A Creative Share House in Collingwood

Images by Tasha Tylee

For our first feature of 2022 we visited the enchanting home of housemates Camille Laddawan Moir and Zachary Frankel. The century old house has a soft, lived in feel and is imbued with creative energy both from its occupants and the extensive collection of artworks and objects that have come to fill the space. We spoke to Camille and Zac about their respective practices; Camille is an artist and Zac a designer and sculptor as well as the dynamics of living together in a creative household. We’re thrilled to start the New Year with such a colourful story, captured beautifully by our contributing photographer Tasha Tylee.

Tablecloth by IN BED

Camille & Zac’s table is set with an IN BED 100% linen tablecloth in Navy Stripe.

“Our home is 110 years old and I’ve lived here for six years now. I live here with my partner Roslyn and Ru the kelpie, and our housemates Zac and Anna. The house used to belong to my uncle, auntie and cousin who designed, renovated and lived here for 15 years before they moved to Dja Dja Wurrung country. I love that it has their heights marked and written in the door jamb, that the sounds in the house are soft, as everything is so worn in, that the kitchen floor dips like a small hill and the back of the house is glass so we can see the garden in full. I also like that my uncle planted a gumtree when he moved in and I also planted one when I moved in.”

Zac: “I’ve lived in this old shop/residence in Collingwood for just over three years now. Stepping into the house through a hand carved door off the loud and gritty Johnston Street you are instantly transported. Inside it’s spacious and tranquil. Almost every day I still notice details that I previously hadn't. There's a theatricality about the place, it's very dramatic, with almost cathedral height ceilings, painted walls that have developed a patina over time, an internal Juliet balcony and decorative columns. I feel like I’m part of an elaborate performance every day.”

White linen by IN BED

Camille’s bed is dressed with IN BED 100% linen in white.

“Roslyn and I have our bedroom on the first floor of the house, facing north over Johnston Street. It has two large arched windows that let both diffused light and rays of sunlight in, with views of rooftops and a big sky. The original floorboards are painted cream and layered with scuffs from years of use, and are now bowing off their nails in sections. Our walls are duck egg blue, the fireplace is pewter (though it doesn’t work), and a big handwoven rug hangs on the entry wall, which was the first thing we found for the house together. My favourite thing about our bedroom is that it feels both connected to the street and goings-on below, as well as a peaceful hideaway.”

Linen by IN BED

Zac’s bed is dressed with IN BED 100% linen in dove grey and stone.

“My room is cozy and cocoon like, it’s kind of in the middle of the house, on the first floor, so there’s no noise from the street. I have one of my Mum’s paintings on the wall and have just recently added some of my own pieces to the space; a Ripple Mirror frames your face when you walk into the room and a Crinkle Lamp produces the beautiful ambient light and creates a feeling of calm.”

“There’s a Rietveld inspired mantle piece around the gas fireplace and one of my favourite things is waking up on the weekend, turning on the gas log fire and going back to bed with a cup of tea, a book or to watch an episode of Gardening Australia. I rarely have time for gardening these days, but I still enjoy pretending. Sometimes I make a thermos of tea and take that back to bed, the second cup is always hot.”

I rarely have time for gardening these days, but I still enjoy pretending.

Camille: Our home is filled with objects and art that friends and family have made or gifted over the years, so it’s hard to choose favourites, but here is a little list!

  • A woodblock print by Ella Mittas that hangs in our kitchen
  • An ewer by my friend and former housemate Layla, who owns Soft Edge Studio (it really feels like an embodiment of Layla!)
  • Photographs of the Georgian countryside by our talented friend and poet Stephanie Cobon
  • A blue and white weaving that reminds me of whales from Anna Fiedler
  • Darcy Bella Arnold's painting of books and pomegranates from a special exhibition we attended last year

Zac: “A lot of the furniture in the house both built in and freestanding was produced by Camille’s uncle Kim Moir. He’s an incredible maker and designer whose work and vision are pretty unique. Being surrounded by his work has been really inspirational to me and I’m sure has influenced my own work.”

“Some of them are the marble top console table that was inspired by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann that was a 60th birthday present to his wife Maria, the floor to ceiling bookcases that give the living room so much space and grandeur, the copper and oak kitchen that transports you straight to France and the chaise longue that looks out through floor to ceiling glass onto the courtyard and a lovely gum tree. I have a number of artworks that my mum created which I value and a low relief piece by a friend of mine Darcey Bella Arnold who’s an incredible artist.”

Camille: “I first started beading at the beginning of the pandemic. At the time, I was working three jobs that couldn't continue during the lockdowns, so I took the opportunity to develop my artistic practice. Beading has given me an avenue to connect my research into philosophical and historical ideas of language and symbolism, with aesthetics, and the hands-on, technical aspects of art-making. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to devote so much time to something I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to explore, I’ve really fallen in love with it.”

Beading has given me an avenue to connect my research into philosophical and historical ideas of language and symbolism, with aesthetics, and the hands-on, technical aspects of art-making.

Zac: “I have a broad range of approaches to my design work. Sometimes playful and explorative, I will make something for the fun of it or experiment with a technique and see what comes of it. One thing will lead to another and I end up with something I couldn’t have anticipated. At other times it's a lot more technical, involving research, 3D modelling, technical drawings and prototypes.”

“Sculpture is different again, I will usually start by making a series of maquettes in plasticine or something similar. I like being able to model something quickly and get a feel for the shape and scale and then find a piece of material to suit it. But if I find a piece of stone - usually marble - that I like, I will try to see what shapes I can see in it first and often draw directly onto the stone itself to see what works and fits. I ‘rough it out’ and then step back and see if it works, draw on it, take a bit more, reassess and then repeat the process.”

“There are many aspects to my work that I like, from the intuitive side of things to the more technical parts. I have a background in jewellery making, have spent the last ten years working with timber, the last two working with stone and now recycled plastic. These skills, artistic, technical and the understanding of a large range of materials have started to come together now and allow me two explore a wide scope of possibilities.”

We’ve always wondered how having a house full of creative minds might make for a synergistic living situation; Camille & Zac both agree that having a sounding board and at times simply a supportive voice can have a profound impact on their various pursuits.

“We affect each other in many more ways than I think we imagine! It’s those passing comments, the offhand questions and answers, creative moods, showing each other pictures of things we like, talking about design and what we do each day, that help inform each of our work. It’s very special and it’s lovely to be around Zac.”

Zac: “We’ve talked about collaborating on pieces a number of times but have never gotten around to it! I think there are lots of subtle ways that we help each other, it's a lovely relationship that spans creative and personal areas of our lives.. Everyone in the house is very encouraging and when I come home from the workshop feeling dispirited or discouraged they are often there to pick me up and offer some constructive advice.”

“Lately Camille and I have been doing some contra work for each other. I made her a coffee table and she’s done graphic design work for me. More recently she helped style a photoshoot of my work with her sister (who’s a brilliant photographer, Lilli Waters) and I made her a set of floating shelves for the bathroom. It’s very symbiotic and our skills mesh well together.”

In Collingwood Camille & Zac make the most of the vibrant arts community, local produce, and the close proximity to nature in nearby Warrandyte.

Camille: “Groceries, a fishmonger, bookshops and fruit shops are all a stone’s-throw away, and I’ll often bump into someone I know when walking up to Smith Street. There is a real sense of community here, as we’re surrounded by galleries, artist-run spaces, friends’ bars and neighborhood events. We’re so close to the racket of Collingwood, and yet it’s only a thirty minute drive to the Warrandyte river when we want to spend time in nature.”

Zac: “There’s no shortage of places to eat or drink at in Collingwood, some of my favourites are classics like Shop Ramen, Alimentari, Napier Quarter, Maquis of Lorne and Cibi. I will take any excuse to get a pastry and I’m a regular at Falco and To Be Frank. We all love The Old Raffles Place, which is a great Singaporean Restaurant and a stone’s throw from our house. Collingwood Yards is around the corner and Hope Street Radio and Runner Up have become staples for eating and drinking. A number of my friends also work out of Staysoft Studio based there and it's always nice bumping into them in the lovely courtyard. Modern Times and Smith Street Bazaar are both institutions in the Melbourne furniture and design scene and I regularly visit both. I’m also stocked at MT and have exhibited there a few times. MT’s directors Amy and Joel have been very supportive of me and my practice.”

Both Camille & Zac have a busy year ahead with new work, new exhibitions, and new family members on the horizon.

“I am working towards a group show at Caves gallery in March, and my first solo show in Sydney in 2023. For this exhibition I’m researching aerodynamics (the way objects move through air). I’m looking forward to making more ambitious work, and having opportunities for more people to see my work in person.”

Zac: “My brother and his partner are about to have a baby and I’m really looking forward to being an uncle. I have an exhibition for Melbourne Design week with Mikaela Stafford which will see us turn the front living room into a gallery space. We’ll both be presenting new work that focuses on new and emerging technologies and I think it will be an interesting contrast to the antique space.”

“I’m also working on new sculptures and furniture pieces which I will release in 2022, in particular a large sculpture in timber that I can’t wait to get started on. I’m excited to show new sides of my work to new audiences, continuing to experiment and growing my practice.”