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At Home With One Of Australia's Great Furniture Retailers

Homes

Today’s homeowners had an enviable set of skills to draw upon for the renovation of their Sydney terrace: with a furniture importer and manufacturer, architect, interior designer, builder and (importantly!) accountant all on family speed dial!

We chat with furniture retailer and manufacturer Richard Munao of Cult about renovating his 1870’s terrace Chippendale with wife Lisa (an interior designer) and children Alex and Liana.

19th September, 2018

Custom-built joinery in contemporary family home of Richard Munao and Lisa Munao in Sydney. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Good taste runs in the family! Richard Munao is the founder and managing director of Cult, and his wife Lisa is an interior designer. Pictured here in their living room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking out from the living space to the courtyard. The brown leather Arne Jacobson Swan Chair is among Richard’s most prized possessions! Charlotte Perriand for Cassina Rio coffee table. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A glimpse at the family’s custom-built kitchen bench that extends into a dining table, and runs almost the length of the kitchen and living areas! Limited edition Carl Hansen Wishbone chairs surround the dining table. Arne Jacobson Swan Chair in background. Poul Henningsen copper table lamp from Cult Design on cabinetry in background. Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec Palissade outdoor setting from Cult Design. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The most amazing table of all time – Charlotte Perriand for Cassina Rio coffee table. Cult Tower 20th Anniversary object by Adam Goodrum. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The moody sitting room. PH5 Louis Poulsen pendant from Cult Design. Hay tray table available from Cult Design. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking into the ensuite. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Richard and Lisa bought this 1870’s terrace two years ago, and embarked upon a renovation that only took six months! Arne Jacobson Swan ChairPoul Henningsen copper table lamp from Cult Design.Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The master bedroom. Aran Bed by Adam Goodrum and Bestlite lamp, both available from Cult Design. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A pop of colour in the sitting room. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 19th September 2018

This Chippendale renovation is a true family project, overseen by owners Richard Munao, founder and managing director of Cult, and his wife Lisa Munao, an interior designer. The family purchased the 1870’s terrace two years ago, and immediately set out redesigning the site. Incredibly, Richard describes how they were able to complete the project in ‘six months, including council approvals.’ Now THAT is no mean feat!

This mammoth effort was largely achieved by drawing on the immense skill set within their own family network. Richard explains, ‘we had a furniture importer and manufacturer, architect, interior designer, builder and accountant’ all ready to lend a hand. Richard’s brother owns iBuild, and their team were able to start the building and demolition work at rapid speed, following Lisa and her father (architect Richard Dinham) submitting the development application to council.

This whirlwind of activity drew upon a vast network of expertise, and has resulted in a truly stunning outcome! The resulting home is a combination of ‘old and new’ which celebrates the original terrace, with a fresh and contemporary update. For Richard, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and a ‘perfect design solution for a narrow space.’ Running the length of the living and dining spaces is a custom-built-in kitchen bench that graduates to a dining table, anchoring the space and providing a key social point.

The eye-catching glass pivot door is also a major feature of the home, which performs as both a picture window and portal into the courtyard. Richard enthuses, ‘when it is closed you feel equally connected to the garden.’ The urban answer to indoor/outdoor living!

This is an elegant and understated home, and unsurprisingly, the Munao’s epic furniture collection is the star of the show! Boasting a number of pieces from Cult, alongside other classics, Richard explains how he and Lisa worked together to develop a design strategy which combined ‘all the great brands we represent’. Particularly special pieces are the limited edition Fritz Hansen Swan chair  (Richard’s prized possession!) and the limited edition Carl Hansen Wishbone chairs.

Despite the enviable furniture collection, there’s a surprising lack of fuss or pretence here. At its heart, this is a home that conveys a deep appreciation for classic, timeless design – a passion that transcends both home life and work life, for one of Australia’s most respected furniture retailers.

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