Summer’s here – at last! Need some inspiration for garden living? These style gurus know all about bringing the inside out.
The chill-out deck
Everything about Lara Fells’s home in Byron Bay, New South Wales, celebrates the beauty of a relaxed lifestyle. ‘My style is very neutral,’ says Lara, who is founder of cult Aussie footwear and clothing brand St Agni (available here at Net-a-Porter). ‘I like pairing natural tones with lots of texture.’
Inside, white-painted concrete flooring and expansive curtainless windows maximise the natural light. Although the space is stripped down and predominantly white, it’s the considered touches – handmade bowls and vases by local labels, rattan furniture, cosy throws and rugs – that create a feeling of calm. ‘I’ve also found a lot of our furniture second-hand on Gumtree and Ebay – I like pieces that have beauty in their imperfections,’ she says.
Lara and her husband Matt were drawn to the house’s open-plan layout and four-metre-high ceilings in the living and dining area. Its location was also a major pull. ‘We’re a five-minute walk from the beach and also really close to the town centre, but you wouldn’t know it – it’s so quiet,’ Lara says.
The revved-up garage
The life of an interiors guru provides plenty of beautiful new ideas for creating a home, but top stylist and set designer Kirsten Bookallil, who works for Vogue Living and Harper’s Bazaar, prefers to add layers rather than overhaul what already exists.
‘I’m a modern collector,’ she says. ‘I like things pared back but I enjoy the memories of mementoes and being able to look around and see things that give me a sense of place.’ Kirsten – along with her two daughters Stella and Bronte and Monte the cat – was drawn to this three-bedroom bungalow, which she rents, mainly due to its location in the Sydney suburb of Bondi – very close to the beach and walking distance to the girls’ school.
It also helps that she is friends with the owners and, though the home had been recently renovated, they encouraged her to do what was necessary to make it somewhere she was happy to be. So Kirsten made small changes that created maximum impact – updating light fittings, painting the bedroom and hallway in a striking shade of teal and replacing the vanity unit in the bathroom.
As for the décor, Kirsten wasn’t tempted to start again or create a new look. Instead, she preferred to work with her existing mix of antiques, modern pieces, collected accessories and art. ‘At work, I’m exposed to lots of different trends, but I’m less trend-driven for myself,’ Kirsten says. ‘When I come home, I just want to lie down and feel comfortable with everything having a place to be in order.’
This is an edited extract from Near the Beach: Creative Homes, Australian Style, published in Australia by Real Living.
Before you hit the beach…
Check out our essential (and very stylish) kit