It’s not often you hear about one of the Interior world’s biggest success stories packing up life in NYC to move to Oz, but more than 20 years ago, a handsome young talented designer did just that, adding his skills to the homes of Australia’s affluent.
Although he was a well-established Award-winning International designer residing in the US, and had trained under some well-known Interiors companies, Thomas Hamel began working with clients from Melbourne and Sydney (including Russel Crowe, the Packer’s and the Turnbull’s) stylishly shaping his spaces to suit the occupants, building on interiors that allow them to live their daily life with ease. He now spends three months of the year as a bower bird, traveling and sourcing bespoke treasures from across the world for all of this clients.
On building the look of the ‘Thomas Hamel aesthetic’ of polished wood, Rococo gilted trims with a splash of natural texture and comfort, Hamel says there is a formula:
- look for textural things to tone down the formality
”It has (to have) polish and sophistication – so you get mirrors and lacquers and shiny bits – but then you tone it down with casual bits – like the tortoiseshell sisal carpet as opposed to stiffly polished wooden floors that would be too antiquey. I use loose covers on the lounges, not tightly upholstered, so it gives it that casual, relaxed feel.”
On his move to Australia:
”There were a lot of things missing in the market here, and now I am starting to print my own fabrics and make my own wallpaper. People want those bespoke things they can’t find on the internet. I think that’s the world’s next trend. Wanting something so exclusive, no one else has it.”
Hamel also noticed a lack of service in the local market:
”That American thing of lighting the candles, I’m always on call, I find the flowers, and that didn’t happen so much when I arrived. It has changed a lot since then. I think I’ve helped shape the industry in that way. Up until then this country’s interior design level was about selling you furniture and moving on. My whole thing was teaching clients the lifestyle, how to live, how to serve a drink, how to host a dinner – it’s a much more bespoke service.”
Thomas Hamel’s beautiful coffee-table book titled Residence allows us to peer in at some of his favourite projects in Australia, Asia and Europe plus more including over 150 stunning images of a harbour-front villa with spectacular views and a bayside residence in Melbourne, to a stylish retreat in Florida and a farmhouse in Luberon.
Source and images: theage.com.au, thomashamel.com, thecultureconcept.com,