Wes Waddell, Malvern East, VIC
This week we meet graphic designer and artist Wes Waddell and look back at a shoot captured by photographer Ben Hosking during lockdown earlier this year. After recently making the move to Ocean Grove with his partner Bridget and kids Arthur and Percy, Wes speaks fondly of their old home in Malvern which the family currently rent out. With a mix of original art-deco detailing, sleek joinery and a sprinkling of mid-century teak, the space has a special way about it that Wes & Bridget have refined over the past six years. We spoke to Wes about some of his favourite parts of the house, his branding and communication business Studio Hi Ho and his aspirations for the new year.
“We purchased our 1920’s art deco home in 2014. When we first inspected the home it was quite dark, a bit drab and run down, however, coming from our design backgrounds it was obvious that it had great foundations so we instantly had a vision for it. Since then my wife and I have been chipping away at saving, planning, designing and renovating up until March this year. The aspect we most cherish about the home are the original features that you don’t see nowadays, like the high ceilings and their beautiful cornice detailing and the textured ‘bagged’ wall.”
“The master bedroom is oversized and accommodates a king size bed (very important!) with a lovely George Nelson pendant above. We fitted full wall to ceiling joinery allowing for a minimal clutter free room and installed thick linen block out blinds to minimise the noise and drown out light for sleeping.
“Above the mid-century sideboard (a family heirloom) hangs a piece by Jordy Van Den Nuiuwendijk, which perfectly compliments the colours of our sheets. The Nursery, however, would have to be my favourite space in the house because it joins onto a little sunroom which gets the morning light – the perfect space to greet the day. Prior to the arrival of our first born son I used it to paint and meditate but I got kicked out pretty quickly when Arthur asserted his position in the household!”
Prior to the arrival of our first born son I used it to paint and meditate but I got kicked out pretty quickly when Arthur asserted his position in the household!
“Shortly after we moved into the house we purchased a piece of art by Oscar Perry via Station Gallery. The size is significant, as was the price tag, but we were young, naïve and unaware of our tax position! A wise man once told me ‘quality remains long after price is forgotten’ and it’s true because it fills me with joy every time I look at it. Art can be powerful, it can set the tone and mood of the room. There are other works that we’ve acquired along the way by Euan Heng, Jordy Kerwick, and Leo Coyte to name a few, but mostly our home is peppered with pieces that I’ve painted over the years. Painting has become a wonderful pastime and creative outlet for me outside of the commercialities of co-running Studio Hi Ho.”
“Ever since finishing my degree I always saw myself being my own boss and running my own business. Luckily for me I became mates with my business partner, Patrick, at university and after going our separate ways gaining experience in other Melbourne studios we came together to establish Studio Hi Ho in 2011. In the beginning we focussed on doing good work and all of a sudden Hi Ho is turning ten years old this coming April which is unthinkable. Starting out as young professionals we always joked about having the ‘grey hair factor’ to be being taken seriously and I’d say we’ve probably hit that point!”
Bridget & Wes’s spare bed is dressed in an IN BED 100% linen duvet cover in dove grey.
“Over the years we’ve worked across various sectors and disciplines, but we initially found a niche for ourselves creating brands and campaigns for design-focussed developers. At the time there was a real stereotype towards development, but we saw great potential in the few brands that understood the importance of design and respect for home, location and occupier. Our client, ‘Milieu’ are first to mind for their collaborative approach and ability to understand the value of a well designed product. The relationship is special because their business was conceived shortly after ours, and they’ve stuck by us since the beginning working on countless projects in the property and hospitality sectors. In a way, Paddy and I see ourselves as part of the team.”
Over the years we’ve worked across various sectors and disciplines, but we initially found a niche for ourselves creating brands and campaigns for design-focussed developers.
“On a surface level graphic design can be shallow and mundane, but what we’re most interested in is the positioning of brand. From a strategic point of view, our process enables us to identify a brand’s unique point of difference and we simply communicate those values via compelling storytelling. This is facilitated by a conceptual response and collaboration with various creatives who align with the brand such as illustrators, photographers, videographers, copywriters, etc.”
“For our family COVID was a blessing in disguise, and that may sound selfish in the context of a pandemic, but as a family we’ve had intentions for a seachange for some time. In fact it’s something that’s been planned and talked about for at least five years. COVID gave us the push we needed to make the move to Victoria’s West Coast just before the lock down. We’ve since leased out our Malvern East home, and welcomed the birth of our second son, Percy.”
“On reflection we miss our Malvern East home because it signified the start of my wife and I’s life together, we even got married in the front yard! Someday we may move back for it’s amenity. The location allows us to meander between Central Park and Glenferrie Rd / High St shops where we usually find ourselves pushing dual prams around, frequenting playgrounds and sipping coffee and chai tea.”
On reflection we miss our Malvern East home because it signified the start of my wife and I’s life together, we even got married in the front yard!
“I’m really enjoying my painting practice at the moment and it’s something that I’d like to commit myself to on a deeper level in the New Year. Pending juggling two kids, Studio Hi Ho and moving north (Gold Coast here we come), 2021 could be the year.”