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The Minimalist Inner-City Sanctuary Of Skincare Guru James Vivian + Ben Esakoff

At Home With Sheridan

Dermal therapist and Viviology skincare founder James Vivian, and Ena Pelly general manager Ben Esakoff, searched across the state for a larger home to buy over Melbourne’s many lockdowns, when it turned out the perfect home was right under their noses!

Their new Prahran home previously belonged to a friend, Gilad Ritz, who designed the recent renovation under his architecture practice Ritz&Ghougassian.

The couple’s contrasting tastes marry perfectly in the space, combining Ben’s minimal, understated styling in the striking contemporary extension, with James’ love of colour, texture, and exuberant art.

Soft furnishings and bedding from Sheridan tie both aesthetics together, simultaneously reflecting the texture of the contemporary addition, with the refined elegance of the original Edwardian home.

12th August, 2022

James and Ben’s main bedroom looks out onto the lush internal courtyard. Sheridan Reilly Quilt Cover Set in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Bed Cover in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Pillow Sham in Carbon. Sheridan Abbotson Linen Flat Sheet in Silver. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

James and Ben’s main bedroom. King size bed featuring Sheridan Reilly Bed Cover in Carbon. Artwork: Seasonal Arrangements by Dane Lovett. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

James and Ben’s main bedroom. King size bed featuring Sheridan Reilly Quilt Cover Set in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Bed Cover in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Pillow Sham in Carbon. Sheridan Abbotson Linen Flat Sheet in Silver. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

James Vivian in the main bedroom, overlooking the internal courtyard. King size bed featuring Sheridan Reilly Quilt Cover Set in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Bed Cover in Carbon. Sheridan Reilly Pillow Sham in Carbon. Sheridan Abbotson Linen Flat Sheet in Silver. . Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Left to right: Totem by Ben Mazey. Untitled (Moth) #43 by Brendan Huntley. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

James’ latest passion project has been the launch of his own cosmeceutical skincare line, Viviology, with Adore Beauty. James wears Sheridan Chiswick Robe in Midnight. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

James and Ben at home! Artwork left to right: Weaver ethereal by Elliat Rich. Melancholic Vase by Glenn Barkley. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The living room looks out to the internal courtyard, with bedroom beyond. Sheridan Westberry Throw (available September). Custom Table by Makiko Ryujin. Untitled sculpture by Caleb Shea. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Sheridan Westberry Throw (available September). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Sheridan Westberry Throw (available September). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Textural soft furnishings soften the architectural lines of the space. Sheridan Woodsdale Cushion in Dust. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Textural soft furnishings soften the space. Sheridan Woodsdale Cushion in Dust. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Forever Painting by Trush Holmes. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

The guest bedroom sits within the original Edwardian part of the home. Sheridan Reilly Bed Cover in Atlantic. Sheridan Clara Wool Blanket in Bone. Sculpture: Did we look away? Brad is maintaining doubt whilst keeping vigilant, doubt and uncertainty will be celebrated after the revolution… till then we must look both ways by Arlo Mountford. Painting: ‘Cosmetic calculator (Atomic Blonde)‘ by Jonny Niesche. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Study/music room. ‘Blue Amphora’  vase by Caro Pattle. Artwork left to right: Smelling a Strangers Wake on a Still Day by Kieren Seymour. Vestige of now: 2 by Tomislav Nikolic. Indigenous fish trap from Maningrida. Crystalline #23 sculpture by Dion Horstmans. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Inside the study/music room. Small Wedgwood urn with classical figures painting by Troy Emery. Number 19 Over the Road Here, Chris Lives Here sculpture by Chris O’Brien. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli

Lucy Feagins
Friday 12th August 2022

‘Once inside, you really could be anywhere in the world.’ – James Vivian

James Vivian and Ben Esakoff felt like the walls of their Cremorne cottage were closing in during Melbourne’s 2020-21 lockdowns, so they went in search of a larger home.

After numerous unsuccessful auctions across the state, a text message led James and Ben to finally finding their perfect new home in Prahran, which was previously owned and designed by their friend, Gilad ‘Gil’ Ritz of architecture practice Ritz&Ghougassian.

James says, ‘One day I said to Ben (in jest), “Shall I text Gil and see if they want to sell us their house?”…Gil replied, ‘Yes!’

The house is a semi-detached Edwardian that features a strong contemporary addition, celebrating exposed concrete and steel in its honest form, around a lush internal courtyard.

With its distinct old and new components, the property is perfectly suited to James and Ben’s contrasting design styles. ‘James has overtaken the old aspect with artwork and decor that suits his style, whilst the newer zones are more pared back and let the architecture do the talking,’ explains Ben.

Reilly washed chambray bedding from Sheridan provides a subtly textured accent akin to the cool brick walls and grid-like forms within the new addition, without overpowering the period architecture in the front rooms. Elsewhere, textural upholstered furniture and soft furnishings including the Woodsdale Cushion soften the hard edges of this space.

James and Ben love the privacy their home offers that feels far removed from its central Melbourne location. The internal courtyard garden with native planting provides a leafy outlook away from the busy streets outside, and the clean architectural lines remind them of Palm Springs, where they were married in 2015.

‘We love that it was made with such care and attention to detail. It is incredibly light and warm. Once inside, you really could be anywhere in the world,’ says James.

Storage has been maximised on the 300 square metre site through thoughtfully concealed spotted gum joinery. In fact, James says the house has been designed so well, it sometimes feels too practical! ‘There are hints of Japanese architecture, mid-century nods and the amount of storage feels, at times, overwhelming. We often cannot find things!’

For James, home is a place where you look forward to opening the door. He appreciates the sanctuary-like feel of this space, which provides much needed respite from his busy work life. The passionate dermal therapist, who opened his eponymous skincare clinic in Melbourne 10 years ago, has also recently launched his own cosmeceutical skincare line, Viviology, with Adore Beauty. The Australian-made and cruelty-free line has been a labour of love for James, who describes the range as ‘everything you need to start your skincare journey, and nothing you don’t’.

All in all, this is a home that provides the perfect backdrop for both work and life. Robust and hard wearing, it’s the perfect canvas for the couple’s beloved art collection, and importantly, allows them breathing space to unwind and reconnect at the end of each busy day.

Shop Sheridan’s latest products at Sheridan Boutiques, sheridan.com.au, David Jones and Myer.

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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 bea@thedesignfiles.net