During and after the Second World War, Douglas Snelling was one of Sydney's most in-demand interior designers. Using his skills (self-taught in New Zealand and Hollywood) in cartoon drawing, poster graphics, shop window display and publicity exhibits and 'stunts', he began painting lively, cartoon-style murals on the walls of fashionable Kings Cross restaurants.
After the war, from 1946 until his second six-month trip to Hollywood in late 1947, and then during the late 1940s and through the 1950s, he designed and constructed several dozen shop, restaurant, showroom and office fitouts around the centre of Sydney – interpreting the latest California modern (especially Googie-style) retail interior design tactics and trends with his own imaginative flair.
Most of his late 1940s projects were photographed by Ray Leighton and appeared in the short-lived Sydney trade magazine Decoration and Glass. The more stylistically mature and technically accomplished projects of the 1950s were photographed by Max Dupain and some appeared in daily newspapers and architecture journals of that time (particularly Architecture and Arts magazines published from Melbourne).
An illustrated portfolio of his interiors will appear in Davina Jackson's forthcoming book on Snelling's life, work and significance. Register here for notice of publication:
His (known) interior projects were:
American Express Travel Service, Berger House, 82-92 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, 1957.
American National Club, 129 Macquarie Street, Sydney, 1947.
Arrow Electronics Hi-Fi Shop, Royston House, 342 Kent Street, Sydney, 1960-61.
Audio Engineers Hi-Fi Shop, 422 Kent Street, Sydney, mid 1950s.
Berk Car Showroom, 72-76 William Street (corner Riley Street), East Sydney, 1951.
Bruck Fabrics Showroom, 181 Clarence Street, Sydney, 1953-54.
California Chocolate Shop, 49a Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 1949-50.
Dasi Pen Shop, 135 Pitt Street, Sydney, 1947.
Etam glove shop, 74 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 1946-47.
Edels Music Stores, 88 King Street, City, and 87c Macleay Street, Kings Cross, mid to late 1950s. (Others possible.)
Fletcher Jones Shop, Queen Victoria Building, 457 George Street, 1961.
Fletcher Jones Drycleaning, 2 Cunningham Street (off Goulburn Street), 1960.
J Farren-Price Jewellers, L4, St James Building, 109 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, 1948.
Hairdressing Salon, unknown name, Ryde shopping centre, late 1950s.
Hartford Fire Insurance Company , interior fitout in a Snelling-designed office building at 46 Margaret Street, City, 1951-53
La Bodega, Spanish 'quick lunch' bistro, 7 El.izabeth Street, City, early 1960s
MacKellys Department Store, 45 Prince Street, Grafton, 1950.
Matson Line Booking Office, Berger House, 82-92 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, 1955-56.
Master Sound Hi-Fi Shop, 400 Kent Street, Sydney, late 1950s.
Max Factor Hollywood Salon, corner Castlereagh and King Streets, 1966.
Max Factor Seminar Centre, 431 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW, 1967.
Music Masters Shop, address unknown, Brisbane, 1956.
Pam Pam Coffee Shop, Macleay Regis, 12 Macleay Street, Potts Point, 1951.
Pan American Airways Booking Office, Berger House, 82-92 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, 1955-56.
Stardust American Food Service Cafeteria, Pangas House, 15-17 Hunter Street, Sydney, by 1963.
Sydney Snow Salon, Pitt and Liverpool Streets, Sydney, 1947-48.
Tourgelis Fish Shop, Bay Street, Double Bay, 1975.
US Information Service, library and auditorium fitout in the Hartford Fire Insurance Company building, 46 Margaret Street, City, 1951-53.
US Navy Enlisted Mens Centre, (Maramanah), corner Macleay Street and Elizabeth Bay Road, Kings Cross, 1944-45.
Vacuum Oil Reception Room, Kembla House, 58 Margaret Street, Sydney, 1948.
Woolworths Executive Suite, Market and Pitt Streets, Sydney, 1963-64.
RESIDENTIAL INTERIORS AND RENOVATIONS
Allen Alterations, Crescent Road, Newport, NSW, drawings 1950.
Audette Alterations, 130 Wolseley Road, Point Piper, NSW, 1950-53.
Cohen Additions, 4 Sheldon Place, Bellevue Hill, NSW, 1968.
Dally-Watkins Alterations, 83 Bulkara Road Bellevue Hill, NSW, about 1958.
Gale Alterations, 78 Kambala Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW, early 1960s.
Gale Entry Foyer, (Huntly), near Woden, ACT, early 1960s.
Herman Alterations, 15 Boambillee Avenue, Vaucluse, NSW, 1970.
Hermitage Alterations, 22 Vaucluse Road, Vaucluse, NSW, 1965-67.
Pelly Alterations-Additions, 22 The Crescent, Vaucluse, NSW, 1970-71.
Point Piper Flat, address and client not known, 1950-51.
Snelling Alterations, 4025 Black Point Road, Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii, late 1970s/early 1980s.
Sparnon Alterations, 41 Darling Point Road, Darling Point, early 1960s.
Zalapa Renovations, (El Retiro), Old Northern Road, Castle Hill, NSW, mid-late 1940s.