When Bree Claffey peered into the ceiling space of an upstairs retail spot in Brunswick, the covered-up skylight was the deciding factor. "I really like light. I always had in mind to sell indoor plants as part of the shop, and the upstairs position made for heaps more natural light for the plants than would normally get in a shop."
Claffey opened Mr. Kitly (named after the shop's regular fixture: one of her cats) in December of 2010 upstairs from Sydney Road, a street of tailors, fabric shops, and Middle Eastern bakeries. Claffey had always wanted to own a small shop, and opening Mr. Kitly was, as she says, "a classic case of never wanting to live with the regret of not giving it a try, to have a bit of faith, and madness, and live the dream." Claffey and her architect-musician beau Julian Patterson live out of the back of the shop in an open living area, large bedroom, and music studio. Patterson helped Claffey transform the space with a wash of white paint, wooden shelving, and, in their living area, an ad-hoc shower and bath.
Located upstairs at 381 Sydney Road in Brunswick, the shop's gallery currently features ex-Melbourne painter Ebony Truscott; July's show, titled Aesthetics Room, is a mix of Australian, Chicago, and Seattle-based artists.
Above: The shop entrance from the staircase.
Above: Shelving and tables hand built by Patterson display a wide selection of print and ceramics. Photograph by Karl Edwin Scullin.
Above: A selection of the shop's books & music are displayed on narrow shelves.
Above: An installation of house plants in the shop's add-on gallery space.
Above: Masanori Oji's Futagami Brass Towel Bars are AU $78 for the small size.
Above: Mr. Kitly and a stack of magazines hide behind indoor ferns.
Above: Artist Georgina Ward's installation of gold-toned items placed inside of found furniture. Photograph by Karl Edwin Scullin.
Above: Potted house plants, ceramics, and textiles on display. Photograph by Karl Edwin Scullin.
Above: The Gold-Handled Cup and Saucer is made by Bridget Bodenham from ceramic stoneware and gold leaf; AU $55.
Above: The shop mascot: Mr. Kitly (and friend).