As is evidenced on every wall in the truly remarkable home they share in St Kilda, Sandra Powell and Andrew King are passionate about art. Their specific area of interest is street art, in all its forms. As collectors, consultants and long term supporters of Melbourne’s street art culture, Sandra and Andrew have amassed an incredible collection of artwork by local and international artists over the years, many of whom have become close friends. Amongst their collection are works by Banksy, Rone, Lush, as well as pieces painted directly onto walls by Kid Zoom, Vexta and Adnate – alongside works by Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Anthony Lister and Barry McGee, to name only a few.
It all started with the house. After spotting this rambling St Kilda mansion advertised in the paper, Sandra came for a look. ‘It was love at first sight, for both me and the house’ she recalls. ‘I actually felt the house breath with relief that we had found each other’. That was 28 years ago, and Sandra and Andrew have since raised a family here, renovated and updated their home, hosted various international artists in the stables / studio in their back garden, and commissioned countless artworks to adorn their walls. Their children have since flown the nest, but Sandra and Andrew still feel very much at home here.
Built in 1884, Sandra and Andrew’s house was first occupied by a well known jeweller. Then, for many years, it was the main Buddist ashram in Melbourne, and is said to have been visited by The Dalai Lama. Fittingly, Shepard Fairey’s portrait of His holiness now has pride of place in the living room, and as Sandra says, ‘the house has great karma’.
With immense Victorian proportions, the house provides the perfect backdrop for Sandra and Andrew’s art and furniture collections. They’re particularly fond of their art deco furniture. ‘Before we started to collect art, Andrew and I went through a stage of collecting art deco furniture.’ says Sandra. ‘Many people come to the house to look at our art collection, but love our furniture equally’.
When asked what he loves most about living here, Andrew doesn’t skip a beat. ‘To be surrounded by fabulous art, and to share my passion for it with Sandra!’ he says. Sandra is equally enthused, but a little less decisive. ‘I love the whole house – the high ceilings, timber floors, the garden, and all the memories the house holds of our children growing up here’ she says, adding ‘and, of course, it is great to have so many walls for art!’