Home Tour: An Artful Sydney Home With Laid-Back Style
Nestled in the thick of some luscious landscaping and a few minutes walk from Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach lies the quaint three-story apartment of Vicki Lee, painter and founder of lifestyle brand TheTwentyTwo. “This place has seen many years, many flatmates, many hairstyles, and so many memories,” shares Lee, who has lived in the space for some time and currently shares the abode with her photographer boyfriend Ted O'Donnell.
With two creative minds as residents, the dwelling has an eclectic mix of beautiful artwork, soulful collected belongings, and quirky accents that make the three-bedroom apartment a true home.
Being within such close proximity to one of the world’s most desirable beaches, it’s no surprise that the home and its décor seeks to maximise indoor/outdoor living. “There is a huge old tree by the pool I named Augustus when I moved in,” says Lee. “The house is built so it sits in this tree. Half the house is glass to give this feeling of closeness to the trees.”
The design of the home developed naturally over time, evolving into a truly personal space representative of Lee and O’Donnell. “The place's décor and art has been a natural progression and acquirement over the years,” Lee tells us. “I try not to keep anything unless I absolutely love it because neatness and organisation isn't my forte!”
“I wish I could take more credit for directing a particular ‘look’,” says Lee. But it’s her collected approach to decorating the space that created a personalised, laid-back home. “It has a relaxed, random vibe but hopefully it’s not messy!”
When asked to share her favourite aspect of the apartment itself, the visionary in Lee emerges. “It’s the natural light,” she says. “Every room is flooded with the most beautiful light, the sensation, taste, and tone of which changes per season.”
Though comfortable furnishings and modern lines characterise the furniture of the home, there is no question in Lee’s mind as to what makes the apartment special. “The best thing inside this home is the art,” she says. “Every piece holds a special memory or represents a particular time in my life,” she says.
The well-loved and fully-stocked kitchen is, like in most houses, the hub of the couple’s home. “My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and preparing food,” Lee shares. “He is a massive food enthusiast. We make our own sauerkraut and kimchi and these things take time.”
“I really feel like cooking is the ultimate creative outlet. It’s about finding the right balance of ingredients and colours in a dish as opposed to strictly following recipes,” the artist shares. “The work Ted and I make in the studio is still second to what we come up with in the kitchen.”
Since art is the primary décor element in the home, Lee seeks to curate an ever-evolving collection. “One of my life goals is to constantly be buying new art,” she shares. “I love the idea of pouring back into a pool of wealth I draw from so often. A lot of our collection is our own, from a series Ted and I have shot together.”
When it comes to building an art collection, Lee has learned to follow her instincts. “We bought a huge silver sculpture from a gallery in Hong Kong when we really shouldn't have, but it was one of those moments when a higher force tells you to and every time I look at it I remember how important it is to be bold sometimes!” exclaims Lee.
“The underlying theme of our collection of art is movement because that’s how we see life,” the painter shares. “Constant movement forward, backward, sideways.“
The apartment’s pool and outdoor area is easily accessed from the kitchen and main living rooms. “In the summertime, we spend all our time outdoors,” Lee tells us. “The pool is the perfect post-beach retreat.”
The weathered daybed not only adds a romantic, worldly element to their space, but functions for them as well. “Ted brought home the daybed one day so we could eat our Mediterranean breakfasts on it in spring and summer with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden,” she shares.
The luscious pool and backyard landscaping is supplemented by the couple’s collection of potted plants. “We are constantly on the lookout for new plants,” Lee says. “You can never have enough!”
While summer has turned to autumn here in the States, down under, Lee and O’Donnell are lucky to be entering the season where their home most shines. As the couple shares, “Spring has to be the most magnificent of all the seasons for the house!”
Do you take a similarly laid-back approach to decorating? Tell us about it below!