Features, Interviews, Lifestyle

Meet…Sarah Neilson of Penny Farthing Design House

Stacey by Stacey
June 17th, 2014

What could be better than a place that can find you the perfect print or piece of art to fit your budget? Well, this is what Sarah Neilson does with her incredible company Penny Farthing Design House.  We have LOVED the pieces Sarah chooses for way too long now and the stalking we did to get her on our site has finally come to fruition.

Sarah and her team endeavour to find one off unique gorgeous pieces that suit your home and even more amazing is they use a ton of local artists to make this happen. Originally Sarah started this company with her sister Alice who has recently gone on to pursue another dream of hers but lucky for us Sarah is still keeping the gorgeousness happening.

Let’s get this chat started…

Sarah Nielson of Penny Farthing Design House

Sarah Nielson of Penny Farthing Design House

Sarah tell us what you were doing before you began Penny Farthing Design House? 

“I was working for a large property company and finished a tough year and on Christmas night, my sister Alice and I started dreaming of a better life. We wanted to create something that would be an outlet for our creativity and utilise all the hard work and skills that we acquired to set up what has become Penny Farthing Design House. I currently work full time and run Penny Farthing with a great team who are very dedicated and independent.  On a personal front I have a very supportive and smart husband and a little black pound poodle that is as cute as a button.”

Penny Farthing Art

Penny Farthing Art

What made you both take the leap into starting Penny Farthing Design House? Did you talk about it over family get togethers for long before it came to fruition?

“Alice and I started the business and both had a very similar work ethic and really love spending time together, we also knew that we came at things from different angles and could compliment each other’s strengths. Alice has recently left the business to pursue a new dream life in the world of Interior design.”

Penny Farthing Art

Penny Farthing Art

You source the most desirable art and artist for your clients space and budget, tell us how you decided to create a company based around this?

“The thinking behind our collection was born from a pure desire to source great statement pieces for our houses at attainable levels. A paled back interior with a white pallet that is then cleverly layered needs something cool on the wall to individualise and personalise the space and we believed there was a big gap in the market.

We wanted the products to be sharp and edgy yet also refined and sophisticated and something that people could change in 5 or 6 years once they were ready for something new. We desperately wanted large-scale pieces and needed it to be priced well and it definitely needed to create an impact that enhanced.”

Penny Farthing Art

Penny Farthing Art

We would love for your story to somehow inspire our readers to jump into the unknown and do what they are most passionate about…any advice?

“The ability to take the leap is a lot about overcoming fears and to have an unwavering belief in your idea or concept. There are so many opportunities in the market place especially considering the amount of structural change that is happening around us.  There are new industries emerging everyday and I think it is a very exciting time. There is of course some hard work and sacrifices but when it is in the space of something that you love to do it doesn’t feel as much like work.  There are moments when I question my sanity for what has been created but at this stage I am very proud and passionate about the business and what it has achieved and it’s future potential.”

Penny Farthing Art

Penny Farthing Art

We’re dying to know how you choose your art and artists? Give us a sneak peak on some key components that you focus on when you’re recommending artists and art for a place?

“Buy what you love, it is no different if you are spending $200 or $20,000, it has to be something that resonates.  We choose our artists and art works simply because we love them.”

Penny Farthing Art

Penny Farthing Art

What are your goals for Penny Farthing?

“The number one destination for the coolest art in the country.”

What inspires you?

“Transcendental meditation is a good start to getting images and ideas to surface but I also love magazines, clever artisans, the world of instagram, my early morning walks, a good bath and having time to dream.”

Penny Farthing Art in Sarah's House

Penny Farthing Art in Sarah’s House

If we walked into your house now…tell us what people would say about your style?

“When my Mother and Father in law stay they say, there is always something different, artworks are always being rotated and I think it is important to keep things moving. As for a style it has a relaxed elegance but definitely not too serious.”

Tell us your typical day in the office?

“The gallery recently opened in Balmain and it is often open on Saturday mornings, which is always started with a coffee from Tim or Kevin and then it is all about the planning for the week ahead. We meet with different artists and talk about new works and possible collaborations, we look through what is in the pipeline of works to come and critique some that need more work.  There is always a re arrangement of the artworks on the walls, pay the bills and talk with customers pretty much about anything.”

Penny Farthing Art in Sarah's House

Penny Farthing Art in Sarah’s House


10 minutes with Sarah of Penny Farthing…


Your fave piece in your house right now?

Is an Arthur Elgort photo bought from Staley Wise Gallery in Soho NY

Must have item right now?

I really want to own a Slim Aarons limited edition print…. It is on the wish list.

What is the one item that can transform an entire room?

Simply the use of candle light and music transform any interior and enhance how everyone looks and feels, even if the room needs a little hand……failing that I would suggest a great art work!

Fave interior trend for 2014?

To have a vision or thread that can be carried throughout is key to creating a beautiful interior. The use of textures and varied materials to create greater depth, ie; the careful combination of a beautifully woven wool throw, a feather juju hat, velvet sofa’s, cream shell coffee table, coral, bronze, crystal, timber, leather drum coffee table and patterned pillows….

Trend on the way out?

Predictability! Mix it all up, keep it unique and have fun

Must have item right now?

Vintage Max Dupain Prints from Penny Farthing

Fave blog?

SF Girl by Bay

Fave magazine?

Living Etc, The collective, Real Living and Vogue US.

Follow all things Penny Farthing Design House: 

Website: www.pennyfarthingdh.com.au

Instagram:  @pennyfarthingdh