Residence – a Profile of a Stylish Designer

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. William Morris (1834-1896)

It seems, to me, almost impossible that it is 20 years since the quietly spoken handsome young man from the USA arrived at Sydney to add his talents to the interior design pool in Australia.

Well qualified in America Thomas Hamel trained with two well known international designers before working for the renowned interior design firm of Parish Hadley Associates, one of whose directors was the wonderfully eccentric ecclesiastically named Sister Parish (1910-1994 ).

‘She who must be obeyed’ had been the first home grown American designer to produce interiors within the classically elegant White House, although later usurped by a designer from foreign climes, much to the chagrin of locals.

When Thomas arrived in Sydney his presence did not generate that sort of emotion because by then he was a truly internationally inspiring design personality with a mature outlook, well able to cope with the locals, as well as make a few specialized moves himself. He made the creative world sit up and notice when he painted one of Sydney’s landmark buildings under renovation, a fabulous earthy green.

Parish Hadley had been renowned for its combined savoir flair and reputation for providing liveable interiors. With Thomas that had obviously made an impression, as evidenced in Residence his first landmark publication.

Residence splendidly showcases his ability to produce an interior that, while it accommodates the needs of the client in a timelessly elegant and unforgettable way, also provides evidence that Thomas Hamel uses just the right amount of depth and resonance as an essential aspect of its ingredients.

Like a recipe for unforgettable cuisine, Thomas carefully crafts and stylishly shapes his interiors to suit their occupants, providing an aesthetically pleasing built environment that allows them to live out their daily lives effortlessly. I am sure they must all feel very privileged to have him as their designer.

This beautiful illustrated volume provides an insight into some of his favourite projects, offering a breathtaking view of magnificent homes from a harbour-front villa and bayside Italianate residence in Melbourne, to a stylish retreat in Florida and a French farmhouse in Luberon. Chapters are accompanied by a description of the design process used in each transformation.

It is very well done Mr Hamel.

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Photograph Thomas Hamel by Lord Lichfield

Carolyn McDowall July 2010

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