Two-year-old Paloma is riding her large plastic dog across pristine white floorboards. The dog is rather lovely (it’s a Magis Puppy) but it doesn’t have wheels, so riding it essentially means dragging it.
Paloma’s mum, Eva Galambos, doesn’t bat an eyelid.
"This floor is indestructible. We had that conversation with the painters when we moved in. Easy maintenance is paramount to us. Yes, I am obsessed with style, but I have to be realistic - we have little kids [this includes older daughter Alexa, 6]."
Galambos, who owns iconic Sydney fashion boutique Parlour X, and her fiancé Michael Penny, a creative director, moved into their 1940s house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs last April. After ripping up the old carpet and sanding back and painting the wooden floors, they put in new bathrooms, a simple white kitchen and French doors both front and back.
Philippe Starck’s classic Ghost chairs are a foil to the sturdy antique table. "I bought [it] in 1995 in Sussex, England," says Galambos. "It’s an old refectory table from a boys' school from the 1800s.
Basics complete, making the house a home was all about the decor. "We live near Bondi so plenty of white and sunlight gives it a beachy feel," explains Galambos.
But she’s no minimalist. "I have eclectic taste – I don’t like things too neat. And there’s something to be said for nostalgia." Galambos is a huntergatherer, just as likely to comb flea markets as she is to buy designer.
"Colour makes people happy. For me, yellow and this orangey-red are like the sun – they add warmth. In architectural magazines and on Instagram, everybody seems to be doing tonal white, but I always like to be different," she says.
In a former life, Galambos studied art history and she’s currently an ambassador for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
She has collected art ever since she banked her first pay cheque and her living room alone now houses show-stopping canvases by Adam Cullen and good friend and Archibald Prize winner Del Kathryn Barton, as well as treasured paintings by Galambos’s father.
Oh, and then there are the Charles Blackman and Anthony Lister works in the next room, and the Andy Warhol advertising posters in the (reluctantly under-used) dining room.
"I can’t wait to get back into entertaining," says Galambos, who is renowned for her dinner parties. "This past year has been all about builders! No matter how carefully you plan, it’s messy, stressful and all-consuming."
Luckily for Galambos and her family, this lovingly curated home is now all about them.
Parlour X: The Boutique
Galambos inside the new Parlour X store, a luxury shopping space housed in an historic Sydney church. Photo: Jason Busch
Shortly after her house was finished Galambos impressively embarked on another project: the relocation of her business Parlour X from a pretty terrace in Paddington’s Five Ways to the historic, and neglected, 300 square-metre St John’s Church on nearby Oxford Street. Galambos describes leaving her base of 14 years as "emotional".
"But our online business is booming, [meaning] much more stock. And the level of our luxury collections keeps climbing – Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Valentino and Alaïa aren’t brands that suit a modest space. We needed to create something world-class."
Galambos enlisted architects Tobias Partners to maintain the integrity of the church’s soaring sandstone interiors while creating a functional workspace. A floating glass mezzanine houses her office and buying team. Beneath, a central cube showcases accessories by the likes of Céline, while the apparel collections line the walls, dramatically lit by original leadlight windows.
"When there is not a soul on the road, you get goosebumps when you see them glow," gushes Galambos. "Now that [both] builds are behind me, I can really revel in how well it has all turned out."