Who lives here?
Michael Beer, his wife Lou and kids Ava, 7, and Fox, 2 1/2
Who are they?
The creative force behind homewares brand, Mr Pinchy & Co
Where is your gorgeous home?
We are just out of Melbourne, down the coast in Torquay. We moved down five years ago. We had our oldest daughter, Ava, and we thought, ‘We’re in an apartment on St Kilda Rd. It’s a great spot, close to work. But you know what? We need a bigger space.’ We looked around, but at the same time, we were developing the business, and we thought, ‘Do we need to be in Melbourne constantly?’ I had stepped away from my career in media, and we thought ‘Why don’t we look down the coast?’ Lou is originally from down this way, so we just sort of made the move - and it’s been great.
Do you have a separate creative space, or do you work from home?
We have a home office, which doesn’t always work with children. But we just recently set up a new warehouse, which is about five minutes away, which doubles as an office / warehouse space. That was about taking the business out of the home, out of the garage - that kind of thing. It makes a massive difference. You know when you’re ready to do it, and when you can do it. But for us, it has given us that head space, to separate everything.
How old are your kids?
Ava is 7 and Fox is 2 1/2. These photos you’re seeing, that’s our house all ‘untouched’, it’s a ‘before kids have arrived back to the house’ photo. The house never looks like that when they’re around!
Is your house old?
It’s about a seven year-old build, so it’s reasonably new. We didn’t build it. When we moved in it was a couple of years old, but over time we have put our own stamp on it. The fireplace, the wood slatting - we inbuilt all of that. We have got a big thing about wood slatting - we love it.
It reminds us of our seventies/eighties childhood...
Yeah, that panelling that they’d do half-way up the wall, in hallways. But I really like it - I think it grounds the room. Because when we moved in, it was pretty much just a blank canvas.
Did you do the wood panelling?
I didn’t build the fire - I got a local handyman. I designed it all up how we wanted it, built the gas fire, inset the TV, and then he came in and helped. But other things around the house, I have done - like the slatting under the kitchen bench. And we are building a new bedhead at the moment. That is project we are halfway through - it’s black linen panelling, with a beautiful wood surround over it.
Do you have a particular piece of furniture in your house that you love?
Yeah. I have got a real soft spot for things that are handmade and have real character. We have got some beautiful stools, and they are so well crafted - there are beautiful grains in the wood. Again, that grounds the whole space. And gives it a central point. I really love those pieces. We found them OS. When we do go overseas, we get on the bikes and get out there and find things. When you are always shipping product back, you have a container, so you just fill it! It’s easy!
Let’s talk about your gorgeous table - details please!
Our dining table was a gift to ourselves for the Christmas just gone, after a big year. We designed it and found an amazing woodworker in Brunswick [in Melbourne] who sourced some beautiful salvaged Oregon beams out of the old Myer Emporium to make it. We love the grain you get with Oregon especially when you can see and feel the notches, and running grain, in different lights. We had it stained black just to give it the ‘Mr Pinchy’ touch, and inlaid a strip of brass running around the edge.
Wow, no wonder it looks amazing!
Everything about the table is big - at 1.8m in diameter, 80mm thick on top and with 250mm wide cross-section legs, it was the largest round dining table our woodworker had ever made! It’s great for dinner parties seating 10, but is also our ‘everyday table’ which will mean over the years, it will receive some dings from the little kids / big kids and gain some real character. I’m sure it will hold many a memory as our family’s table.
We notice you have, ahem, one or two plants in your home…
Plants are one of Mr and Mrs Pinchy’s vices - we love getting out to plant wholesalers and nurseries when we have the chance, and finding unique specimens. Although Fiddle Leaf Figs (featured beside our fireplace) are now pretty much mainstream, and on show in nearly every designer interior, we still love their structure and beautiful foliage and have been using them for a long time.
How many plants do you have?
Pretty much every room in our house has a plant, or plants, in it - we love the way they soften a space and bring a calming affect to the room. I think it has a genetic link back to our caveman days of being surrounded by nature. You can quote me on that, but it’s not exactly scientific!
Do you have any advice for keeping your plants alive?
Our advice with indoor plants is to understand how to look after them, where to place them in terms of correct light, and not to be afraid to go big and make it the feature. A beautiful plant is as much of a feature as an amazing furniture piece.
Back to homewares, do you pick up things from Indonesia and India when you’re there for work.
You always do - you can’t help yourself. It’s hard not to.
Do you have more work to do on your place, or are you done?
There is always more to be done - there is a list! And Lou, she makes my list grow weekly! But that’s good. I am pretty good with my hands, so I build a lot.
Where do you get your inspiration from? From stores, or from your head?
We design and develop everything in house with a lot of our inspiration being drawn from nature and architecture. As you can see our brass objects celebrate the beautiful forms nature presents and our marble/brass ranges pay homage to striking lines and angles that is often a key feature in amazing architecture… we also like having some fun and not taking everything to seriously with some of our humorous pieces like our Weiner – the Hotdog, Pretzel bottle opener etc… but beyond all of this we design and produce pieces that we would not only like in our own home, but will also translate in many other styles of homes and commercial spaces. This is why our brand sits so well with the likes of Coco Republic, The Cool Hunter, Design Hunter, Home By Tribal, Domo, The Vignette Room, Becker Minty and many other beautiful stores across the country along with Paul Smith in 28 stores internationally.
With Mr Pinchy, do you have plans for expansion?
Yeah. Definitely. We will continue the marble range. At Life Instyle (trade show) in Sydney recently we released a few samples, some vessels, and some large round 60cm orbit trays - basically like a coffee table. And then at Melbourne Life Instyle at the end of July this year, or early August, we will be releasing further product - one of those will be a bar range, so real purpose pieces.
Let's take a look at some of the fabulous piece currently available through The Block Shop: