On Location With Richard Unsworth
Photography by Terence Chin
Moving image by Declan Blackall
Each season one of the highlights of releasing a new IN BED collection is seeking out a campaign location that truly articulates the feeling of the range. Over the years this search has taken us inside some of the most beautiful and compelling spaces in Australia, and often, given us a glimpse into the world of the colorful characters lucky enough to call them home. For our winter collection we took up residence for one sunny day at Trincomalee, a grand old dame built in 1896 on a rocky point at Sydney’s Lovett Bay.
During our production process we were thrilled to meet the co-owner of Trincomalee, Garden Designer and founder of Garden Life Richard Unsworth. Richard kindly invited us to visit and warned us to stare clear of the giant bunya pines which at the time were falling freely from a tree near the front door. After spending a day at Trincomalee, it’s hard not to imagine Richard and his friends’ relaxed, cosy weekends here in winter and long, breezy days on the jetty in summer. We asked Richard to tell us a bit more about the history of this very special home, the quiet evolution of its garden and share some of his favourite memories from his two decades with Trincomalee.
“Trinco was built in 1896 and is one of the original old houses on Pittwater, once belonging to the Mark Foy retailing family. I’ve been visiting the house for over 20 years, as my best friend’s mother lived there, and Justine grew up there.”
“Quite a few orphan Christmas’s were spent sleeping in the boatshed (which I thought was THE most magical thing ever). In 2016, together with Justine and our respective partners, we bought the house from mum.”
“With the amount of natural timber in the house, every piece needs to add light or colour to contrast with the earthiness. I’ve always been a fan of 20th century modern furniture, and am a huge fan of auction houses and stores such as Rudy Rocket in Sydney and Grandfathers Axe and Angelucci in Melbourne. Some pieces are sourced from Ken Neale and Shapiro’s 20th century auction is always worth a look. The French bamboo ceramic tiled table is a favourite and the Tom Dixon lamp from Dedece adds a touch of rose gold bling.“
“Everyone melts when they visit, and the magical environment can’t help but lift peoples’ spirits and they start to shed the city. My partner and I love having friends there, and any gathering is an opportunity to connect with loved ones. In particular, my fiftieth was a standout, a beauty day with friends and family.”
“The garden journey [at Trincomalee] has been a huge learning for me, and a different approach has been needed. One of calm, persistent removal of weeds, of waiting to see what grows and evolves naturally, what species gets chomped on by the armies of wallabies that roam freely. Predominantly I’m restoring the planting back to endemic species that would normally grow there, although there are some old school exotic species that suit the heritage and style of the house. The old sandstone is a huge part of the grounds, and its structure helps to define the horizontal plane, giving the informal naturalistic planting some weight and form.”
“In autumn the water is still warm, the humidity will hopefully disappear, and this autumn I'll be planting lots of bulbs In the garden. I love winter at the house, we light the big old fire which warms the whole house, and sometimes I cook on the old French wood heater in the kitchen.”
If Trincomalee and Richard’s story capture your imagination as much as they did ours, you can visit the property for one of his highly-coveted walking tours.
“There are some beautiful walks in the surrounding bush, and I wanted to combine bringing people to experience this, and raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation at the same time. We take 8 people each month, with a guide, and finish with a lunch at the house. So far we have raised around $20,000. They are heavily booked out although we are also open to taking private groups of eight as well.”