There’s nothing ordinary about interior designer Kerry Phelan’s East Melbourne home. For a start, it’s an apartment in a gorgeous 1880s building a mere drop punt from the MCG. You could hold a party in most of the rooms, with their soaring ceilings, polished floorboards and lofty proportions.
Kerry, formerly a director of Hecker Phelan & Guthrie, established Kerry Phelan Design Office with her partner Stephen Javens, about seven years ago. Working with a team of 20, they are responsible for some of Melbourne’s best commercial and residential interiors
The couple moved to the apartment last November. It is like a gallery and full of designer furniture, art, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and glassware.
In the bedroom, a snowy white room with soft linen curtains, the padded bed, unusually, has its back to the door rather than pushed against a wall. At first glance it looks like a sofa, but somehow it works.
Walls are painted in Dulux Vivid White, echoing the rest of the apartment; the paint is used in many of the company’s projects.
LIVING ROOM (above)
I relax on this B&B Italia sofa and ottoman. We had it recovered in yellow Maharam mohair velvet. Loulou has an orange day bed with a vintage Moroccan kilim. The black side table is by Franco Albini.
She is an Australian shepherd – they were developed in America – and nearly two. She goes everywhere with us. If we walk to work in the city it takes about 12 minutes. She’s great fun and a real stress buster in the office.
It’s by indigenous artist, Reko Rennie. He’s energetic and prolific, young and contemporary. I came across him about seven years ago and I loved his work. We bought this piece last year.
SHIRO KURAMATA CHAIR
I wonder why more people haven’t appreciated these. They’ve flown under the radar. I nearly bought one in 2004 and finally got one last December. It was designed about 1984. I adore it. It’s bloody brilliant and has a wonderful sculptural element.
PHOTOGRAPH OF THE QUEEN
We’ve had this for about nine years and I think it’s gorgeous. Photographer Polly Borland was lucky to get the shot and it was a genius idea to have the Marimekko fabric backdrop. I found it in the city gallery, the Murray White Room.
I found these bronze bird candleholders on Instagram in a vintage store in Paris. We bought them last year and had them shipped over. They’re by Pierre Casenove and were made at the Fondica foundry in Paris in 1980.
MIXED MEDIA SCULPTURE
I found this in the Conny Dietzschold Gallery, in Sydney, about eight years ago. It’s from Berlin and by artist Victor Bonato and called Lohn der Arbeit, which means rewarding the work.
This is special because it’s one of two weavings I’ve got that belonged to my late father, Tas Phelan. It was designed by K.H. Kaeppel, made by the European company Tisca, and bought from Halcyon Lake in the early ’70s.
These are special because Stephen bought them on a trip to Chengdu in China, about 11 years ago. The white ceramic Pollo vase is by Tapio Wirrkala for Rosenthal. It’s been said it looks like a boob.
Our white padded bed is part of our furniture range. It’s covered in an alpaca fabric. The floor lamp is by Flos Toio, the painting over the fireplace is a Robert Owen and the ottoman is Bovist by Vitra. We used soft linen fabric for the curtains.
It’s by Tom Dixon, solid Indian marble and from dedece Melbourne. There were two and I wish I’d bought them both. It’s a contemporary, absolutely gorgeous side table and every one is different.