Today I'm thrilled to present the first in my series Mums in Design, where I interview Mums from the design world and ask them about how they have adapted their homes and aesthetic to life with little people.
The first amazing Mum I am interviewing also happens to be my little sister, Emily Hollier, who has had an enviable career as an interior designer all around the world and who is about to have her first baby in a matter of days (or perhaps hours!).
Emily has recently started her own interior design business, Hollier Studio, but before that lived and worked in London, Dubai and elsewhere around the world working with world renowned designers such as Phillipe Starck.
I spoke to Emily about her career so far, her design tips and trend predictions and how she's feeling about impending motherhood. Photos are of Emily's home in Sydney's eastern suburbs that she shares with her partner Adam. (And please excuse my son's appearance in some of these pictures!)
You’re about to have your first baby. When are you due and how are you feeling about impending motherhood?
I am due imminently. So far feeling very positive about the whole experience and probably, (rather foolishly), have a romantic vision of having a calm and “zen” like experience in new motherhood!
So far in your design career you have had some big jobs, all around the world, what have been your favourite design projects so far?
My 10 year career in the industry has seen me work both locally, and internationally on some very prestigious projects in places like Dubai, Miami, London, Copenhagen and Jordan. But I have enjoyed mostly the projects done locally, as I feel that Australians have their own very unique sense of style. We look to European culture, but also heavily to Asian culture, as well as having the good fortune to work with some of the best local materials – making for a wonderful fusion and unique approach to interior and furniture design.
Personally, my favourite projects have been local hospitality projects (restaurants and bars), as well as some residential display suites. I think the world of hospitality design is merging with residential trends (as well as design of aged-care faciltities/commercial/retail design). It remains to be seen if this will have a positive outcome on the design industry.
What attracted you to the world of interior design/architecture?
I “fell” into the world of design/architecture as a post high-school kid with a love of art, maths and history! I initially started as an architect but was steered into design and styling during my wonderful job with the legendry Phillipe Starck at Yoo, when I was only 24 yrs old. Working with such a creative man with an equally creative team threw me into the “deep end” of interior design with not much experience, particularly in terms of residential design and styling.
How would you describe your design aesthetic at home?
Monochrome base palette for fixed finishes with a touch of colour in styling (as this allows me to update on a whim!). Mix of clean and handcrafted materials using timber vs stone vs handmade tiles. I have not yet been able to design and build my own dream house from scratch, but this is a goal of my partner and I for the next 5 years.
What does a typical day usually involve for you?
At the moment waiting for a baby to arrive! But typically, I start the day with fitness (yoga is my preferred fitness), as I feel this sets you up perfectly for a day of clear thinking. Then I head to my studio where I work on current work or winning new work. Then I usually shop for food, which I do daily – I love to cook and try something new (I try to find new recipes – donny hay is a favourite) – but I’m sure this will go out the window when baby arrives! I am usually in bed by 10pm.
What are your top 5 design resources?
www.Yellowtrace.com.au, www.coolhunter.com, Belle Magazine, fellow colleagues and designers (through collaboration or by following them on Instagram), Vogue magazine for inspiration from fashion – as this informs trends in interior design.
What are your top interior trend predictions for 2014?
I don’t like to use the work “trend” but I believe that following the recycled/handmade influences of the past few years there will be a return to “opulence” – ie heavy, luxe fabrics, handmade parquetry floors, Parisian inspired interiors.
What are your favourite interior design products for life with little people?
My favourite purchase has been my Armadillo & Co Rug from their new Junior collection. I also love the Harlequin wallpaper I have installed in my baby’s room. If I could afford it I’d buy more throws from Kidostore in Coogee. My Mum bought me a Rokki Animal, which is a rocker and bouncer in one, shaped as an animal. Its Danish in design – I think the Danish are so clever and definitely have their own design aesthetic.
How do you think your design aesthetic is going to change once you have your baby?
I think I will stop being so precious about scuffs in the wall and a “perfect” looking house! Being in the design industry you put a lot of pressure on yourself (and your wallet) to live exactly how you would work, but this does not meld with young children. I think it will be a welcome change to “loosen” up my approach a little!
Who are your favourite designers?
Christian Liagre for his classic elegance. Especially in residential.
Yabu Pushelberg as they meld warmth with opulence and have a wonderful hospitality and residential portfolio.
Avroko as they are cutting edge in the world of hospitality design
Locally, I think akin creative are doing fantastic work, and the director happens to be an old friend of mine from university.
You live in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, what are your local best kept secrets for life with little people – or for life as a pregnant woman?!
Coogee has some amazing resources for pregnant women/new mums. As well as the accessibility to parks/beaches and interesting coastal walks, there are lots of cute retailers catering for us! Including Yummy Mummy day spa, Yogamama (where I have done pre natal yoga throughout my pregnancy), Kido Store and biird.
Who inspires you?
I find women who are able to juggle a successful career and a family very inspiring – and hope to follow suit.
You have recently started your own design business. Tell us a little bit more about that and how we can contact you.
I started my business in September 2013, called Hollier Studio. I work from a shared studio space in Camperdown with other young designers and architects.
My experience is broad so I am open to all work – but my ideal focus is residential (both one-off and multi-unit residential/display suites) and hospitality work. I am also trying to angle the business toward more styling work(residential and hospitality) and property advice, (as secretly this is my passion).
I have also recently completed three commercial jobs (office fit-outs and styling), as well as planning office spaces for lease to potential tenants.
My website will be launched shortly, but in the meantime I can be contacted on Emily@hollierstudio.com.
Thanks to Emily for being featured on the blog. Enjoy the rest of your day.