At home with Michael Brown
Originally from Perth, makeup artist Michael Brown has called Sydney his home for the past 12 years. Having gravitated towards the eastern suburbs for the first decade – “it was convenient for work and where all my mates are” – Brown moved to Mosman on the northern side of the harbour in late 2017, “to escape the hustle and bustle of my work and social life”. It is, he says, “hands down my favourite spot I’ve lived in Sydney so far. Living a five-minute walk from Balmoral Beach is just bliss, and it feels like I’m always on holiday.”
Sharing the home with one of his best mates, Adam, the very social Brown loves to entertain, but his home also encompasses his work life, with one seriously impressive beauty room.
Tell us a bit about your interiors style?
I’m very much a minimalist and modern, whereas Adam has more of that homely/beach vibe, so it’s a little bit of a mix. Mainly, though, it’s modern with black, grey and navy furnishings.
What’s your favourite thing about your home and why?
Even though it’s an older building, we have an open-plan living, with the kitchen, dining and lounge all together and I love that. It brings everything together and is great for when people are over.
What time of day do you most enjoy being there?
I’m very lucky that I don’t work normal hours, so I get to experience the house at different times of the day, and enjoy it for different reasons. During the daytime, it’s just me at home and I love the sunlight coming in, whereas night is for fun and cooking with my flatmate.
What are some of the most treasured objects in your home?
I have a few personal items from family that I treasure and know they are there, but most things are just material things. I recently bought these amazing prints from my good friend who does drone photography around some of Sydney’s most scenic locations . I have one in the kitchen and two in my bedroom, and they are my new favourite pieces.
We love the inspirational quotes on the chalkboard in your kitchen. Where do you find them?
It was originally a to-do list, but it was just boring or not used, so a friend of ours put the quotes up one night when we were having drinks and it stayed. It’s always a conversation-starter!
As a makeup artist, you have a very enviable collection of beauty products and tools. What are your tips for keeping them all organised at home?
I get so many beautiful send-outs of new products, so I’m constantly changing how they are displayed. They’re all in sections based on what the product does, or where they are applied on the face. I use the boxes the products come in to store them, and have a large shelved cabinet that they all sit in. I just have to be on top of not letting the gift bags lay around the floor in my beauty room too long, so it’s all kept very neat and tidy – first world problem, I know!
Where do you like to shop for homewares?
I’m very simple, nothing fancy here! My entire house is probably from Freedom Furniture, with a dash of Ikea – it works for me. Plus there are few little things I’ve found along the way at other shops or vintage stores. It’s really a personal thing, and with the right styling, anything can look good.
“Candles that look good are a bonus, but I love the ambiance they create when people come over – they always comment how good the scents are.”
— Michael Brown
How do you like to use scent at home? Do you gravitate towards any particular notes?
I’m obsessed with candles and fragrance in general, I always change it up and it just makes the house come together. I have a different scent in every room of the house, and for me that works. I’m attracted to anything warm, like a touch of spice or pepper. I love tobacco and also anything oud. I like these as a personal cologne and for my home too, especially in winter.
You travel quite regularly. Which scents to you connect with some of your favourite destinations?
Over the years I’ve done a lot of cool trips to London Fashion Week for work, and when I worked at L’Oréal Luxe for six years, I was always in Paris. Whenever I visit Paris, it just brings me back to my days working for Lancôme, as I was there so much for work, so their fragrances have a very strong memory for me. And whenever I smell lavender, it takes me back to visiting Provence in the south of France – there are literally fields of it and it’s beautiful.
In October this year, I’m off to one of my regular places that I love – Bali – for a good mix of chill time and fun. I love the tropical incense that’s burned everywhere in Bali. Here in Australia, I don’t like incense, but the ones burnt in Bali are not as strong, and are more calming.
Which products from the Lumira range are you most enjoying and why?
I’m so in love with Arabian Oud and Cypres de Provence. They are just beautiful and create that nice, home comfort feeling. Cuban Tobacco is also one that I like – it’s currently in my bedroom. And my newest is Tonic of Gin, as I love gin, which sits on my drinks trolley – perfection! I use them one at a time for personal use, such as when I’m on the couch relaxing, and then I use lots together when entertaining. This past winter I’ve been using them a lot more than usual – they used to just be for guests, but why not benefit from them, too?
Written by Michelle Bateman