Mums in Design | Anna-Carin McNamara
Today is another in the popular series - Mums in Design - where I interview Mums from the design and interiors world and pick their brains about all things design, while also discussing their businesses, life and little people. You can read others in this series over here.
Today's feature is on the exceptionally talented Anna-Carin McNamara of ANNA CARIN Design, an interior design practice based in Sydney that does work all around Australia, Europe and Asia. You may have recently seen Anna-Carin in the media for big projects she has done for the stationery retailer Kikki-K or for her collaboration with Designer Rugs but she also has a number of other beautiful projects under her belt, many of which are influenced by her Swedish heritage (and of course, are right up my alley!).
I recently caught up with Anna-Carin to discuss her practice, family and how she fits it all in!
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to start ANNA CARIN Design.
I studied interior design at the Royal College of Art in London and worked as an interior designer in Sweden prior to coming to Australia. Upon arriving in Sydney (almost 20 years ago) I opened INNE, a furniture and homewares store in Woollahra that was a forerunner in introducing Scandinavian design to Australia. The retail store later evolved into what is now known as ANNA CARIN Design and since my children are older I’m now able to focus more actively on my business.
You have a busy family life and a thriving business. How do you juggle it all?
I get up early! I love getting up before sunrise because it’s the only time I really have to myself and I can get so much done. By 9am I’ve often managed to fit in a yoga class, a couple of loads of washing, school lunches and prepared dinner for the evening. Also as I have always worked in some capacity outside of the home, my children are very independent and helpful.
What are your favourite types of projects to work on and what have been some of your favourites so far?
I love working on residential projects as I believe our home affects us in so many ways. Home is where we rejuvenate and create the worlds we live in. It’s therefores so important that our home is a place we love coming back to every day. One of my favourites residential projects I worked on here in Australia is the Woollahra cottage. The design and building process was delightful mainly due to a very positive and excited client. We had so much fun working together and we’ve now become friends. Also as their children grow up I come in and we continue to update the home to suit the different stages in their lives.
The other project I’m very proud of is the restaurant I designed in Helsinki in collaboration with the late Rupert Gardner. Rupert has been my mentor throughout my career and working through the creative process with him was very satisfying.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic at home?
Warm, comfortable and welcoming
Have you had to adapt your style to accommodate little people?
I believe that if children are used to being around delicate and dangerous items such as a beautiful vase, candles or knifes etc, they learn to respect and use them appropriately. If we shelter them and protect them too much the transition to adulthood will be much harder.
What does a typical day usually involve for you?
My alarm goes off at 5.15 and I usually do a short meditation then it’s yoga from 6-7 followed by housework and breakfast between 7-8.30. From about 9 onwards I’m either doing client meetings and site visits otherwise I’m in the office sketching or sourcing items for a project. I’m usually home by 6.30 in time to cook dinner unless out with friends. I read in bed but often fall asleep before 9.30. It’s full on but I love it.
What are your top 5 design resources - across any media?
I’m a fan of Bloglovin which consolidates all the blogs I love into one. I love a lot of the Scandinavian blogs. The design and photography is of such a high quality. I enjoy Pinterest and Instagram. I also read Elle UK, RUM, Residence.
What are your top interior trend predictions for 2014?
We are all in some ways slave to trends and it is impossible to ignore them but I try not to think too much about trends. Instead I aim to approach each project from the perspective of what is best for the client rather than what a trend is telling me I should do. Hence I will not try to predict any!
What are your favourite design products for life with little people?
Stokke chair - I brought one with me from Sweden when I arrived and its since been passed onto other family members with small children. I love how it can be adapted as the child grows.
Who are your favourite designers?
Borge Mogensen for timeless furniture design
Ilse Crawford for her sensuous interiors
Alvar Aalto for his beautiful architecture
Who inspires you?
The above and my friends and family.
Tell us a little bit more about ANNA CARIN Design and how we can contact you.
In a way my business is an expression of everything I love being and doing. Creating beautiful spaces for people that they will enjoy for years to come has been a lifelong passion and I derive so much joy from watching people transform as their environment transforms.
Many thanks to Anna-Carin for being featured on the blog today. Make sure you check out all the beautiful projects over on her website.