Pieces of Me: Wild style in Smithfield
DJ Shrem and partner artist Les Cullinan’s home zings with colour and curiosities
Przem Shrem Zajac at the home he shares with Les Cullinan in Smithfield, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Hand-made Origami lampshade made by Przem Shrem Zajac’s Portuguese friend Joana at his home in Smithfield. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A radiogram at Przem Shrem Zajac’s home in Smithfield. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The apartment Przem Shrem Zajac shares with his partner, Les Cullinan, in Dublin’s Smithfield is an eclectic extravaganza of beloved pieces, put together with wit and flair. Przem works for Facebook, and describes himself as a “music-obsessed blogger and occasional DJ”. He created Shrem’s Carousel of Über Nerdiness (shremyslaw.blogspot.com) in 2010 to share his music passion with others, and it now has a following around the world among people looking to discover interesting tracks and music lists. As one half of The Andrews Sisters Brothers, he is resident DJ for Film Fatale events, where you can expect music from vintage tracks from the 1920s all the way to the disco era of the 1970s. He also has an occasional spot at Mother, his favourite club in Dublin.
Les is an artist (facebook.com/lescullinandesigns) whose incredibly detailed and intricate drawings and prints include a collection of adult-themed reinterpretations of Disney characters. Sharing a passion for music, fashion, modern and contemporary art, and world cinema, the couple met 14 years ago, and moved into their new home in June 2015, immediately setting about making it their own. They are are getting married this August.
Describe your style
Eclecticism is key. The apartment was completely renovated but was lacking any of our character, so we looked into changing things straight away. It’s a long journey and there’s still plenty to be done but we took care of the most aesthetically offensive aspects of the decor first, starting with the drab beige wallpaper. Now our place is a colourful cocktail of various pieces from trips abroad, lots of art, a mix of modern and vintage furniture, and with a very generous dose of kitsch. We’re certainly not minimalists when it comes to interiors. In fact we have trouble knowing when to stop! I tend to apply the same rules to my dress sense, “more is more” is my motto. Les is more moderate in this respect.
Which is the room in your home you most enjoy?
Definitely our living room. It’s where we spend most of our time. We’ve filled it with things we love: a salon-style gallery wall, a cabinet of blue objects, a vast, fully alphabetised home DVD library and a “granny cabinet” filled with vintage glasses and trinkets. We also splashed out on a fancy home cinema sound system, which we are making the most of every Sunday, enjoying our cosy movie marathons on the couch.
What items do you love most?
I am still big into physical format, so my music and movie collections are what I cherish the most: Róisín Murphy, Björk and Madonna each have their own separate sections, chronologically arranged of course! The 1950s lilac-gold-faux wood sideboard is possibly the coolest piece of furniture we’ve found so far. Les loves our gold pouffe and hand-woven rugs bought on a recent trip to Morocco. He often remarks on Marrakech as being the best shopping-destination of all the places we’ve been.
We’ve also collected quite a bit of art over the years as we have many talented artist friends. We’re a little bit proud of this home grown collection. Our one-off origami lampshade, made from scratch by our Portuguese friend Joana, is another item we both treasure. It was in the living room, but we moved it into the bedroom so we can look at it at night.
Who is your favourite designer? Do you own any of their work?
We really like Abigail Ahern and we’ve bought a few of her small designs. Her animal lamps are great fun and they receive a lot of attention from many of our guests. We tend to veer more towards the flea market end of things for bigger pieces, although we’ve sneaked in a few Ikea numbers here and there as well. We love our Matthew Williamson bird-themed cushions too, but Les has forbidden me to buy any more.
The artists you admire?
For music it’s Björk, Róisín Murphy, Goldfrapp and Gus Gus. In film I love Pedro Almodóvar, Michael Haneke, Xavier Dolan and Denis Villeneuve. When it comes to visual art, I’m a fan of most 20th-century abstract art, but I specially love Paris-based Chinese artist Huang Yongping, and the work of Jeff Koons, and Cindy Sherman. In fashion it’s got to be Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Craig Green, and Viktor & Rolf.
Biggest interior turn-off?
Beige and magnolia.
Travel destination that stands out?
India, Myanmar, Buenos Aires and Seoul were some of the most memorable places we’ve been to. I’m from Kraków so it’ll always have a special place in my heart – we try to get there once a year. Madrid is another clear favourite except when it’s too hot. And Marrakech of course – for the shopping.
If you had €100,000 to spend on anything for the home what would you buy?
Half of the apartment next door to extend into!