Every morning on the walk to her kitchen to put the kettle on, Trish Warhurst has her Marie Kondo joy-sparked moment. Passing the bold artwork by Australian artist Anna Price makes her pause.
It’s no mean feat, for a two-bedroom, two bathroom, open-plan living apartment at Sydney’s beachside suburb Manly, that’s filled with “wow” moments.
Autopilot for a harbourside property would be Hamptons’ style. However, Warhurst’s apartment features colour and pattern in an unexpected and sophisticated way. “I just see it as my home. It happens to be in a beachside suburb, but it’s not the look I wanted,” Warhurst says.
And, Marie Kondo she did. After selling her family home of more than 30 years on Sydney’s north shore, where she raised her four boys, Warhurst moved everything into storage while she house-hunted for “the one”, ending up not using a single item in her new home.
Although she had mixed feelings about selling – Warhurst also lost her husband while living in the home. “In the end, it was a relief actually to let go and move on,” she says.
Though if you told her she’d end up living in an apartment, the retiree would never have believed it. However, six months of weekly property inspections that offered “nothing suitable”, saw Warhurst officially downsize, buying her new-build Manly apartment and moving in in December, 2019.
She likes the lockup-and-leave lifestyle, laughing that all she has to consider is a couple of pot plants that need watering. The Manly apartment for her is about aesthetic enjoyment, rather than family functionality.
In March 2020, she enlisted the styling and decorating services of Claudia Stephensen to help bring her vision to life.
“I like Italian designers. I’d been looking at things online and in magazines and I met with Claudia who was recommended by my daughter-in-law and said, ‘what can we do with this much money?’ ” Warhurst laughs.
Claudia would come back with a list of items for review.
“I have to see, feel, touch, sit on them, before I buy them,” Warhurst says, which is exactly what happened with that painting in the dining room, which was spotted on a sourcing trip at Curatorial & Co in Redfern.
Due to the pandemic, the process took longer than expected, with the lead-time on Warhurst’s bespoke bed and other items taking months longer than anticipated.
It was worth the wait though, she says – the Reddi Design bed, a prototype with a twist, is still one of her favourite items, as are the Patricia Urquiola lights.
Stephensen says it was a case of dream client, dream project.
“Trish liked an eclectic look and wanted to fall in love with the things she bought,” Stephensen says.
“She was open to taking risks, has a natural flair for great design and, more importantly, wanted a space that finally reflected her own aesthetic instead of just being a functional space for a growing family.”
Stephensen says the pair had a few “I need to have it” moments, including with the Shogun lamp and the ox blood marble-slab coffee table. She knew Patricia Urquiola was a design hero of Warhurst’s, so used colour and pattern as a nod to her sensibility and incorporated some of Patricia’s Foscarini Caboche wall lights at the entrance.
“We chose the most heavenly amber colour, which is referenced again in the rug anchoring the living space,” Stephensen says.
For Stephensen, the Kelly Wearstler Graffito wallpaper is another standout. “The joy of working in a small space is the large impact you can make. While the only wallpaper we used is in the master bedroom, it’s visible from the sitting room.”
As much as aesthetics were key, usability was another requirement. Warhurst has plenty of visitors, including “littlies” as she calls her grandchildren, so the seating was kept functional with interest added through colour, texture and shape – including an eggplant-hued sofa paired with a more classic armchair with a rattan weave.
Warhurst could not feel more at home, with Stephensen nailing the brief of “making me feel comfortable, but being mindful I’m not the only person here”.
Artemide’s Shogun Table Lamp creates beautiful plays of light and shadows by moving the reflectors.
With clean lines and in a rich shade of marble, the Elle Monument coffee table from Globe West is a piece to suit most tastes.
Kelly Wearstler ‘Graffito’ wallpaper, available from Elliott Clark, brings expressions of movement and texture to a room.