Informed Relaxation

: : Stacey Broughton and Leon van de Graaff's house in urban Highgate Hill [Brisbane, Australia] is an orange lamp-tinged, grass-matted island dream, peppered with tiki masks and a dual-pronged sense of the refined and kooky. "It's tiki on a budget!" exclaims a leopard-print clad Stacey, describing the more modest beginnings of some of her finds, whilst shaking up a very strong Cosmopolitan from the dictatorial cosiness of her grass-roofed cocktail booth. : :

: : A comprehensive grasp of tiki style — and in particular its ability to be approached from high-end or garage sale sources — imbues the house with a heavy sense of informed relaxation. From serious collector pieces to the kitsch bamboo-covered walls, their house illustrates tiki's delicious inherent duality. This is a quality which makes it a pleasure to live in a style with rich ancient histories whilst providing a tangible sense of the classic vacation. : :

: : Leon is no tag-along when it comes to the household's avid infatuation with tiki. An audiovisual technician based at the Queensland University of Technology, he's also quite a prolific found-objects sculptor, and more interested in tiki deriving from the Asia-Pacific region in contrast to the wider recognised American-Hawaii styles. His father's experience surveying in Papua New Guinea during the 1950s informs this new and important take on a stalwart of classic home decor. : :

: : Stacey and Leon agree there's a certain lifestyle that goes along with the appreciation of tiki, and it connects with their taste in music. Stacey, a cabaret lounge singer, flicks through her LPs for something to put on the record player: "I've got Sergio Mendez... Martin Denny...The album covers go along with the whole feel." : :

: : Showing us around, they can recall where most objects came from, and the condition they were in when discovered. There's even a diorama Leon made inside the shell of an old 1950s TV set. Where once the tube sat there is now a miniature tiki bar, with it's own little TV in the corner, and a tiny zebra-skin rug on the floor. : :

: : In a tiki house, everything's geared to leisure — not an empty leisure but one filled with reverie and a thousand delicious points of interest. It's just the precise change needed when returning home from a day in a city crammed full of unromantic architecture perpetuating grey concrete slabs as a kind of council-approved anti-Zen. Tiki encapsulates a dream of the quintessential '50s island escape — temperate, relaxed, an urban impression of paradise. : :

More info: www.leonstudio.com

Words: Carmen Keates

Images: Chris Osbourne

Reproduced with permission of Brisbane Modern Magazine © 2007 (www.australianmodern.com.au)


Stacey Broughton and Leon van de Graff
Stacey Broughton and Leon van de Graff
Stacey Broughton
Stacey Broughton
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