

    YES!!!! VICKI!!!!
    You and your home look so beautiful! Thank you for sharing xx

  • Ben 2 years ago

    Lovely apartment Vicki and great article.

    Again I enjoyed this apartment and I think it is beautiful but again, another apartment filled with crafty things. TDF can we please see something different?
    Something a bit architectural perhaps or small spaces used cleverly rather than an apartment?

  • Vicki wood 2 years ago

    Ca … They are from http://www.aeria.com.au in woollarah sydney .
    In my opinion They have the best tiles !

  • Bron 2 years ago

    I could not agree more Ben. I enjoy reading The Design Files and I really look forward to Wednesday for a small peak inside someones home. But I must say I would enjoy seeing a wider range of the way people live these days. I also agree with seeing floor plans that would be great.

    Fantastic apartment Vicki supburbly done. And thank you for opening it to the public as you have.

    Thank you Bron

  • Lucy 2 years ago

    Hi Ben and Bron, thanks for your comments… I must day, I do think we cover an incredible cross section of homes – from rentals to share houses, tiny apartments, country properties, suburban family homes and everything in-between. We DO tend to steer clear of austere architectural masterpieces because the feedback we usually get is that readers like to see personality of the people who live in the home, and prefer accessible homes created on modest budgets. I don’t think this means all our features are ‘Crafty’ – but I guess they are often eclectic, imperfect and accessible rather than aspirational… having said that we’re always open to submissions so if you have a space in mind you think would be great for us to feature, please drop us an email!

    In the meantime I would draw you attention to these features which perhaps might interest you as they showcase small spaces used interestingly and/or more architectural homes –

    http://thedesignfiles.net/2014/08/melbourne-home-alex-kennedy/
    http://thedesignfiles.net/2014/06/melbourne-home-bill-and-christine-mccorkell-and-family/
    http://thedesignfiles.net/2014/04/melbourne-home-joost-and-jennie-bakker-and-family/
    http://thedesignfiles.net/2013/10/melbourne-home-dan-honey-and-paul-fuog/

    Bron – Unfortunately at this stage we are not able to provide floor plans as I don’t have the resources to have a draftsperson measure and draw up the houses we feature! We have considered it in the past, but with a new home feature every week it would be quite labour intensive. Sorry but thank you for the suggestion!

  • Lynette 2 years ago

    Love, love, love this house. Would love to see more pictures too. By far the best yet, my fave.

  • Andrew 2 years ago

    Love those charming compositions and personable collections of objects

  • Jan Withers 2 years ago

    Love Vicki’s home, especially her kitchen. She has fantastic style – love it!

  • Robyn Stewardson -- Focus on Art 2 years ago

    Gorgeous video clip! You’ve captured the best of the apartment, Lucy. Great work. ;o)

  • Georgina 2 years ago

    Wow! A truly beautiful home. Thanks for sharing Vicki!

  • Jen 2 years ago

    I love this home, it has so much heart.

    This is the type of home I’d like to see in design magazines. Vogue Living, pls change your ways.

  • Paulo McNamara 2 years ago

    Thankyou Lucy, what a stunning visual treat. I have followed Vicky on Instagram for some time and love her style and the images she posts. You are both wonderfully creative inspiring women.

  • Ben 2 years ago

    Hi Lucy,

    Thank you for replying. I love the city apartment and thats exactly the sort of thing I was referring to. Really clever design small budget and smart use of space. I visited quite a few house that would be fantastic during the Robin Boyd Foundation tour of all the houses that won awards this year. Some on a tiny budget but with amazing results.

    One in particular by Edwards Moore that I think your readers would love to see. It is a tiny terrace in Carlton with a super clever design for extra living and light. I believe its called the “lightbox house” a young couple with a very small budget.

    Thank you for your time
    Ben

  • Beauty Follower 2 years ago

    It has a classic/rustic touch that i like!

    http://beautyfollower.blogspot.gr

  • Fiona 2 years ago

    I adore & absolutely love this home – please keep photographing this style of house – agree with Jen – you just don’t see these sort of homes in the magazines.
    Keep up the good work Lucy & Team!

  • Sandee 1 year ago

    Lovely

  • Theresa 12 months ago

    GORGEOUS! I’m actually installing thick countertops as well and was wondering what your overhang is from the face of the cabinet to the countertop. I love that yours looks like a solid cap. I’m trying to explain this to my installer. Thanks in advance for your reply! Blessings- theresa

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