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Home Stories: Sarah Kelly

Ashley Feraude

I knew my visit to Sarah’s home was going to be something special.

Not because I had arrived early for the first time in my life (and didn’t make Victor wait for me like a loyal servant), but because her home exemplified an incredible contrast of styles right from the start.

From the outside, Sarah’s home exudes grandiosity worthy of an embassy. However, its majestic presence was quickly broken by the distinct sound of someone furiously rocking out on the drums. The drumming stopped when I pressed the door bell and seconds later a young boy greeted us. “Ah you’ve arrived; my mum is expecting you”. The fun was about to begin.

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We found ourselves wandering through stunning large open spaces before gravitating towards the kitchen, where we met Sarah’s daughter and her other son. Once everyone was assembled, Sarah made a fabulous entrance and promptly provided us with a cool glass of champagne. For a moment I thought I was at the Oscars and felt guilty for not wearing a tux. A few seconds later, I snapped out of it and realised that I’ve never known Sarah to be anything less than fabulous—and that was exactly why I really wanted to see her home.

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Many of you would know Sarah from her My Fashion Empire endeavours and public engagements—like judging the Fashions on the Field at the races, hosting Canberra Centre events, stealing the show at FASHFEST and so forth …but what you don’t know is that she worked for Paul Keating for many years, manages a professional boxer with her husband Dominic, and is the president of a charity committee. See, the surprises and contrasts continue.

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If you get the feeling her home is formal in style, it’s because it was originally built as a consulate, so there are plenty of formal spaces. Clearly, Sarah and her husband are not exactly squares, so rather than matching formality with more formality, they opted for relaxed modern pieces, late 60s-inspired classics, lamps Sarah saved from a neighbour’s front lawn heap—all complemented by stacks of books and their favourite art. Sarah pointed out, a lot of the interior styling is ‘work in progress’, since they moved in over a year ago. However, rather than feeling unfinished, Victor and I thought Sarah’s place was homely, distinctive and holds a sense of excitement as if something big was about to happen.

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Before buying, Sarah had always loved this place. While a string of ‘For Sale’ signs went up and down over the years, she talked herself out of ever living in it … only to discover that Dominic bought it as a surprise. Learning of her husband’s generosity, I quickly pointed out their Bang and Olufsen speaker and explained how I’ve always wanted one but have come to expect that I’ll never get one. Let’s see if that cunning trick works.

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The best surprise was left until last when we got to see Sarah’s wardrobe. Now, given Sarah’s love for fashion, I’m sure you’re thinking it would be massive right? Nope not at all. Every piece in her collection really makes a statement—she selects everything carefully to avoid having a complete wardrobe blowout. It’s just like the balance in the house really.

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It took me a while to get Victor out of the wardrobe because he really got stuck on patting a green furry jacket, but it was time for us to go. Pity really, because I felt there was so much more to discover. I’m sure their place will very different when I visit next (and I’ll be sure to wear a tux next time, just in case!).

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Read all of Ashley’s Home Stories series here

Photos by Victor Tawagi

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Ashley Feraude

Ashley Feraude is a creative consultant, music producer and man-about-town. Under his Sound Technique agency, he provides award-winning consultancy services ranging from branding design, creative content development and event music direction for events and hospitality venues. Under the alias Magnifik, he produces award-winning original music filled with electronic soul and performs melodic DJ sets at numerous night spots, events and festivals. And if that wasn’t enough, Ashley is also the author of this insightful interior design editorial series. So is he suffering from split personality disorder and has an obsession over pointy awards? Not really...he just loves design, music and getting an insight into people’s personalities. Plus he likes being really busy. More about the Author