Two Foodies Embracing Secondhand Style in Australia

Two Foodies Embracing Secondhand Style in Australia

Hannah Puechmarin
Jan 25, 2017

Name: Michaela-Sophie Chin and Nicholas Sangster
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Years Lived In: Renting 2.5 years

Michaela and Nick both work in the creative industries, which is obvious to any guest who enters their imaginative home. They furnished the space with secondhand finds that complement the house's unique features and reflect their artistic interests.

One doesn't often get to design a part of their rental home—but in this case Michaela did! The homeowner, Michaela's former colleague, had asked for her advice during the kitchen renovation. When the colleague had to move for work, Michaela and Nick moved in. Michaela has a love for Japan and cooking, and Nick adores coffee. And their rental kitchen has plenty of room for both of their passions.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-century, handmade, minimalist


M: I work part-time as a DJ and full-time at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) so I'm lucky enough to be able to work with contemporary artists and musicians, and spend most of my week in two vibrant architectural sites filled with an amazing collection of artwork. All of these elements are a massive source of inspiration!

N: I'm the co-founder of Brisbane-based men's tailoring house the Afternoon, so am inspired by innovative and creative industries, with particular emphasis on fashion and design. I, with my business partner, Kurt, work out of a space in Fortitude Valley. We have had the pleasure of tailoring men from every walk for some of the most important days of their lives. I guess in that sense I take inspiration from my work at the Afternoon.

Favorite Element:

M: I would have to say the kitchen as I love cooking and have spent a lot of time developing these skills. It's a small but functional space and it is filled with some of my favorite things including my Japanese knife, Anova Sous Vide and Nick's La Pavoni coffee machine.

N: I would have to say my cactus collection in the backyard. I spend plenty of time enjoying a coffee or reading a book at the outside table where I am surrounded by the cactus.

Biggest Challenge:

M: No air conditioning during Brisbane's hot and humid summers!

N: Either no air conditioning or no bath.

What Friends Say: They admire our cook book collection and enjoy joining us for dinner parties in our backyard.

Biggest Embarrassment:

M: My maneki-neko (lucky cat) collection, which I've collected on various overseas trips to Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. Maybe it's time to embrace my crazy cat lady status?

N: My rice pillow, which I purchased in Japan about a year ago. It is a bag of rice in the literal sense, but it provides the best neck support.

Proudest DIY: Michaela purchased a Noguchi coffee table on eBay. When she went to collect it, they couldn't find the legs that made up half of the table. The sellers gave her the glass top, and I made her the legs out of a 40-year old piece of PNG Rosewood. The result was unique and gave a bit more character to a common design.

Biggest Indulgence: Dedicated pompous coffee section in the kitchen, and also probably all the other things we have in the kitchen, like an ice-cream machine, sous vide etc. etc.

Best Advice:

M: Even if you are renting, don't be afraid to make your mark on the space to make it your home. We've attempted to do this by finding unique and handmade furniture that we love, filling the house with plants, artworks, and objects from our travels overseas.

N: Although they've built an industry out of it, don't go to Ikea to fill out your house in one day. There's thrill in the chase of getting something awesome and original through a decent antique centre or Ebay/ over getting a cheap knock-off that's available at your whim. It's also more sustainable than purchasing cheap, mass-produced replicas that don't last.

Dream Sources: Time travel to 1950s California to purchase original mid-century art, furniture, clothing, or houses.


Vintage plant stand with plants

Fred Lowen Tessa lounges
Danish mid-century sideboard
Paintings - Euan Macleod, Jesse Olsen,
Japanese woodblock prints by Kunio Kaneko
Handmade coffee table and TV stand

Vintage dining table and chairs
Vintage drinks cabinet

Anova Sous Vide
Nick's La Pavoni coffee machine

Japanese rice pillow
Fred Lowen Tessa armchairs
Photograph by Peter Wanny

West German Lamp belonging to homeowner
One very expensive showerhead — one of the most expensive things in the home! — won in a competition.

Thanks, Michaela and Nicholas!

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