Anna Feller lives in your dream home. You may not know it until you’re inside. But after that, no dressing room, rain shower or double garage will compete with the knowledge that it’s possible to live with the ocean just there.
Nicknamed The Cloud, it’s all white-painted walls and floorboards with windows spanning the space. They look out to North Bondi Beach, with the sand close enough to render shoes unnecessary. “I live in bare feet all summer,” confirms Feller, who’s lived three of them here with her son Banjo, swimming in the morning and after school, entertaining friends who track sand through the house with impromptu dinners in the kitchen and drinks on the roof terrace.
Not the kind of place you come across online, Feller inherited the lease when her friend, the artist Nick Hernandez, moved out. “When I came here originally I was always thinking, oh my god I could imagine it ... living so close to the water everyday must be amazing.”
From fantasy to reality, the novelty hasn’t worn off, especially now that the heat is returning. “It’s really revitalising,” says Feller. “It’s so nice knowing that we’re going to be back to those warm, balmy evenings … and I can just, you know, relax, make nice lunches … duck down, have a swim, come back up, it’s amazing.” Not that winter’s a deterrent: “I swim a lot in winter,” says Feller. “I’m Canadian so I don’t mind the cold.”
“These white stools are from MCM House ... they look like trees that are growing. It makes it look like a fairytale, kind of.”
Originally from Vancouver, Feller has forged a bicoastal existence between Australia and the U.S. – travelling regularly to L.A. for work, though she counts Bondi as her sanctuary. “It’s just so pure you know? It’s such a different thing. Especially because that industry that I’m in, it’s just so nice to be able to wash off all your makeup in the ocean and cleanse.”
When it came to decorating her home, Feller was intent on preserving that feeling. “It’s really been all about this light, bright, white apartment … but I try to always add pops of colour for my son, for his visual experience.” A rotation of Banjo’s framed paintings share the space with a woven Anti Bad Vibe Shield, unique in its medium, by artist and surfer Ozzie Wright.
“This ash tray is by a friend of mine, Tino Razo, who did the book Party In The Back ... that’s really special to me because it houses all my sentimental jewellery.”
Works by Feller’s friend and artist Gabrielle Penfold fittingly depict seafood and negronis, and the hanging garlic braid is from Sean’s Panaroma – “from their farm, all their homegrown garlic,” tells Feller. She’s a regular at the North Bondi institution, not to mention the soon to be reopened Porch & Parlour, reached via a few steps on hot bitumen. Da Orazio is another favourite, but a little further, so Banjo rides his scooter when they go for dinner.
Beyond that ocean, the community vibe here is what Feller loves most – a feeling turned bittersweet by the knowledge it can’t stay the same forever.
“We’re in a real transition period,” says Feller, “So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. It really has been such an amazing space for me in terms of my personal growth.
“Because everything’s being torn down now in Bondi, it’s becoming so scarce … I don’t think you can really find anything in so close to the ocean any more that still has feeling.
“I always sit here and think about the wild parties that must have happened in the 60s, all the surfers, and the characters that probably used to come through here. Even just the generations of people that I know, that all have lived here ... it just would have been so fun; you know, it’s always been a bit like that.”