Simple, timeless, and made to last, Mr and Mrs White create bespoke furniture that embodies clean and minimalist design, a signature style that has defined our approach to retail. We spoke with Mr and Mrs White, Sasha and Nathan, about their journey and newly opened store in Sydney's northern beaches.
Our relationship with Mr and Mrs White began when we set out to design our first store in Bondi in 2015. At that time, Sasha and Nathan had only created a few items for cafes, but she fondly remembers the initial phone call and excitedly accepting the opportunity to work on their first full store fit-out.
The rest, as Sasha says, is history. The pair have since gone on to create pieces for each of our ten store locations across Australia and established Mr and Mrs White as a premium furniture brand offering thoughtfully designed and hand-crafted pieces for retail, hospitality and the home.
What were your individual backgrounds before beginning the Mr and Mrs White brand?
Nathan did his training as a shipwright, working for a number of years on high-end yachts. The trade taught him many things that a cabinetry or furniture course wouldn’t. After his training, he worked for a cabinet maker, which is where he discovered his love for making timber furniture.
My background is in graphic design, but that seems like a lifetime ago now. Looking back I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school but I knew I loved creating things. I initially wanted to start my own magazine and went about that by studying journalism. I quickly discovered that I was no good at walking around the streets of Newtown interviewing locals about a recent fire that broke out, and so I did some re-assessing. I decided that maybe graphic design could be my pathway to starting my own magazine and so I changed courses. During my studies, Nathan and I got married and that’s when things started to merge down a much different pathway to what we thought (a much better one).
When and why did you decide you wanted to pursue furniture and homeware design together?
When Nathan and I got married, at only 21 and 23 years old, we moved into our own little home. That was the start of it all. It was a tiny one-bedroom apartment but it was ours. We didn’t have much money to furnish it nor could we find anything to fit the small space so Nathan started making pieces in his spare time. Meanwhile, I started meddling with a sewing machine that my nan bought me, a welcomed reprieve from sitting in front of the computer screen. We both kind of fell in love with making things for the home and that was where it all began.
How would you describe the Mr and Mrs White sense of design?
I think our sense of design has developed over the years, as we have matured ourselves. But at the core of it, simplicity and quality remain true throughout.
Where do you source inspiration for the pieces you create?
Architecture, home spaces, nature, and object design.
What’s important to you when selecting the materials you choose to craft from?
The quality of the material, the palette, the texture and its longevity.
You recently opened your first store in Manly, tell us about the design of this space and the inspiration behind its details.
We had our eyes on this space in Manly for a number of years. When the old surf shop closed down and the location became available we knew we had to go for it. The space was quite rundown and not very inspiring, but we fell in love with the old building; the high ceilings and hidden gems like the timber floors that we unearthed beneath floating floors. The space comprised of two shops which are connected by an open doorway. We stripped it back to bare essentials, created an archway through the centre, sanded the floors back and applied a beautifully textured paint from Murobond Paints. Simple really, but it all took a lot of time and effort. Our plan was simple: create a warm and inviting space, much like a home. The counter and wall unit are the only fixed pieces, the rest is our free-standing furniture and soft furnishings that we will rotate throughout the year as we introduce new pieces.
There is a real sense of community in Manly and the area you have settled into beside our own store, what else drew you to opening in this location?
The sense of community was a huge part of us wanting to be in Manly. It is also the community we share with Assembly Label, its workers and customers. Our relationship is very much like family and to be able to expand that into being retail neighbours is a dream come true. On a personal side, Nathan was born in Manly and so was our first daughter, Selah. Manly just seemed like the perfect place for our first store.
What would you advise those looking to introduce a minimalist style into their homes through furniture and homewares?
Don’t try to do it all at once. Save up to buy well-made pieces that fit in with your lifestyle. I find that when you buy well you eliminate the need for ‘stuff’. You are able to enjoy what you have more and have a clearer mind as to what you may want to include in the future.
What does the sense of ‘home’ mean to you both?
Nathan and I realised very early on in our marriage that ‘home’ was very important to us. A place to rest, a place to gather, a place to create, a place you can be messy, or for Nathan, a place to be as neat and orderly as you would like, colour-coordinated wardrobes and all. Home was ours. It is even more special now that we share that with our three daughters - Selah, Oak and Clay.
Visit the Mr and Mrs White store at 85-87 Pittwater Rd, Manly NSW.
Photography by Josh White
Videography by Michael Spinoglio