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FINANCIAL MARKETS AND THE FRANGIPANI TREE

FINANCIAL MARKETS AND THE FRANGIPANI TREE

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2008 was the day the world’s financial markets went into a spin as they heard of the collapse of US financial institution Lehman Bros. Meanwhile in Sydney Australia, Marcella Kaspar and her husband Mark Cooper calmly purchased a dilapidated cottage in the beachside suburb of Coogee.

“We were really lucky no one else beside us seemed that interested in the property – we absolutely loved it and we could see the potential,” says Marcella.

Working as a collaborative team involved in all aspects of the project from design through construction and decoration, Marcella and Mark created a truly beautiful and unique home based on the premise of five star resort living.

“We love the concept of the indoor and outdoor areas merging, and so the house was orientated around a central courtyard with a pool,” says Marcella. “This means the house is always cool in summer and we enjoy the wonderful play of light as reflections from the water move around the interior spaces.”

With Marcella an artist and Mark a designer both working from home the couple like to create a space that is beautiful to look at and inspiring.

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Perhaps the most prized possession of all is the 100 year old frangipani tree. It cost the couple a small fortune to have it transported and craned onto the site, after Mark saw it while driving past an abandoned block in the southern suburbs.

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Marcella describes the project as a ‘flowing moment where everything just fell into place”. Council approval was relatively quick, as neighbours were all onside and once the old unliveable cottage was knocked down it was only a matter of months before the couple could move into their new home.

Having renovated previously the couple knew what they wanted and are definitely no-fuss in their approach. Clever design that incorporates cross ventilation instead of air-conditioning is always a feature, as is their open-plan design that sees everything stay on one level and orientated around a central courtyard.

Walls and floors were treated as canvases for Marcella’s striking and dramatic artworks and the couple’s unique collection of eclectic furniture and decorative pieces.

Rough hewn granite tiles were used for the floors throughout the house and repeated but with a honed finish for the kitchen bench top and splash back. Walls were painted in cocooning charcoal tones, while a wax finish was used on the ceilings.

Working with colour everyday as an artist Marcella has paint colours mixed to her specifications and loves the idea that they are unique to the space.

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Born in Prague where she lived until she was 10 years old before moving to Australia the artist admits to having a real passion for vintage crystal and fine glass definitely inspired by her beloved grandparents and their own extensive collection.

The home is filled with many beautiful things both old and new. Marcella’s love of glass is illustrated by the colourful collections of vintage glasses, Portugese wine bottle lamps and decorative crystal chandeliers. Contemporary timber veneer pendant lights by the New Zealand designer David Trubridge are equally prized.

Over-sized sofas are covered in Belgian linen and throw cushions are one-offs made by Marcella herself from vintage Japanese Obi cloth and Varanasi saris, were all purchased while holidaying in far off countries and lovingly carried home.

Perhaps the most prized possession of all is the 100 year old frangipani tree. It cost the couple a small fortune to have it transported and craned onto the site, after Mark saw it while driving past an abandoned block in the southern suburbs.

It took four men to dig it in and a year of tender loving care to see it get through the move and back to full health but with everything else the couple do it all just seems to effortlessly fall into place.

www.marcellakaspar.com

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KAREN COTTON

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Karen has produced features for many of the world's leading lifestyle publications -- including UK Instyle, UK Homes & Garden, US Interiors, Belle, Inside Out, Madison, Home Beautiful, Country Style, the Australian Womens Weekly and Harper Collins. Karen's styling expertise extends to both editorial features and advertising campaigns. Karen Cotton Stylist

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