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Frag and Naomi Woodall

Homes

Today’s home in Sydney is truly unlike any Australian home we’ve photographed before. This beautiful two bedroom apartment feels like a little slice of Scandinavia, plonked right into the heart of Sydney. It is home to designer Frag Woodall and his wife Naomi, a history teacher.

13th May, 2015

The Scandinavian inspired Sydney home of Frag and Naomi Woodall. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Hanging cabinets and peg rail designed and built by MrFrag Studios with vases and vessels by Anne Black, Samantha Robinson, Object Gallery. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen details. Hanging cabinets and peg rail designed and built by MrFrag Studios, Marimekko tea towel and various assorted Scandi inspired homewares collected by the couple over the years. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Designer and furniture maker Frag Woodall of MrFrag Studios in his Sydney home. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The living room looking outwards onto Frag and Naomi’s combined dining space/sunroom featuring Grasshopper lamp designed by Greta M Grossman from Cult and fiddleleaf fig plant, which is harder than it looks to keep healthy! Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The timber panelled living room including Grasshopper lamp designed by Greta M Grossman from Cult, throw and cushions from Hay, antique Japanese vase, and lounge redesigned by MrFrag Studios with credenza made by MrFrag Studios. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Sunroom and dining space details. Original Borg Morgensen J39 dining chairs, Bitossi blue ceramics, carafe and glasses by Wrong for Hay, and custom table made by MrFrag studios. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Living room details. Credenza by MrFrag Studios, artwork by Sophia Szyilagyi entitled ‘Settling’, from Otomy gallery, Vedel timber bird sculptures and Muji New York city building blocks. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The master bedroom looking onto the sunroom with original Borg Morgensen J39 dining chairs and custom table made by MrFrag studios. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Main bedroom details including Ilium chair by MrFrag Studios, hide from Great Dane furniture, and artwork by Rene Twigge from Otomy Gallery. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Second bedroom featuring Cloud side table by MrFrag Studios, Marigold rug by Armadillo&Co, deer doona cover by Nord, cushions by Oneanother Design, custom light by MrFrag studios, and artwork by Chris Warnes. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Second bedroom detail. Framed Third Drawer Down tea towel, ceramics from Africa and Frag’s ever expanding collection of Monocle Magazine. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bathroom details. Custom made shower and tap ware by MrFrag Studios. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Vedel timber bird sculpture, vintage books and Amanda Dziedzic glass dome vessel. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Cloud side table by MrFrag Studios deconstructed and ready for assembly! Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Cloud side table by MrFrag Studios, a new product from Frag’s design and furniture studio beneath his building. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The European influence here isn’t entirely surprising. Homeowner Frag Woodall is a talented designer who, along with his wife Naomi, is a huge fan of the distinctive interiors in Northern Europe. ‘Having spent some time in Scandinavia we have always been enamoured with the traditional ‘summer houses’, and the way they make the most of the light’ says Frag. Almost all the design and decoration choices in Frag and Naomi’s Kensington apartment reflect an inherent Scandinavian sensibility.

One of nine apartments in this 1930’s block, this apartment had previously been a long term rental, and was very neglected when Frag and Naomi first took possession of the property in 2011. It was thread-bare, painted brown and butter yellow, and had very few redeeming features, but Frag instantly saw its potential.

‘I thought it was crazy that no one else saw the diamond that it was’ says Frag. ‘It actually got passed in at auction and went through two estate agencies because there was no interest’. Frag and Naomi had been desperately hunting for an apartment with high ceilings and natural light, but the thing that really clinched it in the end was the layout. ’It’s only small at 80sqm, but it has a circular layout with no dead space or hallways. You get an aspect into at least two other rooms from any place you’re standing’ Frag says enthusiastically.

Frag had a clear vision of what he wanted to create here right from the beginning. Taking on the role of both designer and builder, he started work straight away to transform the space into a light, airy and welcoming home.

‘I wanted a simple, reduced colour and material palate, but a heightened attention to detail, hence the softened corners on the walls, corded light switches and the handmade shutters’ says Frag. Frag is ALL about the details. He machined his own customised curved architraves for the windows in the sunroom, and he softened the hard corners on all the internal doorways here by physically sawing and sanding back the plasterwork by hand (I have never, ever seen this done before!).

In their original state, the floorboards were not pretty, with lots of defects and knot holes, so it was agreed they would be painted white throughout. The consistent use of white on floors and walls is balanced by the use of rough Baltic pine panelling in the living room. Frag and Naomi also added timber beams throughout the apartment – the larger ones across the openings are structural, whilst the lighter beams are not structural but create a beautiful rhythm and continuity linking the various spaces together.

The walls here have all been painted a flat white with 0% gloss. ‘This is normally used on ceilings and is usually a ‘no-no’ for walls as it sensitive to marking, the benefits, however, are that with no reflectivity they disappear into infinity and create a super soft feel’ Frag explains.

In keeping with Frag’s impressively restrained palette and intense attention to detail, there’s also a great deal of consistency in Frag and Naomi’s pared back selection of furniture, artwork and accessories. Much of the furniture here has been designed and made by Frag – we LOVE his sweet Cloud side tables, now available from Cult nationally! A few key vintage finds add a layer of depth and interest – one particularly perfect addition is the barn door in the bathroom, with it’s soft blue aged patina, which originally came from a lavender farm in the south of France.

‘I was conscious of not changing colours and materials too much between the rooms, which helps it feel much larger than its 80 square metres’ Frag explains. ‘It was important to us to develop a calmness with simple and pared back furniture, letting the light and natural surroundings do all the work’.

If you, like me, are impressed with Frag’s incredible work here, do check out his furniture design website, MrFrag Studios!

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