This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

David and Lolly of Codename Tom!


2nd February, 2011
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 2nd February 2011

St Elmo – the incredible Dromana home of David and Lolly – aka Codename Tom! (check out that VIEW!)

AMAZING loungeroom with views of the ocean!  Back wall – Modernist Buffet & Drinks Cabinet from a French Ocean Liner by E Verot and R Clement, Chambre Syndicale de l’Ameublement, Paris.  Bestlite BL1 Desk Lamp by Robert Dudley Best, England (also pictured below).  Mid-century signed & numbered Royal Copenhagen Faiance Vases, Denmark.  1950s Murano Green Vase (both pictured again below).  Artwork ‘The Market-Place, Nice’ by Louis Duffy (Ireland) 1949-50.

Loungeroom details.  Top right and bottom left – Bestlite BL1 Desk Lamp by Robert Dudley Best, England, Mid-century signed & numbered Royal Copenhagen Faiance Vases, Denmark, 1950s Murano Green Vase.  Bottom right -Hans Wegner Rocking Chair, Denmark, c.1950’s.

Looking back into the dining area (details captioned below)

Pirkka Dining Setting by Ilmaari Tapiovaara by Laukaan Puu (Finland) 1955.  Artwork above dining table ‘Painting-7’ by Ludwik Dutkiewicz (Australia) c.1957. Top right image – Artwork ‘The Bathers’ by Stirling C Westerlund, USA, c.1936, and 1950’s Tricoloured Floor Lamp. Framed Painting bottom left – ‘Woman’s Face’ by Louis Van Roode, c.1960, Netherlands, bottom right image – 1950’s German Modernist Bent Ply Chair by Baumann, 1950’s Side Table by Rosando.

Closer view of the couch… and more with the view.  Sorry can’t help myself.

Balcony and that view again!

OH MY GOODNESS. Deep breaths.  It is finally time to share with you a home that really must be seen to be believed…!   Jenny B and I have been holding this one in our hot little hands for a few weeks now, waiting for the right moment… and today, my friends, is finally the day to introduce you to St Elmo!

Altogether now – ‘oooohhhh!’

Never in my life have I seen a functional modern home SO stringently committed to mid-century styling! A visit to St Elmo instantly transports you back in time – there is not a single item that appears to have been crafted after about 1975! VERY impressive.

Not surprisingly, homeowners David and Lolly are not simply mid-century enthusiasts, they’re experts. The pair source and sell an incredible range of mid-century furniture & lighting through their business, Codename Tom, which operates online, and from a showroom set up at their home!

David and Lolly met in London (where David is from) over twenty years ago, and were fortunate enough to own some beautiful modernist and mid-century homes in England over the years before relocating to Australia. Upon moving to Melbourne, the pair established Codename Tom, trading from retail shops in Fitzroy and Sorrento.  BUT that all changed in late 2007 when David stumbled upon St Elmo – an incredible (but very run-down) 1957 Chancellor & Patrick designed house in Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.

David was instantly smitten, Lolly was soon convinced, and the pair made a big decision – moving to Dromana, closing their retail shops and focusing all their energy to restore this architectural gem to its former glory!  The plan was to build within it a gallery space from which to relaunch Codename Tom as an online retailer. After all – they would always tell clients that they only stocked pieces they would have in their own home – that is literally true now!

David says the renovation was challenging, mainly because they were committed to restoring the house to its full mid-century glory. ‘It was a huge labour of love’, says David ‘especially for a house that the estate agents were expecting to be knocked over for a (no-doubt bland) new-build, to take advantage of the wonderful corner site and amazing bay views.’ Of course it was also an extremely rewarding project, especially since David and Lolly are self professed ‘serial renovators’ and St Elmo without a doubt will be the ‘forever house’ for their family (which also numbers 5 (‘and a half!’) year old son Buddy and Tink, an 8 month old rescue Jack Russell).

Although David and Lolly have the showroom beneath their home, Codename Tom has new stock constantly arriving, so the pair have become accustomed to spreading new pieces throughout the house.  The upside of this is that showroom visitors invariably end up getting the full guided tour! (I think they should charge admission!)

David and Lolly were pretty lucky to find St Elmo…. but St Elmo was SUPER lucky to find them too!  I am not sure anyone else could have achieved such a painstakingly perfect mid-century restoration.  Can you imagine if this place had been knocked DOWN!?  Quel Horreur.

Do pop over to Codename Tom to check out their incredible range…. and whilst the weather is still nice I HIGHLY recommend a trip to Dromana !  You will not be disappointed! (Codename Tom showroom pics below!)

Codename Tom showroom – LOVE that pair of numbered Lido Lounge chairs out the front – designed by Gino and Battista Giudici 1935.

Current stock at Codename Tom! Top left – System 1-2-3 Armchair by Verner Panton for Fritz Hansen, Denmark, c. 1973.  Top right – Penguin Chair by Kofod Larsen, Denmark, c.1950, Bottom left – glassware collectec by Lolly, Bottom right – 1950’s Multi-Coloured School Lockers, England, 1948.  LCW Chair by Charles and Ray Eames, Manufactured by Evans Products Company, USA, Pinocchio Table Lamp by H. Busquet for Hala Zeist, Netherlands c.1953

HUGE THANKS To David, Lolly and hilarious little Buddy for sharing their incredible home with us, and for all the through credits!  I cannot believe this place has not been in a magazine yet.  Only a matter of time. :)


Details from the hallway, including ‘We’re New, We’re Retro’ painting by Josh Lord, Australia, c.2005.

Kitchen details – David said they actually ordered RED tiles for the splashback, but received yellow by mistake – happy accident!

Buddy’s bedroom – artworks by DAVID! (‘Copies of Mr. Men houses, I have to admit’ he says)

Composition by Buddy!

Master bedroom – Bed and Lacquered Bedside Table by PEL, England, c.1931-32.  American Wall-Mounted Wooden Sculpture, c.1950s.  On hallway wall to left – ‘London’ signed linocut by Edward Bawden, England, c.1932

Master bedroom details –  amazing bed and lacquered bedside tables by PEL, England, c.1931-32.  American Wall-Mounted Wooden Sculpture above bed, c.1950’s.  Blondwood & Vitrolite Desk & Dressing Table with Matching Chair by Rosando, 1950’s.

Artwork in Master Bedroom – including ‘Kenneth Williams’ by Grand Central Design, Manchester England, signed and numbered print, 1990, and American Wall-Mounted Wooden Sculpture above bed, c.1950’s.

The best guest room on the Peninsula!  “As I Opened Fire…..” triptych by Roy Liechtenstein 1963, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam edition print.  Ben from the Conran Shop London (c. 1999).

Downstairs TV room.  Top image – Facett Chair by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, (C. 2005) at rear Taking A Line For A Walk Chair by Alfredo Haberli (c. 2007), Artwork on wall in corner “Double Espresso’, signed & numbered lithograph by Lo Cole (England), 1950’s French Triple Stem Three Shade French Floor Lamp, France.  Pics below – Tink chills out in the TV room while we photograph, and another pair of original modernist watercolours by Lo Cole (England).

The downstairs TV room.  Andy Warhol ‘Campbells Tomato Soup’ Limited Edition Framed Art Rug, 1950’s California-Modern Style Drum Shade Floor Lamp, 1950’s Plywood Framed Modernist Sofa.

More from the downstairs TV room – including LCW Eames chairs (like EVERYWHERE!) and David and Lolly’s collection of reference books.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email