Vibrant colours, gorgeous fabrics and endless patterns. Walking into Frankie and Swiss, the boutique textile business run by sisters, Jacqui and Michelle, it’s this mishmash of colours and textiles that literally jump off the walls to create a welcoming sensory overload.
Housed on the ground floor of a fairly non-descript 1980s commercial building in the bustling Toorak end of South Yarra, upon entering the building you would first expect to be welcomed by a real estate or finance company with harsh white lighting and partition walls – which, according to Michelle, is just what greeted the sisters when they first took over the lease some three years ago.
After a year-long, fruitless search to find that perfect space with a heritage façade and over 100 years of history seeping out from the carpets and walls, the sisters saw this former real estate office and thought they would transform this into their ideal office instead.
Met with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and unencumbered views, the sisters took to ripping down the partitions and peeling off the carpet squares to reveal a bright warehouse-style space with huge ceilings and a lofty appeal.
It was then that they moved in bits of furniture, mountains of hand dyed fabrics and their very own fabric printer, ‘Florence’ – aptly named after a renowned wallpaper designer from the 50s who famously started her successful career at the age of 65 – and the interiors started to ooze the character and charm they’d been searching for all along.
A bit of greenery lined up against the expansive windows and the unexpected surprise of concrete flooring underneath those horrid carpet squares, succeed in transforming this space into that lofty warehouse feel the girls had always wanted.
It’s a nice reminder that things aren’t always what they seem from the outside, and with a bit of creativity and permission to shove partition walls back from whence they came, beautiful interiors can be found within.