Expert Eye: In With the Old

What happens when you move into a new home but have an existing art collection? Penny Craswell chats to interior designer Kerry Phelan for her tips on how to hang old art in a new interior.

Kerry Phelan of K.P.D.O. Architecture + Interior Design, Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong, recently designed the interiors for Art House, a Victorian terrace owned by an art collector. The collection includes a range of different formats: paintings, photography and sculpture. “If you have a large collection,” says Phelan, “then art is a big consideration when planning a new interior.”

In the sitting room, three large figurative paintings create a balance hanging on each wall. 

The powder room has two important photography works by Tracey Moffatt. The dining room features a cluster of four Wunda Shields on a black plinth paired with an abstract painting by Papunya Tula artist Charlie Tjapangati beside the fireplace. And in the study, a large landscape by Jason Benjamin hangs above a custom credenza with an Italian mid-century lamp, creating a warm and moody moment.

For Phelan, a lot of it is intuitive: “Choosing a position for each work must feel right,” she says. It’s also about experimenting with new ways to show work, and about understanding how pieces of art can be combined with furniture and lighting to create a perfectly balanced and curated feel. Here are Phelan’s top tips for hanging art in a new interior.

More Expert Eye from Recent issues

Expert Eye: Perfect Matchmakers

Rebecca Gross speaks to three art and design experts who show how artworks can be curated to create feeling, mood and diversity throughout spaces in your home.

Expert Eye: How to buy authentically

A residential art collection is often best when it is deeply personal, reflecting the lived experience and values of the collector. Margaret Hancock Davis talks to Penny Craswell about her collection.