House Tour: Sam Parsons from Studio Sam
The S came from the Woolloongabba Antique Centre. The Sub Cero stool is from Anon & Co. The book work on the wall is part of a series titled “Bookscapes” – a new product by Sam for a Queensland Museum exhibition earlier this year called “Bespoke”. It features her trademark passion for folding, colour, fabrics and form and was designed and hand-made by Studio Sam. Empire sofa from Jardan, with Marimekko cushions from The Modern. Wooden stool from Byron Bay given to Sam by a friend. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Designer Sam Parsons was destined to have her name up in lights, just not on Broadway. A giant “S,” that once lit up the old Santos House building in Brisbane city, adorns the living area of her Wooloowin home.
“I love it,” Sam says of the floor-to-ceiling S. “Everybody who walks in here loves it, even people who are not designers. It’s a really special piece because it can do that.”
The eat-in kitchen features a table that used to belong to Sam’s grandparents. Eames chairs from Living Edge. Sam found the old industrial light in Melbourne many years ago. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Wood chopping boards from Koskela many years ago. Rolling pin found in an op shop while looking for books. “I picked up a lot of items on those book searches,” Sam says. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam is one of those uber-talented people who can do it all – product and interior design and landscape architecture. She is innately creative and original, with the foresight to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Sam and her architect husband Kevin Miles moved to Brisbane five years ago from Melbourne where she operated a thriving design studio – Studio Sam.
What was Melbourne’s loss has been Brisbane’s gain.
Sam has won a slew of awards during her career, most recently the Brisbane City Council and Arts Queensland Creative Sparks Grant to design a range of furniture. The result was Outee. Designed with small-scale urban living in mind, Outee is made from UV-resistant recyclable polyethylene and can be used outdoors. Its compact and flexible design is ideal for those starved of floorspace as it can be rotated and used as a table and chair, bar stool, bench or high table.
Outee displays all the hallmarks of Sam’s designs which include challenging our throw-away society, as well as a fascination with folded forms and portable pieces that can be used in more than one way.
Sam says she has a practical approach to design. “I don’t like to be fashionable. I am interested in producing quality, eco-conscious pieces that will last. All of my products have been in answer to trying to solve a problem. I like my products to be functional and interactive. Some people have called them art, which is a compliment, but I don’t think of them as art – I see it as design.”
The main bedroom features a Brett Whitely poster from the NSW Art Gallery. The table is called “Fat Fat” by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia from Space Furniture. The chair is also Patricia Urquiola from her Fjord collection for Moroso. The wood sculpture is by aboriginal artist Dianne Riley Wark and was purchased from the Mataranka Stockyard Gallery in the Northern Territory. The baskets are also aboriginal and were bought on various trips to the NT and north Qld. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam’s bedside table is a Zaishu stool. She became friends with the designers after working together. The bedside lamp are Flos Parentesi designed by Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu. She bought it with a gift voucher from Space Furniture which she won for a design competition several years ago. Bed linen by Aura Home. The cross pillow is of Scandinavian design from a store in Melbourne. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Leather cupboard pulls imported from US company Spinneybeck. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Some of the orphaned plates Sam rescued to create new sets. The butterflies are by Cindy Lee-Davies from the Lightly company. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam’s home office. The Bookscreen uses hardback books Sam has collected over the years. It is a labour-intensive design, taking up to 60 hours to produce. The campaign chair by Arne Novell was bought from Great Dane (since closed) but you can still buy online. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Some of the hundreds of books Sam has collected for her work. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
The skittles are made from Tasmanian pine and were a gift from Sam’s parents. Sam has been collecting spinning tops for years. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam Parsons sitting on the Outee designed for inner-city balcony living. Yellow is her favourite colour. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam’s Siena the Bookblock Table is made from the pages of discarded books. No glue is used and each is hand-crafted by Sam. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com
Sam’s Wooloowin house. “I love Queenslanders and wooden homes. They have so much character,” she says. Photo: Susan Schwartz for www.styletribeonline.com