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Category Archives: interior design
Last year I slotted in on the judging panel for the annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award. Just like the year before, it was thrilling to see the short lists and degree of talent in the locally submitted work (bodes well New Zealand!!). While Bolt of Cloth provide a version of heaven for fabric loving makers and decorators; I tip my hat to their committed effort at spotlighting domestic design talent with this ongoing project.
The resulting collection between Nellie and Bolt of Cloth is both bold and fluid. The colourways and playful graphics would slide into a really broad spectrum of homes of different aesthetics and its damn exciting that you can also buy this quality fabric by the meter!
These images are part of a terrific feature on the collection in the latest Homestyle magazine and you can explore the winning range in its total here online or at any of the Bolt of Cloth stores.
I thought I would take the opportunity to learn more about Nellie in her own right as a very experienced and diverse creative professional. We talked about inspiration, working from home and her personal direction when decorating her own spaces.
Working from home can be a double edged sword when it comes to productivity! What is your experience with this and how do you combat the distractions?
Time restraints with deadlines means I can’t always wait until I’m ‘feeling creative’. Sometimes I just have to turn it on and make it happen. Trying to stay focused at the job at hand can be really hard at times when working from home… I’m terrible at getting sidetracked checking out social media, the ‘just for 5 mins’ usually turns into half an hour, down the instagram rabbit hole. I have to remind myself when I’m looking at gorgeous images I’m not actually creating anything myself (that’s usually enough to snap me out of my trance).
Generally when I’m procrastinating my house looks a lot tidier, which is one bonus! You’ll find me sorting or organising things, I think by doing that it relaxes part of my brain and gives me time to think about the job I’m about to start working on. Once I’ve been briefed on a new job I try to start on it soon after the briefing, as that’s when the ideas are most fresh and I’m feeling most enthusiastic about it, really good to get pen on paper then, rather than wait a week, and come back to it. When that happens I can lose the momentum. Also I break the job down into bite size chunks, so it’s less overwhelming and feels more do-able.
Despite your huge body of illustrative work for books, brands and commissioned jobs – it’s obvious you are concentrating on more and more textiles and products aimed squarely at the “home”.
How would you describe your personal interior style and aesthetic when it comes to your home spaces?
I’ve always been bit obsessed with interiors and have a passion designing textiles for the home. My personal style is relaxed, yet I like to think it’s little sophisticated with some quirky touches.
I love having lots of books and art around me and live in a light filled house. There’s a blend of old and new pieces together, mixing midcentury lamps and sideboard with cleanline modern pieces. Most of the objects I surround myself with were collected from my travels or from vintage markets and carboot sales. I’m attracted to slightly offbeat or beautiful objects and always love finding out the back story of where these pieces came from. Though I don’t like unnecessary clutter and do love to edit my space from time to time.
My style now is more about simplicity, natural fabrics, texture and interesting print combinations. The older I get I really appreciate quality and design longevity over the ‘sugar rush’ of cheap, fast, mass produced fashion looks which require people to buy and dispose of pieces seasonally which is unsustainable and generally doesn’t inspire the same sentimentality and nostalgia as a good quality piece does. I always try and carry that through into my own designs, as it’s important for me that my designs stand the test of time.
Your career has exposed you to some major local and international names in design (Kate Sylvester and Jasper Conran to name just a few!)
Who out there in the creative world provides you with inspiration?
Currently I’m listening to some great podcasts and reading about some really inspiring females, their extraordinary stories and their ability to sustain successful careers over their lifetime. I’m resonating more with hearing stories of artists who have faced challenges or just hearing about their creative evolution over time.
One of my favourite artists is Louise Bourgeois. Her career peaked at 70, which is wonderful to think maybe the best is still to come. I’m really inspired by designers Elsa Shaperelli, Celia Birtwell, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, Florence Broadhurst, Corita Ken ( an amazing graphic designing Nun!), Lucienne Day ( so many more!) and what they were able to achieve.
I am also constantly inspired by my creative friends who take risks to be doing what they doing and always give great advice. I listen to Kathryn Ryan, on the RNZ Morning Show and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour online, both radio show have a wonderful line up of interesting guests. Great books I’d mention would be Elsa Schiaparelli ‘Shocking Life’ and Peggy Guggenheim, ‘Out of this century’.
You had 10 amazing years based in London before returning back to the homeland. Do you think being based back in New Zealand has influenced your work?
The pace of life and laid back, ‘can do’ attitude of New Zealanders has influenced me by finding more life/work balance and helped me nurture my creative side a bit more.
If you were only allowed to hang the work of ONE artist on your walls….who would it be?
Hard question! Hmm I’m going to say David Hockey, I’ve loved his work and it’s so diverse from his pool scenes in LA from the 1960’s through to his most recent oversized hyper colour paintings of the Yorkshire landscape.
Where are your favourite haunts in Auckland ?
I spend a lot of time with my partner and son locally around Point Chevalier, where we live. It has a great community vibe, lovely beach, lots of parks and a few interesting places to eat. I also love a good forage in charity shops, looking at old books and hunting for treasures to then sneak back into the house. And always love popping into beautifully curated shops, like Flotsam and Jetsam, Tessuti and Simon James plus some of the wonderful independent books shops like the Women’s Book Shop and Novel Bookstore. Browsing art galleries on K Road happens too!
Our favourite dinner haunt would be Coco’s Cantina on K Road. Damaris and Renee are so hospitable and it always has a great atmosphere. A Friday night drink or two at Golden Dawn is always fun (especially as I’m out less these days), I can usually bump into a few old friends.
Photography by Wendy Fenwick for Homestyle
Learn more here:
*Bolt of Cloth x Nellie Ryan Collection*
Above: Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award Winner 2016 – Hilary Knox!
Photography by Larnie Nicolson for Homestyle Magazine
Last year I was lucky to be given the opportunity to help in judging the annual Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award. I’ve been an eager witness to the winning designs from the years previous and to be allowed to officially offer an opinion was a new and exciting thing for me!
I met with Bolt of Cloth chiefess; Suz Tonascia in their Christchurch HQ where we methodically worked through their selected finalists. The standard was high and it was even more exciting to see some distinctively fresh points of view and aesthetics being offered up.
But for me, the soft beautiful work of Hilary Knox was a clear and an immediate stand out.
Her designs were nature inspired and even more interestingly, featured chooks! (hens/chickens…pick your term) It all felt very un-rehearsed to me like it had all come out of her own mind and own world. This is something that is so hard to find in this time of rapid visual inspiration. Without even knowing it, so many emerging designers produce work in accidental heavy reponse to trends!
So from my view, Hilary Knox hit the ball out of the park and I am SO excited to see what this terrific award will springboard her to next!
Photography by Larnie Nicolson for Homestyle magazine
Late last year my friend and talented photographer; Bonny Stewart-MacDonald flew to Auckland and spent a morning taking some pics of my Auckland “studio/home”. In hindsight I realise now that her visit has documented my spot in the world for the last 3 years and a really cool and exciting time in the development of Studio Home and all its projects (successful/unsuccessful/almosts/maybe next times…)
While I have now begun to nest and create a new HQ in Christchurch, the ideas and MANY hours alone with my computer in that Auckland apartment are still very much developing and there is a large part of me that will really miss that little bolthole in the central city.
The apartment was originally bought by my Mum and sister around 8 years ago as an investment property while my sister was finishing up post grad study and working in Auckland. I joined her to live in it for 6 months before heading back south but for us at the time it was SUCH a clever, compact and streamlined space to live in, in vast contrast to our largely rural upbringing and the decrepid old flats post high school.
In many ways it fulfilled my dreams of living in boat ! Of course absent was the actual sea and romance that comes with that but the spaces were clever in their use of space for storage and we had a glorious “top deck”!
I returned to take up residence again in late 2012 and can still distinctly remember the crazy feeling it was to swap my view of the dark mountainous Wanaka skyline for the glowing Sky Tower which I could even watch from my bedroom window. I’ve always relished a change of scene and the moves to and from this apartment have always provided the best comparisons!
I’ve been lucky enough to share the two bedroom apartment with a couple of treasured flatmates over the last few years and despite me taking up a good “end” of the living space with my desk it has been easy to have both privacy and awesome opportunities for socialising. Argh….just talking about that inner city spot has terrific memories rushing back! A stream of visitors dropping by on summery Friday nights with bubbles, late nights sitting in the bean bag on the balcony attempting to keep chat to a whisper, frying in sunlight on the rooftop, locking the door to the world and sessioning movies from my little sofa, ragtag friends in transit to far off places on airbeds upstairs, teary counselling sessions with girls sprawled on my bed, battles with the warped freestanding mirror I just needed to throw away! …..)
ANYWAY…..I’ve come to very much believe that change is a good good thing.
36 Fisher Point Drive has been given a full once over!
New carpet, paint, lighting and more to spruce it up (and fill all those holes I put in the wall) ready for some lucky people to enjoy the awesome lifestyle of the Beaumont Quarter. If you are looking for an Auckland apartment you can view the entire listing and all details with Kellands here. There is an open home this Sunday 20th of March.
Farewell to the fort. Such brilliant times. x
All imagery by Bonny Stewart MacDonald
View apartment for sale here.
The Messervy House is tucked away in the Christchurch suburb of Ilam.
It’s a home designed by Allan Mitchener specifically for the needs of a young family in 1964 and has managed to not only survive earthquakes but also the threat of falling into the hands of aggressive owners keen to “improve” on its unique design features. Lucky for this place it was found and recently, lovingly restored to its original glory by a design sensitive local couple – only the house’s second set of owners over the last 50+ years!
Now, faced with the prospect of selling it, Matt and Kate have taken the unique step of creating a site to profile its rich history and special spaces in the hope that they can find a new owner as interested and attracted to its features as they were! This is as opposed to plonking it on the market and hoping they get a great price!
So, as a soon to be Christchurch resident, I am MOST happy to introduce you to this architectural gem and invite you to have an even better look around here!
Imagery supplied by and used with permission of Messervy House
Photography by Sam Hartnett
You heard it hear first my friends! This has been an announcement looooong in the planning, designing and making and well….it is SO worth the wait!
My sister from another mister; Alex Fulton has patiently worked alongside clever Hardhat Design to create an online store with as much attitude and atmosphere that she injects into her real world spaces. The AFD Store differs from its bricks’n’mortar sibling (based at The Vines Village in Marlborough) with an innovative approach to offering you regular and select injections of product.
Today’s debut of the very first curated collection gives you a taste of what you can expect in the months to come and the regular updates that Alex and her team plan to present. Each new offering of product will be carefully pulled together, shot and styled by Alex in her studio and made available online. Products remaining in stock from previous collections will move to the “everything” section of the store and be available until sold. The online store is not pushed by “seasonal” ranges – instead a focus on quality, design and art led work!
In a year that has seen a MASSIVE surge of new, design based online stores – The AFD Store is a welcome shot of tequila! Fresh, non generic product bought to you with appropriate lashings of considered colour.
This is the place you shop if you are tiring of monochrome and rigid lines!
Imagery posted with permission of Alex Fulton
Alex’s studio set has used the colours from the 900 Dulux Colours of New Zealand collection
Explore Alex’s family home here
Imagery courtesy of Frankie Spaces
Photography by Natalie McComas
How about this place?!
I have been flicking through the new issue of Frankie Spaces – and like the hidden, personality packed home of Jennifer Hillhouse and JC Lehuby, there are another 28 to explore from both sides of the Tasman! Real homes and spaces…you know ones with grit and perhaps too much clutter and memories plastered all over the show!
Jennifer and JC are a super creative couple who source and import French treasures and furniture to sell in their Brisbane store; Vieille Branche. There is a great story to read about the beginnings of their business on their website and it is of no surprise that their little home looks as magical as it does!