MY LIFE, MY STYLE
Sarah & Sebastian’s Sarah Gittoes in Coogee.
With her flagship Paddington store pulling in design plaudits, SARAH GITTOES, one half of thriving jewellery line Sarah & Sebastian, now turns her refined eye to her new(-ish) beachside apartment. By ELIZA O’HARE
It has been only seven years since Sarah Gittoes and Robert Sebastian Grynkofki launched Sarah & Sebastian, but in that time the artisanal jewellery brand has received a huge wave of response to its minimalist, design-forward pieces. The duo’s earliest collections were defined by a refreshing kind of delicate, filigree style — fine chain bracelets and tiny skinny rings at once modern and built on heritage design foundations — which goes some way to describing Gittoes’s personal style and the vibe inside her and partner Russell Munro’s airy beachside apartment in Coogee, Sydney.
Gittoes has a very serious eye for detail, honed by years of study for her design degree, and it is put to good use in her role as creative director. Her attention to detail is the stuff of legend in her studio. “any design process for one collection usually takes about three months and means countless rounds of sampling,” Gittoes details. “There’s an initial research and concept phase, and then design development and sampling, then we make everything [for] the finished product.the Tidal collection was actually the best example of this. It was just one coral earring and we had 75 different versions of coral, which were basically the same thing, and we mulled over 10 different versions. Eventually I had to ask the team — and it all looked the same to them. They all thought I was mad. But I just go until it feels right. I always like to keep trying, keep changing and keep adapting.”
She applied this strategy to the minimalist, feminine interior of her apartment, which has white walls and large windows overlooking the beachy suburb.the clean lines and low-key choices are pure Gittoes .“i loved growing up by the beach. I grew up in Wollongong — I’ve been a coastal girl always, and we chose Coogee because it’s close to work, [has] the beach and it’s a little more relaxed,” she says.
The apartment is a reverse work in progress, with Gittoes removing and minimising objects and furniture pieces as she goes. Cupboards are full of ornaments and tchotchkes that have been edited out of the mix. “My style is minimal; I think there’s something Zen in not having much around,” Gittoes says. “It keeps you calm, especially when you have a business. I can think clearly when my space around me is clear. It’s definitely my aesthetic and I think you can see that in what we design as well; it’s all really pared-back. And I think it complements the 1930s Art Deco [space] … the juxtaposition of the ornate walls and clean modern furniture I really enjoy.”
The apartment didn’t need many additions. A new wardrobe and a day bed in the sunroom were about the extent of the transformation.the garage stores the couple’s barrage of diving gear, so inside the apartment the strict minimalist order can be maintained. “I really think about purchases. I’m definitely not a spur-of-themoment purchaser with homewares,” Gittoes says. “I think about it and go back and think about it, and then I’ll know. Everything has to have a place. I’ve had the opposite end of the spectrum, where I’ve had so much clutter, and I’ve moved a few times, so, naturally, you shed a few things, and I think I started wanting things to be pared-back. It just feels better.”
The aesthetic of the brand’s first flagship store, in Paddington, Sydney, follows the same principles. An unusual space — a darkglass box — it’s the definition of a destination store. Designed by Sydney-based architects Landini Associates, it just won silver in the Sydney Design Awards. “We tinted the glass to black working on a concept of a two-way mirror,” Gittoes says. “robert and I always try to do something a little unexpected when it comes to design
[and] the interior really showcases what we do and our process, the way we design. [How we design the jewellery] is how we display it.”
Gittoes’s wardrobe is as you’d expect: order, calm and colour coordination. “Wardrobe purchases are spontaneous,” she says, “but my true style is a shirt and jeans, almost like a uniform. I won’t buy something completely out of character, it’s more like multiples of the same things. Today, I am wearing a Loewe shirt and A.P.C. jeans. I would wear this for work and weekends. For events, I would wear a shirt with a skirt, but I also love dresses by Dion Lee — we’ve a really close relationship through work, so I’ll often wear his dresses for eveningwear — but most of the time, if I can get away with wearing sneakers to an event, I will. I’ve got quite a few pairs. I have two pairs of heels: Balenciaga and Céline. In terms of colours, it’s navy most of the time.”
But there’s one chink in her minimalist armour: Gittoes has a thing for indoor plants, which means regular Saturdays devoted to repotting, and all the wonderful mess that goes with it. “i love green, I love having nature in here. If I could have more, I would,” she says. “We started off buying a couple and thought, These are really nice, but they seem like they’re all alone. [Plants] bring some colour into the home. Everything else is quite monotone.” the north-facing, heat-trapping sunroom is a perfect spot for Gittoes’s cacti, whereas in the living room she has a favourite fiddle-leaf fig she and Munro got “when it was a baby” upon moving in together. “watching it grow … it’s one of the best-performing plants. I have a green thumb and hadn’t realised.”
The fig creates a beautiful tension in the space between the ordered minimalism and the shock of green leaves inching across the room; a charming mix of form and joy.the perfect place to come home to.
Sarah Gittoes in her lounge in Sydney, with a Noguchi coffee table and her prized watering can (on shelf), wearing Céline top, $1850, and pants, $1900; her own Sarah & Sebastian jewellery.
From top: Gittoes’s beloved fiddle-leaf fig; geometric wall art and a fresh bouquet; Gittoes wears bassike shirt, $320; her own Sarah & Sebastian jewellery; the lounge, with a Stanislava Pinchuk artwork and shelves displaying favourite pottery, including (bottom left) a Nicolette Johnson vase.
In the bedroom, with a Noguchi lamp, wearing Balenciaga top, $1585, from Parlour X; her own jeans and jewellery.
Gittoes’s denim and Balenciaga shoes. Sarah & Sebastian earring (far left), $320, and necklace, $1595, sarahandsebastian.com; Balenciaga shoes, $1180, net-a-porter.com; Beckham shirt, $1596, victoriabeckham.com. Céline bag, $3200, (02) 9232 7051. Acne Studios shoes, $660, acnestudios.com. Above: Sarah & Sebastian ring, $1450, sarahandsebastian.com.
Linenhouse cushion, $25, domayneonline.com.au. lamp, $149, domayneonline.com.au. Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon, $120.
Sarah & Sebastian pieces with a Lrnce jug.
Alex and Trahanas plate, $120, alexandtrahanas.com. Domus Botanica heart-leaf philodendron, $35, and pot, $50, domusbotanica.com.au. Sean Dix shelves, $595, remodern.com.au.
Victoria A Sarah & Sebastian ‘neckwire’.