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Interiors

A Valentino Collaborator’s Australian Pad

by Garrett Fleming

To attend a fashion show with its pomp, glitz and laissez-faire formality is exciting in and of itself. To watch an entire collection hit the runway that’s inspired by your work, however, is a rush I won’t even attempt to describe. I first came across when the 26-year-old’s bold, geometric designs graced the Parisian runway on nearly every look from Valentino’s Autumn 2015-2016 menswear collection. Her unique mixture of color immediately drew me to her work, and I quickly became what my 17-year-old brother would call “a fanboy.” Naturally, I was ecstatic when Esther agreed to give us a peek inside the Australian home and studio she shares with her partner .

The couple met in Melbourne, but after studying and living in the city for eight years, they were ready to move to a more comfortable space that would allow for more flexibility with their craft. The decision was made: a small parcel of land in Daylesford, where Esther grew up, would serve as the artists’ studio while home base would remain in Melbourne. That didn’t last long, as the builders and Esther quickly realized the untapped potential of a hay barn nearby. Six months later, Esther and Oscar had turned the barn into a new home to match their new studio space. Esther’s high school art teacher and builder was a welcome help, allowing exactly zero setbacks along the road to renovation. From installing customized built-in cabinetry to incorporating secondhand finds, the team dynamic could not have been more pleasant. “In fact, I enjoyed it so much I am already planning what my next project could be,” Esther raves. “Our plan was to have a large, functioning studio with a small, compact house that had plenty of storage and natural light. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.” With 10 acres of inspiration, a swimming dam nearby, and what’s soon to be a flourishing garden, I believe that from such a beautiful space only beautiful art can arise. I certainly cannot wait to see what’s next. Enjoy! —

Photography by 

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Two of Esther's pieces hang above a sofa that was found on eBay. These brown chairs belonged to Esther's grandmother.
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Oscar and Esther are not only creators of art, but curators as well. Simple DIY shelving allows them to be surrounded by the inspiring work of Jake Walker, Rebecca Bladen, and more. "We love all these pieces and hope to one day have a slightly larger space in which we can hang all the pieces we currently have stored and will continue to collect."
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Works by Renee Cosgrave, Benjamin Lichtenstein and Kate Smith fill the quaint and sunny kitchen. The ceramics and ice bucket were handed down from Esther's grandmother.
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A friend gifted the couple this perfectly-worn-in leather sofa. Oscar and Esther had the shelving custom made for the space so it would fit just right. The small sculptures on the shelf were gifts from Oscar's artistic father, Simon Perry.
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View from the living area into the kitchen.
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This magnificent floor is hand painted and one of Esther's favorite parts of her home with Oscar.
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The mezzanine was such a unique structure that the couple had to have its ladder custom made.
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Right outside the bedroom window is a giant walnut tree. Each morning, sunlight streams in on the couple as they wake.
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Esther cleverly took one of her faux marble statues and turned it on its side to use as a bedside table. The painting is by Oscar himself.
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The mezzanine overlooking the living area.
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The veranda overlooks a state forest and was made with bricks from various family members' homes.
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A neighbor built this door to the couple's studio. "It's lovely to be able to have the big door open in the summer..." This open, outdoor area connects the studio and home seamlessly.
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"I love sharing our studio. Making work can often be lonely, and it's wonderful to have company all the time. Building a studio has been by far the best thing we have done for our art practices. We can now spread out, make (a) mess and leave things to come back to later."
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Oscar's side of the shared studio.
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Esther in front of a new work entitled "Sea Views."
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These two paintings were recently seen at Firstdraft Sydney's "Display Home: The Act of Living."
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Some of Esther's 2013 pieces, as well as a portrait of the, "ever beautiful and inspiring," Dolly Parton.
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One of the pieces Esther worked on with Valentino. Her color-blocking style was the inspiration for his . (Photo courtesy of )
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