How did you find your way to interior styling and design?
I studied interior design straight out of school, I was lucky to know exactly what industry I wanted to be in. I was always drawn to design, in earlier years it was fashion then set design but I settled on interiors. After graduating I worked for a long time in commercial design before moving into the textile industry where I found myself in marketing utilising my design skills – producing and styling photoshoots and designing trade fair stands and launch events. An opportunity arose to also add colour design to my role and I was mentored in trend forecasting and colour development. When I had my second child, I decided I wanted to have more flexibility and spend more time at home and that’s when I began to work for my own clients in photographic styling, interior design and trend forecasting. I now work on residential interiors as well as working closely with brands to create beautiful visuals and forecast trends exclusively for Dulux.
What is your design ethos?
I create emotive spaces to be enjoyed every day – not just for their beauty, but their practicality as well. I also like to add a little something unexpected, something that will surprise and delight – maybe through colour, a pattern clash, or by playing with scale and form. I see it as part of my role as designer to gently push people’s boundaries, and to intuit their taste and sensibilities in order to create a space that is uniquely theirs.
In your opinion, what does art do or add to a home?
Art can add character to a home and personalise it much in the same way colour can. People collect art for different reasons, but my aim is to always fill a home with art that not only compliments and enhances the interior but that the homeowner loves. Art should move you – it may bring you joy or even sadness, spark a memory or your curiosity. Above all it should evoke an emotion.
How important is viewing art in-situ in a home rather than in a white wall gallery or online?
I think if you are working with a gallery and you’re unsure you should ask if you can see it in your space before purchasing. However, if you love a piece of art I would say acquire it and decide where it goes later – art is so personal if it makes you feel something then don’t hesitate. Whilst your interiors should work with your art, you can create a room around a piece to integrate it – perhaps you just need to change the layout of a space, add colour to a wall or different lighting. A room can be built from the artwork up.
Talk us through how you worked with 3D renderer Lanre Alao on this project.
It was amazing to work with Lanre to create a space completely from scratch – I regularly create 3d visuals for clients but we usually have existing conditions to work with – and my renders don’t look like Lanre’s! I provided Lanre with some basic sketches and dimensions, then a list of furniture, décor, materials and some references for mood. Lanre brought it to life so beautifully.
What design element could you not live without?
Oh you can probably guess – colour every time!
What is your personal taste when it comes to art?
I’m drawn to art that is visually energising. For me that is strong or interesting colour combinations, abstract works that are quite expressive, Op art or postmodern style graphic art.
Do you have an art or design collection at home?
I have a handful of originals, limited edition prints and affordable artworks. My favourite at the moment is a large scale print by Melanie Macilwain and a small original work by Rowena Martinich that was gifted to me. Both artists work so beautifully with colour and their works are quite expressive.
Featured image: Melbourne-based interior designer, stylist and trend forecaster Bree Leech.