When I was e-mailing back and forth with Australian designer Rachel Castle to discuss this post, one of her e-mails ended with “Holy shit” (on realizing she had just missed a deadline). It was perfect Rachel Castle: bright, breezy, and refreshingly colorful, not too dissimilar to her trademark sunny art and bed linens sporting spots aplenty and dashes of fluro. Although she is firmly entrenched in Australia now, she spent many years working in the UK, initially as a buyer for The Conran Shop then moving into branding, eventually setting up her own agency with Alex Willcox and designer Russell Pinch (both of whom are Conran alums). She eventually returned and moved to Sydney, launching Castle in 2008 selling her signature bed linens, cushions, and artwork. Last year, she undertook a major house renovation–perfect timing for checking in on her favorite local design sources. Having lived on both sides of the equator, we asked Castle to share what she loves most about Sydney.
Above: Rachel Castle in her studio. Photograph by Chris Warnes for Bauer Media.
Remodelista: What did you miss about Australia when you were in the UK and what compelled you to return?
Rachel Castle: Cheese twisties and all the sunlight. The glorious sun, I could never leave it again!
Above: The Minimalist, an online retailer.
RM: What’s happening with Australian design?
RC: There is a lot happening here with design, especially in the publishing and online retailing worlds. A lot of the rules we have been used to following are being rewritten, consequently there are some wonderful windows opening for young and less well-known designers to get their work to the market. The more design we see, the better for everyone.
Above: Stools by Greg Hatton.
RM: Who should we be paying attention to on the furniture front?
RC: Furniture wise I have my personal favorites. My old partner, Russell Pinch. Also Mark Tuckey and Koskela (where I’ll be having a show in three weeks). I am really loving some of the new pieces by Greg Hatton. I think I’m going to buy one of his little three legged stools, which I love!
Above: The Grounds in Alexandria.
RM: Best coffee in Sydney?
RC: I live in the suburbs, but have a new studio in the Inner West (I’m not from Sydney, so all I know is that it’s the top end of Newtown) and we have been doing the coffee rounds–St. Jude in Redfern, The Grounds in Alexandria, Kitchen by Mike in Rosebery, Allpress in Zetland. The food is getting seriously good in Sydney. Can it rival Melbourne? I say yes, it really can.
Above: Mark Tuckey Home.
RM: Shopping for the home?
RC: Mark Tuckey Home in Avalon (owned by one of my favorite people, Louella Tuckey, she is seriously a beautiful person) and Koskela in Rosebery and of course Hub, which we always love. Also loving this relatively new online site, The Minimalist. There is a real camaraderie among e-tailers; we are all just plucking around in this new world.
RM: Source for vintage finds?
RC: Always hard rubbish! [Aussie speak for non-disposable trash.] Although I always end up with a garage full of things the children have plucked from the street. Hideous things, worse than anything I would ever put on hard rubbish. This year my son collected (on the last day so I couldn’t put it back) a very very very dodgy ripped upholstered bar height office stool. Giving up.
Above: The Standard Store. Photograph via Chinti and Parker.
RC: I go through stages. I have a broken foot so I’m buying lots from Bassike. Just easy to chuck on over a dead leg. Loving the The Standard Store; they have some really beautiful soft, easy, hard to recognize pieces, really gorgeous things. And of course for all the color we need you can’t beat Gorman, unbeatable for the little poppy twist.
Above: Rope Clutter-Catchers from a workshop at Koskela with Melbourne maker Gemma Patford.
RM: Children’s clothes?
RC: Country Road always. Boys, girls, easy.
Above: Sydney Opera House. Photograph by Sophie Roberts for Broadsheet.
RM: Something we should know about Sydney ?
RC: The Opera House is the most beautiful building in the world. It is covered in over 25,000 Meissen porcelain tiles and is an ode to love and music and culture and architecture and all things sunny in your soul.