As founder of her own lifestyle and homewares label, Philé, it comes as no surprise that Anna Lavdaras’ home is both warmly inviting and thoughtfully designed. Positioned on the top floor of an art deco block in Bondi, the original parquetry floors and ornate ceilings are complemented by Lavdaras’s fondness for mid-century Italian design. “I love clean, modern design, natural materials and polished metals,” she says, listing Gio Ponti, Achille Castiglioni, Cini Boeri and Gabriella Crespi as influences.
Lavdaras and her fiancé, Tomi, moved into the apartment 18 months ago, “after months of painful Saturday mornings spent at back-to-back inspections. I was pretty much sold the minute I stepped foot inside.”
These days, it doubles as headquarters and showroom for Philé, a range of beautiful monogrammed cashmere blankets and scarves that are light as air but ideal for staying warm when the sea breeze blows in. While sipping coffee from her kitchen looking out to Bondi Beach, Lavdaras told us more about her home style.
What time of day do you most enjoy being in your home?
Saturday afternoons after a day at the beach, showered and relaxed with a cocktail in hand. There’s a beautiful sea breeze that sweeps through the entire apartment.
How do you like to use scent at home?
I love layering scents in my home like I do with my own perfumes, pairing heavier base notes in the more open spaces with lighter top notes in the bedrooms. I like floral notes for spring, like jasmine, tuberose and gardenia, garnishes like mint and lavender, and a hint of neroli zest. In the cooler months, I’ll swap these out for headier ingredients like fig, sage and amber. I just dusted off my faithful Tuscan Fig candle, which thankfully wasn’t quite complete from its last winter rotation. It really warms up my big open spaces like the living/dining area. I light it as soon as the sun sets, and keep it burning until bedtime.
What’s your favourite thing in your home and why?
It’d have to be the burl wood credenza I discovered in a Botany antique shop a few months back. The owner found it in a little old lady’s country home somewhere in the Southern Highlands, and it was perfectly maintained – not a scratch in sight! The art deco curves and colours are beautiful, and somehow it complements and enhances everything else in the room.
You’ve travelled quite a bit for work and play. What are your favourite destinations to visit?
I recently spent some time in Japan and fell completely in love with it. We stayed at the Aman in Tokyo which was a destination unto itself, designed by Aussie Kerry Hill Architects. Otherwise, my spirit land is Italy, and I go back there as often as possible. We just booked our honeymoon, road-tripping through Puglia in September. Lumira’s Sicilian Citrus reminds me so much of European summers spent in Sicily’s beachside town of Taormina.
Are there any other scents that you connect with places?
I was introduced to a new spectrum of green tea in Kyoto. I stayed at the beautiful Hoshinoya on the outskirts of Kyoto, and will always be transported back when I smell green tea.
Can you share any advice for making travel more comfortable, especially long-haul flights?
A cashmere shawl. It’s breathable so you never overheat, and so soft – plus it’s light enough to fold and fits into almost anything.
What has been a favourite discovery from your travels so far?
I bought some Skultana brass candlesticks from The Line the last time I was in New York, which are pretty great. I’ll always buy an art book from exhibitions I visit when travelling and I love handmade ceramics. I once lugged an entire dinner set home with me from Hoi An, Vietnam. And yes, I’ve spent a fortune on excess luggage weight!
Photography by Kath Mclean, Bright Photography
Interview by Michelle Bateman