THE quintessential Aussie ritual of a relaxed Sunday flop-and-drop is echoed in the shake-off-the-sand world of the Tuckeys and the unvarnished feel of the Mark Tuckey furniture line.
Based in Sydney’s northern beaches, the idyll of sparkling emerald coves and beaches where even the billionaires wear shorts and thongs, design duo Louella and Mark share their curvilinear coastal pad with daughters Chilli, seven, and Indigo, nine.
The spatial dynamic of their light, airy home is in tune with the organic rawness of cotton, leather, timber and linen.
“It’s funny how everything has gone back to the ’70s here, with cut-off, ripped jeans and long hair,” laughs Mark, whose larrikin twinkle and shaggy blond locks are poster-boy perfect for the sun’n’surf lifestyle his brand incarnates.
“I spend a lot of the time at the hairdresser to look like this – not.”
After growing up on ‘the beaches’, living in Europe, then spending 20 years in Melbourne (10 of them with Louella), he felt the urge to return.
“I casually suggested it one night and she pretty much went upstairs and started packing.
“It’s the same beach environment that I grew up in.”
Finding an old gem of a waterfront property – “a beach shack really” – that had been previously owned by an elderly lady, they ripped up the wool carpet and brightened the house with paint.
“We added a deck and big decking pathway in the garden, and stripped out a lot of plants to increase the view,” recalls Louella, who worked in styling and visual merchandising for famous design house Conran, which first brought her to Australia.
Now Louella’s flair is the creative force behind the couple’s exciting new partnership with men’s and women’s fashion brand Cotton On, as it launches its first homewares line, Mark Tuckey for Cotton On, in selected stores this week (online launched July 3).
“Just as we live at home with a really natural palette with pops of colour, the collection has lots of creams, off-whites and pale greys – with certain pieces you can mix and match in deeper or brighter colours.”
Categorised by Eat, Drink, Relax, Store, Bathe and Sleep, the collection conjures the perfect beach-house weekend, with bed linen, throws with oversized stitching, and tacking-stitch blankets in liveable, soothing neutrals – with the grace note of colour in an artisanal mug, bathmat’s tassels or knitted cushions that beg to be snuggled into.
“It’s a great way to play with colour without overwhelming the decor, just like accessories in fashion,” enthuses Louella.
“There are beautiful soft oranges, grey-blues, watermelon-like reds, yellows and coral pinks, charcoals – warmer colours and cooler colours that can be a bit girl or a bit boy…”
Cotton On recognised the market desire for great-value interiors pieces with personality and approached the pair, impressed by their designer furniture brand.
“Our partnership will deliver authentic, modern Australian style to homes globally – it’s an exciting move for us,” says Felicity McGahan, Cotton On’s general manager, on the eve of the brand’s departure into a new arena.
And the Tuckeys love Cotton On right back, rhapsodising about the “amazingly talented” in-house team, and integrity of what is now a global brand.
“They’re travelling all over the world, and incredibly productive, but down-to-earth, people,” affirms Mark, who focused on integrating the two brands and is looking forward to new collections.
“We went away from the meetings very gung-ho straight away.”
“It’s a family-owned business,” adds Louella, “and it’s just this hugely positive vibe – but they also blew us away with their fair-trade and ethical sourcing, which is second to none.
“The Australian Fashion Report gave them a top rating. We’re just like one big family now.
“It’s not a one-off thing – we’re in this together.”