My little patch of paradise: At home with Carla Oates

Nature, balance and light – everything you’d expect to find in the home of one of Australia’s brightest wellness gurus. Carla Oates, former beauty editor and founder and director of The Beauty Chef, her husband Davor, a plumber, and their children Jeet, 20, and Otis, 17, live in a three-bedroom apartment near Sydney’s Bondi beach.

An assortment of vases and ceramics from Country Road (countryroad.com), Atolyia (atolyia.com), Dinosaur Designs (dinosaurdesigns.co.uk) and Kimberly Cruz (thepotterxtheclay.com) sit next to a bust made by Carla’s daughter Jeet in school. ‘I love using a mixture of materials as it adds warmth to a space,’ Carla says. For similar abstract art, try Habitat (habitat.co.uk) Image: Maree Homer

With a business ethos of ‘beauty begins in the belly’, it’s no surprise that Carla Oates, founder of supplements brand The Beauty Chef, designed her home based on gut instinct, too. ‘The way that I choose things is very visceral,’ she says. ‘There are pieces that I’ve been drawn to along the way and it’s been serendipitous that they all work together.’

‘Having a kitchen that’s a pleasure to work in was a must for me because it’s where I create and find inspiration for new products,’ Carla says. For a similar multi-arm pendant light try Heal’s (heals.com) Image: Maree Homer

In 2009, the former beauty editor created a product called Glow Inner Beauty Powder, a daily drink containing fermented superfoods and probiotics. Having seen her daughter suffer skin allergies, Carla began researching the connection between the gut and skin health, and while tinkering in her kitchen, The Beauty Chef brand was born. All Carla’s skincare products are made from scratch using plants and organic products. ‘I was concerned about the amount of chemicals in skincare products and I felt passionate about helping to change the paradigm in the beauty industry,’ says Carla.

‘We built the deck around the trees. It’s quite tropical here and we feel as though we’re in a little sanctuary of wildlife and plants, even though we’re two minutes from the hustle and bustle of Bondi.’ For similar outdoor wire chairs, try Arper (arper.com). Image: Maree Homer

This emphasis on wellness and having the space to breathe is reflected in Carla’s home, which is filled with beautifully designed, purposeful pieces and earthy textures. Greenery is also present in the form of house plants and flowers, bringing natural beauty into the house. Above all else, Carla’s home is nurturing: ‘I love chairs you can sink into with a good book; living rooms where the whole family can cuddle up or have a conversation; furniture that is good for the soul.’

Carla’s bright, airy living area brings her great joy: ‘Light makes everything look more beautiful,’ she says. For similar textured cushions, try Graham & Green (grahamandgreen.co.uk). The rug is from West Elm (westelm.co.uk) Image: Maree Homer

The couple bought the then ‘dark and rundown’ 1940s-style Bondi apartment 13 years ago, undertaking mammoth renovations to transform it, complete with two outdoor areas, an extra bedroom and teenage retreat. ‘We feel proud because we did it on such a budget, but I would never do it again!’ Carla says. ‘When everything was completed – finally – our neighbours gave us a round of applause.’

Carla’s bedlinen – mismatched patterns and tonal colours – ‘gives a calm, fresh feel’. The relaxing vibe is echoed in the seascape, which was painted by a friend. For similar, try King & McGaw (kingandmcgaw.com) Image: Maree Homer

In the kitchen a Carrara marble worktop and splashback were both musts for Carla. ‘I love how Carrara reflects the light and how the geological history is mapped within the stone.’ Light wood floors and white walls add to the bright, airy feel, and pretty accessories take pride of place. ‘I like to mix and match styles. Things don’t have to be expensive to work, they just have to make you feel good.’

Carla has several stools dotted around her home; the one in the hallway is by Mark Tuckey (marktuckey.com). ‘I find them practical and sculptural,’ she says. For a similar rug, try Yonder (yonderliving.com) Image: Maree Homer

Carla’s daily routine

5.30am I wake up and head to the beach for a walk and swim. I find doing exercise first thing in the morning helps clear my head for the day ahead.
6am I come home and drink a glass of The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder in water with Collagen Inner Beauty Boost. I shower, water my plants, then sit down and drink tea for 20 minutes to collect my thoughts.
8.30am My days are varied, but generally involve working in the office in Sydney’s Double Bay, overseeing the company, including branding, product development, research, social media and content. I make sure I eat well and have organic, nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day to sustain me. I try to have at least five cups of vegetables per day – to get a good dose of antioxidants – and to feed my microbes: green, leafy veggies and fibre-rich foods make great prebiotics, which feed beneficial microorganisms in the body. I sometimes wear joggers to work as that gives me the motivation to go for a walk during the day.
6pm I finish work around this time. In the evening we like to eat together as a family.
9pm I aim to get to bed as early as possible, with a cup of warm coconut milk and a good book to help me unwind. I try not to look at emails or the television past 9pm.

Find out more about Carla’s beauty and wellness range at thebeautychef.com. Follow her on Instagram @thebeautychef.com

Report by Sarah Tarca