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The Max factor | Milkbottle

The Max factor

Ray Barnie

In a thoroughly modern world, Australian hairdresser Ray Barry is turning back time. Not for him is the discipline of today’s restrained interiors – quite the contrary. In his small but flamboyant Melbourne apartment, Barry manipulates scenes of kitsch and clutter with unrestrained enthusiasm for collecting the classics and an uncanny eye for the cheeky, comical vignette.

“I treat my home more like a hotel room” confesses Melbourne hairdresser Ray Barry. Heading up one of the city’s busiest salons, he rarely has spare time on his hands. “When I do spend time here it’s probably relaxing in bed,” he says. “I take up a big Florentine-style breakfast tray with grapes, nuts, chocolates and cheese and a pot of tea. I should have been born in another time.”

Barry’s apartment, tucked into the back of a busy street in St Kilda, is indeed like stepping into another time…. and place. Barry moved to Melbourne from his hometown in rural Queensland in the country’s far north over 15 years ago, to live in “civilisation”. “Melbourne is definitely home,” he says. Just prior to opening his first salon, he moved into the two-storey apartment that he and his cat Edward now call home.

For a small apartment there is a lot going on. From the entry passage there is a tiny kitchen to the right, and to the left a small mosaic-tiled bathroom. Directly ahead is the living area which opens onto a small balcony sheltered by trees. The walls are covered in painting and mirrors and an imposing French rococo- style chandelier hangs from the ceiling. An open riser staircase leads to the mezzanine bedroom and dressing room that take in views of St Kilda bay.

The living room’s crowning glory is a massive French rococo-style chandelier. A Venetian mirror is surrounded by paintings by Australian artists. Under the staircase is a 1920s French table with a bronze statue of Pan, books and curios. A deer scull and antlers rests on piles of books next to a reproduction French lamp and a pewter candlestick balancing a marble orb.
left The living room’s crowning glory is a massive French rococo-style chandelier. A Venetian mirror is surrounded by paintings by Australian artists. Under the staircase is a 1920s French table with a bronze statue of Pan, books and curios.
right A deer scull and antlers rests on piles of books next to a reproduction French lamp and a pewter candlestick balancing a marble orb.
Animal passion: Ray Barry commissioned the Giraffe screen by artist Simon Leah to unify a loose theme of animal prints in the mezzanine bedroom. Zebra-print cowhide and reproduction 1920s chair came from Jean Pierre Heurteau Design in Melbourne.  The desk is 1920s French. The tiny kitchen is home to collections of 18th century Chippendale glass compotes and Florentine trays.
left Animal passion: Ray Barry commissioned the Giraffe screen by artist Simon Leah to unify a loose theme of animal prints in the mezzanine bedroom. Zebra-print cowhide and reproduction 1920s chair came from Jean Pierre Heurteau Design in Melbourne. The desk is 1920s French.
right The tiny kitchen is home to collections of 18th century Chippendale glass compotes and Florentine trays.

Images: Mikkel Vang via Taverne Agency. Words: Helen Redmond

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