Stories

Living not Decorating

With an emphasis on well-lived and well-loved apartment spaces, Living not Decorating tips its hat to interesting and idiosyncratic living and working spaces locally and internationally. A home comes in many permutations. We want to see how people live, the things they choose to surround themselves with, and the objects and ephemera that makes them feel at home. Homes and workspaces are photographed as we find them, with their inhabitants as our personal guide. The aim is to inspire you, good reader, to live simply, ingeniously and happily by your own design.

Nomadic Life: Danielle de Picciotto & Alexander Hacke

Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke, who perform as hackedepicciotto, are legends of Berlin's independent music scene. They share their experiences, and what they have learnt from living on the road with Cat McGauran.

Tomoko and Takaaki Shiratori in Komaba

Tomoko and Takaaki Shiratori have lived all over Japan; from a 'New Town' in Yokohama, to Aichi Prefecture and now in Nerima, Tokyo. Their shared love of gardening means the rooftop is filled with fruits and vegetables, while Tomoko has a passion for reading aloud and talking, which she says, keeps her energised!

Laura & Megan: Personal Politics

Australians Laura Castagnini and Megan Wong moved to London four years ago to pursue their passions: contemporary art and political activism. Between feminist art history and human rights law, this is a couple whose shared life is dedicated to shifting culture. We visit their home in Camberwell, close to radical art spaces, farmers' markets and tiny green parks.

Planet X: An Intentional Community

The Planet X housing co-op in Sydney's Chippendale area gives members of the LGBTIQA+ community more than just stable housing. Anita Delle-Vergini speaks with Chris Ryan and Holly Zwalf about the life-changing potential of co-op living.

On Dining Tables and Divorce

Rectangular dining tables are pervasive in western culture. Ella Lord explores the power dynamics at play around dining tables, and speaks with two couples who have designed their own tables that reflect the non-traditional structures within their families.

David & Sean: An Intrinsic Way of Life

Attention to detail and a shared passion for design has seen Melbourne artists David Rosetzky and Sean Meilak transform a rundown terrace into a home filled with light and love.

MATT AND JUSTIN: ANCESTRAL MAGIC

Artists Justin Shoulder and Matt Stegh live, work and breathe for their community. Across performance, costuming, queer parties and nightlife, the two combine the personal and the political – a fusion expressed beautifully within their home. On a still, sunny winter morning in Sydney’s Summer Hill, I had the pleasure of visiting Justin and Matt at home, where they’ve lived since 2011.

Tokyo Life: Kai-Ting Lin

"In Japan, old things tend to be well looked after and so even vintage items that are 50 years old still look beautiful today". In the fourth instalment of our ‘Tokyo Life’ series brought to you via R-ESTATE TOKYO, Ben Davis chats to curator and creator Kai-Ting Lin about the anachronistic beauty of the well-worn.

Tokyo Life: Matsuki Narishige & Yumiko Kikuchi

This week we bring you the third instalment in our series on 'Tokyo Life' – a special edition of our Living Not Decorating brought to us via R-ESTATE TOKYO’s ‘Keys to the City’ interview series. Tokyo-based editor Ben Davis chats to hairdresser/photographer Matsuki Narishige and writer/book-lover Yumiko Kikuchi about the creative comforts of collecting.

Tokyo Life: David Glaettli

It’s time for the second instalment of ‘Tokyo Life’ – the special Living Not Decorating series brought to us by R-ESTATE TOKYO. This week, Ben Davis speaks with David Glaettli – creative director of Japanese furniture brand Karimoku New Standard – about nomadic living, the influence of Kyoto on his practice, and life in his Toritsu-Daigaku home.

Jim, Hana & Nonna’s Vertical Playground

Nightlife-loving Sydneysiders may already know of Jim Singline and Hana Shimada through Goodgod Small Club, the basement venue the couple founded in the mid-2000s and eventually sold in 2015. Rafaela Pandolfini shares an Aperol Spritz with Jim and Hana at their Redfern terrace to hear about their work, their home and how the two are intrinsically connected.

Tokyo Life: Genta Narita’s Yoyogi pad

Genta Narita is the manager of Tas Yard, a kissaten (literally a "tea-drinking shop") in Sendagaya, Tokyo. In this special edition of Living Not Decorating brought to us via R-ESTATE TOKYO's 'Keys to the City' interview series, Tokyo-based editor Ben Davis speaks with Genta Narita about his home in Yoyogi and what it means to live well in Tokyo.

Amee & Karl’s Brutalist Maisonette

Inside the 16-storey Keeling House in London's Bethnal Green, PR specialist Amee Patel and illustrator Karl Maier (one half of transatlantic duo Craig & Karl) welcome us into their Brutalist maisonette inspired by the Japanese concept of 'zakka'. Rachel Elliot-Jones and photographer Morgan Brown drop in on the couple to chat about their work, their daily routines and their Brutally beautiful London abode.

Tai, Simon, Leo & Gil: Welcome to the Dollhouse

For artist Tai Snaith and architect Simon Knott, good design is less about aesthetics than it is about what it actually means to live in a space: they believe architecture should be about people over built objects. Ghita Loebenstein and Tom Ross pay a visit to the couple's Northcote home, the 'Dollhouse', where they live with their two children, Leo and Gil.

Jesse, Katie, Jarrah & Willow: Banksia block party

According to the 2011 census, in Banksia ­– named after the Australian wildflower ­– 50% of residents were born outside Australia, making it a true ‘melting pot’ of Macedonian, Chinese, Lebanese and migrant Australian cultures. Rafaela Pandolfini drops by the renovated Federation-era home of Jesse and Katie Maling and their two sons to learn about the family’s story of Banksia-infused life and love.

Jane: house in the clouds

Jane Caught is an architect and co-founder of multi-disciplinary collective, SIBLING. Recently, SIBLING relocated its Melbourne studio to Curtin House, a short stroll from Jane’s rented apartment in the Jackson Clements Burrows-designed, and Piccolo-developed, Upper House. Tom Ross visits Jane at her 75m2 apartment on the 14th floor, before the SIBLING workday begins.

Karlee, Oliver & Ced: crazy, creaky wonderland

Karlee Sangster and Oliver Hextall are a multi-talented couple who live in a shopfront on Brunswick's busy Sydney Road. Between looking after her 13-month-old son, Cedric, making clothes, writing for car magazines, and running her plant consulting business, Karlee gave us a tour of their greenery-filled home and locale.

Maxine & Jonny’s Coburg Cottage

This petite cottage in Coburg is where Maxine and Jonny call home, and for the last five years have lovingly tended the garden into an oasis and lined the walls with beautiful things. Their happiness here, however, has much to do with the character of Coburg itself as it does with each other, and this is an ode to them Living Not Decorating in the heart of the suburb.

Dom’s Juke Joint

Dominic Bourke is a teacher, poet, builder and musician. Now based in Beijing with his wife, Celeste, and two children Luella and Raphael, he reflects upon the Strathewen Juke Joint he has (temporarily) left behind – a retreat he built himself using reclaimed materials following the devastation of the Black Saturday fires.

Surface Encounters: The Whitmans

Doyens of style, much revered hosts, sisters, and (most of all) best friends, Pollyanna and Phoebe Whitman are formidable forces in the Melbourne creative world. Together with two dear friends (Tom and Hannes) and perpetual puppy Hugo, they live in the NMBW-designed 'Fitzroy Apartments' on Kerr Street. Olga Bennett pays a home visit.

Dan, Paul, Eike: mid-city mountain cabin

Dan Honey and Paul Fuog are Melbourne design luminaries. Together with their young daughter Eike, they live in a Clare Cousins-designed apartment in Melbourne's iconic Bible House building. Olga Bennett visits them at home.

Wanderlust waratah: Jenny Kee

Jenny Kee is a fashion pioneer. Never one to follow, Jenny spent the heady, flower-power era pursuing life, love and art in London in the 60s. Since returning home to Australia in the 1970s, Jenny has cemented her name as a cultural icon through her vibrant fashion and art that celebrates Australian landscape and culture. Surrounded by waratah and wattle, Rafaela Pandolfini visits Jenny at her Blackheath home.

Shantell: go home, come home

Shantell Martin was once an itinerant artist – now you could say the world is her home. After five years in Tokyo, the Londoner now lives in an illustrated bedroom oasis with walls adorned with her own drawings in Brooklyn, NYC. From performing in underground clubs to being featured in the NY Times, the New Yorker and TED, Shantell is an international star on the rise. Paul Barbera makes a home visit.

Gaby, Maxi, Leo: green house

You may remember the luscious, indoor jungle home of Andrew (Maxi) Walker and Gabriela Holland from our visit earlier this year, when we learnt the DIY recipe for 'kokedama' or string gardens. Pino Demaio makes a return visit to this compact, art deco apartment in East Melbourne to find out more about the plant-obsessed duo behind Pop Plant.