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Building A Family Legacy On Local Manufacturing, With Abode Living

Creative People

Family businesses are few and far between in this day and age, so when we come across a good one – we shout it from the rooftops!

Abode Living was founded in 1991 by Robert Adair (whose family opened the famous haberdashery store by the same name on Chapel Street in the early 1900s!). Robert opened the first Abode store in Camberwell in 2000, which now contains the company’s production facilities and offices all in one building. Nearly everything is designed and developed here in Melbourne!

Robert’s son Ben and daughter-in-law Amelia joined the bedding and textile business in 2005 and have been there ever since, as have many of their staff. With local manufacturing and small business close to their hearts, this is a true legacy story!

15th October, 2021

Abode Living has been making luxury bedding since 1991. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Abode Living HQ in Camberwell! The retail space is at the front, office upstairs, and production facilities out the back. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Adair family! From left: Amelia Marasco Adair (creative director), Robert Adair (founder), Ben Adair (managing director). Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Nearly all of Abode Living’s products are designed and developed in Melbourne, with a few sourced from Portugal. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Abode Living’s range includes bedding, pillows, quilts, towels and living products. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Amelia with trade manager, Louise Jacob, who has worked at Abode for 10 years and knows all of her regular customers and clients by name! Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Robes for bedroom and bathroom in all different shades. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Details of the finely crafted products. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Mixing and matching cool, breezy pieces for the perfect bedscape! Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Handcrafters working in the production facilities, which sit behind the retail space in Camberwell. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Adairs are a traditional haberdashery family, founding the eponymous brand on Chapel Street in the early 1900s. Robert Adair branched out on his own in 1991 to create Abode! Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

All the textile workers behind the scenes. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Collaborating on production techniques. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Pillow stuffing! Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Styling and dressing a campaign is also an important side of the biz. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 15th October 2021

‘We all have shared goals and are driven by our common vision to create world class, quality products in Melbourne.’ – Amelia Marasco Adair

Sometimes you have to wade through a lot of jargon to get to the bottom of a brand’s production line, but Abode Living is one of the few local brands that has it all there for you to see. Behind their retail space in Camberwell is their manufacturing space, where nearly all their bedding, pillows, towels and lounge products are made on-site (a tiny fraction are imported from Portugal) from beautiful European fabrics by a team of dedicated specialists.

Abode’s collections aren’t dictated by trends. Their ranges are timeless, and made to last. Each collection is made in small volumes too, to avoid waste and to ensure that every product is up to their exacting standard of quality control. There are many reasons we love this brand!

Amelia Marasco Adair has been working at the family company for 15 years. As creative director, she has a hands-on role in the development of all of Abode’s bedding and pillow collections, from designing spaces and products to print and digital materials.

‘We aspire to seek out the best quality materials to manufacture the highest quality home lifestyle products,’ she says of Abode Living’s brand ethos. ‘We aim to create products that are accessible, sustainable, and beautifully designed and be the very best at what we do.’

We caught up with Amelia at Abode’s Camberwell HQ to see behind-the-scenes of this legacy family business.

Abode is a family business, which is pretty rare in this day and age! What’s so great about working with your family?

We have a rich family history going back five generations on the Adair side, which means we have a proud tradition and heritage in manufacturing and retailing. We are deeply inspired to continue the traditions of our family histories and committed to each other and the teamwork and respect that is required to work with family. We all have shared goals and are driven by our common vision to create world class, quality products in Melbourne.

Why do you choose to manufacture locally?

This can be best summed up for two reasons; flexibility and quality control. By manufacturing ourselves we can control and tailor elements (such as shrinkage), make allowances for special sizes and add all of our precise detailing. By manufacturing locally, we can assure that our products are made on site to our exacting standards.

We have an exceptional team of experienced, local, passionate, loyal, committed and long serving team members. Several have worked with Abode for 20+ years!

Louise Jacob, our Trade Sales Manager, has been with us for seven years; Sue Gantner, Store Manager, has worked at Abode for 26 years and knows all of our regular customers by name; Jane Edmonds is our resident linen expert and sales gun and has worked in our store for 27 years; Sajila Dickson, our Manufacturing Manager, has been here for 21 years; and Kathy Mills, our Accountant, has worked with us for close to 25 years. Now that really says that it’s a good place to work!

As creative director, do you have any key references or inspiration you look to when designing a collection?

When designing products and spaces, I am deeply connected and moved by colour. I love nothing more than poring through swatches, whether it be for texture or colour inspiration. I am so grateful to be in a role that allows me to play with colour and design a great deal of the time!

I am from Italian heritage, so I am also deeply inspired by my cultural upbringing. I am so proud that the majority of our fabrics are sourced from Italy and that I have that connection steeped in our products. I am deeply aligned with the Abode ethos of sourcing natural fibres and presenting them in a respectful and sustainable way. I am a firm believer in the buy less, buy better philosophy.

Abode has been around for more than 30 years now – what have been some of your most memorable projects?

Manufacturing in Melbourne allows us to customise and create bespoke products in-house, with the ability to tailor sizing, finishes and trims for a huge variety of projects. To date, we have created bed linen for all manner of spaces; European beds, circular beds, yachts, superyachts, boats, caravans and planes! We love a new design challenge and playing a role in fulfilling a client’s vision.

Browse Abode Living’s range of quality bedding, towels, pillows, bathroom + living products online here or in-store at 331 Camberwell Road, Camberwell.

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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