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Suzanne Gorman, Jon McCormick and Family


15th January, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 15th January 2014

The bold dining room of Suzanne Gorman and family!  Tub chairs from Orson & Blake - 'These are vinyl - truly!!' says Suzanne, 'we've had then for 15 years/they still look contemporary'.  Oak dining table by Zuster, Kilim in Chevron stripe by Cadry, Mirror Ball pendants by Tom Dixon, from De De Ce.  'August' acrylic painting on canvas by Belynda Henry, 'Pot of Gold' pot by Pop and Scott on sideboard, with Birds Nest fern by Garden Life.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Dining room details.  Top shelf - 'Sydney Harbour' oil on ply painting by Robert William Reid, from The Egg and Dart Gallery, Thirroul - a favourite gallery of Suzanne and Jon's on the South Coast of NSW, which will be exhibiting more of Reid's art next month, as it happens.  Lime vase on top shelf from Dinosaur Design,  hand made wooden apple vessel with brass leaf on middle shelf by Suzanne's daughter Sami, Origami ball by Hideyo, Bottom shelf - 'Middle harbour', oil on canvas by Craig Parnaby, inky blue ceramic lamp with indigo linen shade designed by Suzanne, fabric from No Chintz, Chubby oak bird by Vedel, from Great Dane.  Oak dining table by Zuster,  Tub chairs from Orson & Blake, Kilim in Chevron stripe by Cadry, Mirror Ball pendants by Tom Dixon, from De De Ce. Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Beautiful kitchen!  Kitchen benchtop in Super White Grain by Stone Italiana, joinery in Dulux Fair Bianca Half and Dulux Domino, Angle Leg Stool in white & oak from Mark Tuckey, MHY pendant lamp in yellow by Muuto, Large Catalina vase on bench top by Country Road.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Detail from the open plan living area at the rear of Suzanne's home. Cocoon Chiminea hanging fireplace from Top3 By Design, Pottery duck, a much loved object made by Suzanne's  clever daughter Sami. Mater Bowl Table in 'natural' from Cult, Wall sculpture by Kenya - from Small Spaces, Vintage 60's style pottery lamp, with shade designed by Suzanne in Acid Yellow Awning Stripe from No Chintz, Pewter & brass vases from Country Road, Nimbu rug in yellow/cream - from Bholu, Screenprint with stripes, small 'Discus Surus' by Rachel Castle - a birthday gift from Rachel Castle, Suzanne's friend and mentor, Acrylic on canvas painting, 'Navy Flower Spot' also by Rachel Castle.... 'no words for how much I love the colours in this piece!' says Suzanne.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Suzanne graciously poses for a portrait in her beautiful kitchen!  Angle Leg Stool in white & oak from Mark Tuckey, MHY pendant lamp in yellow by Muuto, Suzanne wears Gorman.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The home of a interior designer is always a bit special, and today's fabulous family home in Sydney's leafy suburb of Willoughby is certainly no exception.  It belongs to designer Suzanne Gorman, her husband Jon McCormick (an engineer working in corporate property services), and their children, Harry (17 yrs), Sami (14 yrs) and Joe (11 yrs)... and Ivy their sweet little dog.

The McCormick family have been here a long time, almost 15 years.  They first moved here from Bondi Beach in 1999 when Harry (now 17) was only 2 - at the time, of course, theirs was a tiny family of just three, but in the years that have passed, the family has grown, and they've renovated along the way to accommodate each new addition.

'When we bought our house, we liked the potential of both the home, an unrenovated, 1924 Californian Bungalow, and the area too' explains Suzanne. 'The house was quite reminiscent of my maternal grandparents' house in country NSW - also a Californian Bungalow with a large date palm in the garden just like ours, so the decision was partly sentimental' she says.

Suzanne and Jon have renovated their home in stages, starting in 2002. 'We started by landscaping, replanting the garden and building the pool' says Suzanne. The garden is now very established, and the tall trees and foliage make for a beautiful, lush and very private outdoor area.  Major internal renovations commenced four years later, in 2006.  'By that time, with three children, space was getting pretty tight inside - the only shower that worked was in the tiny laundry' recalls Suzanne.  The original four room bungalow was retained, out of respect for the history of the home and surrounding streetscape, whilst a significant contemporary addition comprising kitchen, study and living room on the ground floor, and three bedrooms/two bathrooms upstairs was added.

Initially, Suzanne took on the interior design of these new rooms on her own (before she had formally trained as a designer) but soon realised that the project would benefit from the input of an experienced design team, and so revered Melbourne interior design firm Doherty Lynch were engaged to assist.  Suzanne worked closely with Mardi and Fiona to realise the project, which eventually inspired her own career change.  'I loved the process so much that I went on to study design, and now have my own interior design studio, Suzanne Gorman Projects' says Suzanne, who has been working in the industry for six year now.

Last year, Suzanne gave the home a major restyle, introducing deep indigo paint in the dining room, a yellow front door, new wallpaper in the bathrooms and laundry, a ceiling mural for Sami's bedroom and of a few special pieces of art.  It's clear that Suzanne really treasures these creative opportunities that her home has given her, starting with the original impetus to study interior design.  'I am lucky that I am given a lot of liberty to test my creativity her at home, from my family' she says. 'Last year I was up a ladder painting a mural on my daughter's ceiling while she slept under me. I painted through the night (above her) and when she half woke up in the middle of the night, she gave me a sleepy thumbs up!'

Despite its generous proportions, there's something unmistakably friendly, relaxed and 'real' about this home.  It's clear this is a space used and loved by all members of the family.  'Ultimately we are homebodies, very content to be at home, and I think part of that comes from having pulled this house together over many years' says Suzanne, by way of explanation.  'It has become something that represents us quite well and that tells our story'.  Suzanne says her home feels (mostly!) complete now, and nothing else major is planned....  'a huge relief for Jon', she says!

HUGE thanks to Suzanne and family for sharing their stunning home with us today!  For more of Suzanne's work do pop over and check out her website here.

Downstairs study nook, adjoining kitchen. Wallpaper by Cloth by Julie Patterson. Oak + natural papercord Wegner CH53 stools by Carl Hansen & Sons, from Cult. Drawers from Ikea, Paper art on middle shelf 'Home in Monochrome by Suzanne Gorman, pottery dragon on top shelf - 'Dragon from the East'  made by Suzanne's son Joe, pottery king on top shelf - 'King Regenald' by Suzanne's son Harry, Felt embroidery art on top shelf -'Black Sun' by Rachel Castle. Top right is a print of a Steve Ormandy painting, 'I intend to own one of these one day as an original.... definitely on the dream list is an Ormandy painting!' says Suzanne.  Suzanne's favourite piece of art that she owns is by David Band, 'The Moment', 2009 - it's pictured on her screen saver here, and the original is hanging on her stairs,  unfortuntely we couldn't get a good angle on it and so it's not pictured here, sorry Suzanne!  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Suzanne and Jon's master bedroom is so calm and beautiful and oh so 'grown up'!  It also overlooks the beautiful pool!  Ivory linen quilt cover by Miss Molly, from Temple & Webster, Texidors grey cashmere throw from Mark Tuckey, Charcoal spot & natural spot pillow slips by Rachel Castle, charcoal linen sheets & euro pillow slip by Sheridan, Lanterne Wall Lamp by Pierre & Charlotte, black + white resin container on shelf above bedside by Dinosaur Designs.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Linen armchair from Lived In Coogee, handmade knitted patchwork throw on chair by Judi Cox Handknits & Suzanne Gorman Project, textile art (on left wall) by Be Gunn from Unravelled Textiles, vintage linen curtains with silver ricrac trim, designed by Suzanne Gorman Projects, made by No Chintz, Ivory linen quilt cover by Miss Molly, from Temple & Webster, Texidors grey cashmere throw, from Mark Tuckey, Charcoal spot & natural spot pillow slips by Rachel Castle, Lanterne Wall Lamp by Pierre & Charlotte.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Ensuite. Cararra marble penny round tiles, American oak vanity, basin & taps from Roger Seller.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Suzanne's home studio, from where she runs her interior design consultancy.  Handcrafted ply tressel table with yellow cord, by Tressel Table Co (...after seeing Patrick on The Design Files, apparently!).  'Live What You Love' print, framed, from Heartfish Press, Etsy.  Vintage pottery lamp base with spotted shade, designed by Suzanne, made by No Chintz, wooden tray from Country Road, twig sculptures by Twiggargerie, from Mark Tuckey. Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Ivy, the family pooch, poses for a photo on 17 year old Harry's bed!  Wall banner by Pony RideR, Handmade velvet + felt cushion by Unravelled Textiles, Charcoal velvet pillow slip by Rachel Castle, framed world map wrapping paper, from Nest Homewares, Thirroul. 'Plaid' handloomed woollen throw on ladder at left by Texidors, from Mark Tuckey.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

'The Blue Room' - a smaller lounge room / TV room near the kids' rooms.  Oil on canvas on back wall - 'Women 2' by Sarah Nicotra, Oil on canvas in centre left - 'North Bondi' by Craig Parnaby, Enamel on canvas - Graffiti by Justin Feurring, Rug - 'Segments' by Suzanne Gorman from Designer Rugs, handmade velvet & knitted stripe cushions by Judi Cox Handknits & Suzanne Gorman Projects, Mini Zaishu stools by Spacecraft, 'Fly' acrylic pendant in 'petrol blue' by Kartell, Sofa by King Furniture.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

14 year old Sami's bedroom. Aquarius cushion by Jonathon Adler, embroidered heart cushion from No Chintz, handmade patchwork cushion by Unravelled Textiles, fluoro pink spot pillow slip & quilt cover by Rachel Castle, fluoro coral 'Necklace Cushion' by Spacecraft, fluoro pink hand screen printed cushion by Bonnie & Neil, steel frame mirror by Mark Tuckey, feather juju hat on wall from Table Tonic, teal blue limited edition Componibili side table by Kartell, Muuto Dot Wall Hook, Wall mural painted by Suzanne Gorman (top right), acrylic on canvas Rainbow by Sami McCormick, seen in reverse of mirror!   Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

11 yr old Joe's bedroom.  Pine Eggcup Stool / sidetable by Mark Tuckey, Watermelon + yellow velvet quilt cover (no longer available) & blue velvet pillow slip from  Rachel Castle, Paper garland from Pomtree, Etsy, 'Van Day Out' wall decal by Clair & Jeremy Weiss for Pony Ride, Rhino cushion from Bo Concept,handmade felt + velvet cushion by Unravelled Textiles.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

11 yr old Joe's bedroom.  Love the sky blue walls and RED details!  Wall behind desk is painted 'Ocean Surf' by Dulux. 'Desk 51' & 'Humble Red Hot Mesh Chair' from Blu Dot Australia.  Framed embroidered handkerchief from Third Drawer Down.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Now that's a backyard to aspire to!  'We built the pool and garden 10 years ago, before we renovated, and did the design ourselves' says Suzanne. The Date Palm is reminiscent of one Suzanne's nan Gorman had in her back garden, so is quite sentimental.  There are a lot of Californian bungalows and date palms in Willoughby - they go together' says Suzanne.  This tree is in fact the only original plant left in the garden - the rest she and Jon planted.  Photo - Sean Fennessy, production - Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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