I am never sure how to describe myself – where do I start? Interior decorator; stylist; hotelier with properties in the country and city; forager of old and new, but particularly vintage items. I surround myself with lots of amazing friends, love taking photos and absolutely adore animals and the world around me.
Becoming a hotelier
I guess it started with the love of decorating and always wanting a new challenge to work on different projects. The first house in Daylesford initially was planned just as a holiday home to retreat away from city life. However, after buying and renovating – and of course going over budget – I realised that I could not really visit and stay every weekend, so I decided to give the accommodation market a go. From the very start, the house was booked out every single weekend, and it has been around 15 years. I now have 5 beautiful homes. They are all accommodation properties that I visit and stay with friends or family whenever I can.
I just love the feeling of making a bland or boring space into something very special. Be it with paint colours or the furniture I select, which is always a mix of old finds and new pieces. It’s a challenge I love.
I have collected since I was 16 and never stopped. Even today, if there is a Sunday market on, that is where you will find me. I love the idea of not knowing what you may find, bringing home something random you never expected and literally changing your entire lounge room because this piece entered your life. I am a self-confessed hoarder, still trying to curb that obsessive collecting. For 24 years I had a retail store, Empire, which featured all of my vintage finds – well, the pieces I could let go of. Collecting is just what I do without even thinking, it’s my way of enjoying a day out in the fresh air and wondering what I might find that day. I have always collected art, portraits and landscapes. It’s usually down to colour or just something that stands out about the piece. All the houses have great collections and gallery walls featured.
Mix, match and layer
I’d say my style is a mix of vintage and new. I love to mix clothing, jewellery, textures and patterns. I love chunky jewellery, from big brass bangles, gold and silver, to 1940s cocktail rings that I have been collecting for many years and started when I inherited both my grandmothers’ cocktail rings. I love to wear comfortable clothing in natural palettes and absolutely love layering. Lately I have become obsessed with hair wrapping and turbans, using large pieces of gorgeous linens and fabrics – usually two pieces to make sure it’s a feature and a statement. Since a very young age, I have always loved big hair and exaggerated layering with belts, bags and jewellery.
Life in full colour
I do love colour and something special to wear that is definitely a standout. Besides lots of naturals and autumnal colours, my staple colours are turmeric, chocolate, and green – from emerald to darker tones. I also love patterns and mixing them all up.
Love at first sight
I adored the feeling of wearing La Bottega di Brunella clothes instantly. Everything just works so well together. If you had a wardrobe full of this range, you could mix and match and never get tired of it all. The fabrics are all of such beautiful quality and fall perfectly over your body. I absolutely loved this range so very much.
Walking the streets of Melbourne
I live in a very cool, creative and artistic area of Melbourne where every week you will hear about a new hidden gem in the backstreets or down a laneway. I seem to sniff them out pretty quickly. I love to walk every day, often take new areas and streets, and always end up discovering new places. The list never ends. Fitzroy is the hub of all things cool – cafes, galleries, stores, parks and bars. I have many friends that live in the area, so we are always out and about trying new places. It’s what I love and why I live in the city!
‘Curate’ launches in June, it has been a very gorgeous collaboration between myself, British writer and stylist Ali Heath and Australian photographer Marnie Hawson. I’m extremely excited about that and, if all goes well, I would love to start working on a new book. Also, hopefully next year I’ll be able to do lots and lots of travelling. I dream of travelling for at least a year with no plans attached. Just staying for as long as I want in each country before moving to the next.