Toma Adair artist sitting on couch
Tom in his Melbourne studio

What role does furniture play in your life?

Mostly functional, but it also needs to look right for the space. We spend a lot of time in our living room and bedroom so have invested in nice pieces for each space. Over the years our needs and tastes for furniture have changed, the thing that has stayed consistent is making sure we buy pieces that will last, not just physically but aesthetically as well.


Do you have an early furniture memory?
My earliest memory was of my grandfather’s Tessa lounge suite in Kermit green boucle around 1992-ish.


Were you creative as a child?
I’ve always been creative and have gravitated to making and drawing. Painting came quite a bit later in life.


Which designers do you admire?
Our first house was done by Fiona Lynch, but we have recently just bought a new family home and are working with Nathan Ruttner (ex. Hecker Guthrie) and we absolutely love working with him. From concept, execution and communication he is an A++. Can’t wait to share our project when it’s completed.

What are some of your favourite pieces that you’ve collected over the years?
Timber Skull from Mexico, Noncense incense burner, Studio Ciao Planters, Togo chairs, Jardan Wilfred Armchair, Michael Staniak Artworks, Oversize Timber chopping board (made by me when we bought our first house).


Do you collect something?
Marathon bibs from my races, artwork (art swaps and buying), plastic shopping bags from overseas.


What is your approach to decorating your space?
Our approach to decorating is to not rush it and collect meaningful things over the long-term. All the pieces in our house have a story that is special to us either individually or together as a family.


Favourite room in your house?
Hard one!! Probably our master bedroom retreat with light filled ensuite and walk-in robe.


Favourite coffee table book?
I have quite a few so it’s hard to choose; Darren Sylvester “Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something”, Howard Arkley “Spray”, or Tom Wesselmann “Standing Still Lifes”. 


Tell us what you do and describe a typical day in your life.
I start my days early, meet my best friend at the gym or for a run at 5:32am 7 days a week, we co-founded a run club which is a big part of my life for the community aspect. I’m home by 7:30 to get ready with the family (son Arkley and Wife Nikki) before heading to day-care drop off on the way to the studio. I generally keep 9-5 working hours in the studio and start each day with a meditation.


Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Before I took the leap to full-time artist from my Dad – “You can always get another job if it doesn’t work out”


Favourite colour Clothing;
Black, Pop Colour; Volt RGB# 195, 255, 0 , Trend Colour; Pistachio or Forest Green.

“My studio space inspires me, my wife Nikki inspires me, members at Run South Yarra inspire me, anyone working hard at being their best inspires me.”

What is something you’re proudest of?
When my artwork was featured on the cover Good Weekend magazine, when my work was first shown at Art Basel week in Miami and my Run Club – Run South Yarra.


Least favourite interiors trend?
Anything that is made cheaply, disposable, won’t last and will end up in landfill.


Trend you’d love to see come back?
Paintings that take longer than 15 minutes.


What person, place or thing inspires you?
My studio space inspires me, my wife Nikki inspires me, members at Run South Yarra inspire me, anyone working hard at being their best inspire me. Since having a son, he has really inspired me to be the best I can be for him – that drives me everyday!


What’s the best part of your job?
The flexibility of my own schedule, and the journey of self discovery and the way of the world from an artist’s perspective.


Most prized possession?
Apart from my MacBook Pro, if the house was on fire I’d run back in for the portrait I painted of my friend Mark Chu for the Archibald 2023.


How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Contemporary and colourful with collected items scattered throughout.


House or apartment?  House

Online or IRL Shopping? IRL when I have time

Paper notes or digital? I like the idea of paper, but for practicality always digital

Leather or fabric? Fabric

Night or morning? MORNING 100%

Tea or coffee? Cold Brew Coffee

Pattern or plain? Plain

Photos by Sarah van Boxtel