Mr. and Mrs. Charlie live in a style that might be labeled the Modern Caveman Look. The two have a passion for the worn and the weathered—flax and twine, driftwood and rust, twigs and pebbles—and the bowerbird-like weavings and moody still lives that can be created out of these scavengings. Their recordings of their work have become an Instagram sensation. So much so that they’ve gone into business: In addition to #mrandmrscharlie, they now have a website at mrandmrscharlie.com, where being the first to type “SOLD” in the comments means you’re the buyer. Count us among the cheering section. We had to find out more about this intriguing couple.
Photography courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie.
Above: Linen cushions, a twine basket, and an old table fashioned from crates in the Mr. and Mrs. Charlie workroom.
The couple, it turns out, have a romantic story to go with their imagery: Twelve years ago, Charles Kinyon, an artist-photographer living in Austin, Texas, met fellow creative Melissa Ninham, a visual merchandising pro from Sydney, through a mutual friend. “We instantly knew we were cut from the same cloth,” she told us. “He flew here to be with me, and we’ve been inseparable ever since, have actually never spent a day apart.”
Above: One of Charles’s signature wire onion baskets. Watch the Instagram shop page; they come up often in a variety of shapes and sizes. This one recently sold for $45 AUD (approximately $32 USD).
Melissa and Charles live and work in a 1930s Federation-style brick house in an inner west suburb of Sydney. “I take the Instagram shots with an iPad, I need that daily visual fix,” she says. “I set everything up, but the house details are as is—we live the way it’s photographed.”
Above: “We ripped up old carpets, pulled out the ugly cupboards throughout, and gave the house a facelift with fresh paint on walls and floor. The color on the walls has changed at least 15 times.”
The compact dining area has a trestle table that Charles made from a discarded door. The linen—a sideline speciality of Melissa’s (on Instagram she also posts with her friend Mich Woods as @loveoflinen)—is from her favorite online shop Le Marché St. George of Vancouver, a favorite of ours, too: See Canadian Je Ne Sais Quoi.
Above: A few weeks ago Melissa’s 25-year-old daughter, Mia, who has a business degree, left her job in advertising to join the duo and focus on her creative side. Shown here, a bowl she wove out of heavy flax. In addition to the Mr. and Mrs. Charlie shop, Mia’s pieces are available to order @thesustainableflorist.
“We all work together but put no pressure on time, just when it suits us,” explains Melissa. “Most days are spent in the workroom creating. We all bounce off each other, throwing around ideas and collaborating.”
Above: Flea market kitchen shelves display ceramics by fellow artist Instagrammers: Jono Smart (@jonosmart), Sandra Tyson (@allfiredup.pottery), and “a tiny treasured bowl by Janaki Larsen” of Le Marché St. George (@janakilarsen).
Above: The sitting room is furnished with several pallet beds made by Charles and cushioned with Melissa’s linen and woven flax pillows. Of their organic palette, she explains, “It creates a mood of tranquility and calm; these colors and textures are grounding and soul pleasing.”
Above: The pallets are constantly evolving—some are on casters for maneuverability. “A few feather cushions thrown on top and you have a daybed,” says Melissa.
In addition to their Instagram emporium, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie supply their rope totes and nestlike hanging baskets to two kindred-spirit shops in Australia: Stuart & Porter in Newcastle and VirgineMamaPapa in Avalon.
Above: Afternoon light in a photo by Mia in the Mr. and Mrs. Charlie bedroom. The low table is from Asian furniture importer Water Tiger and Melissa found the beads at the African Trading Port, both in Sydney.
Above: The remains of a bench rest outside the garden shed: “We saw it on the roadside and it cried out to be saved.” Stay tuned: Mr. and Mrs. Charlie are looking to leave their imprint on a new house.
In the mood for linen bedding? A favorite source in the US is Tricia Rose’s Rough Linen.