2 February, 2021 - BY Hall & Hart Homes
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"If the architectural layout functions well for you, and you've chosen quality finishes and fixtures with longevity, a little refresh of the 'icing' on your well designed 'cake' will give your spaces a whole new look and feel.''

Interior stylist and writer, successful author of the home design book ‘Individual’, and the founding Head of Styling at Temple & Webster, Jessica Bellef visited the Hall & Hart Homes team last week.

We first heard about Jessica on Amelia Lee’s podcast, Undercover Architect where she spoke about the ‘’inspiration for creating a home that is uniquely your own’’. Jessica’s approach to styling a home based on a person’s individuality resonates perfectly with our company beliefs of how people’s homes should look, feel, and function.

We were honoured to have Jessica in our offices for a casual meet and greet, talking to our Directors and Studio You team about her highly successful design inspiration book ‘Individual’. Jessica’s book takes you on a style inspiration journey into the life of 15 truly unique homes and brings to life the uniqueness of the family living in it, whilst providing design and styling tips along the way.

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During your career what has been your most unique styling project?

There has been quite a few ‘pinch me’ moments. One stand out project was styling a floating event space in the middle of Sydney Harbour. “The Island” was the location for Temple & Webster’s first birthday, where we hosted a long lunch for industry guests. We used loads of native and tropical flowers and greenery, and we had to ferry all our props, furniture and florals across. It was a tricky one to pull off, but styling a setting on the water of the glorious Sydney Harbour was just a little bit dreamy! 

From your experience in the industry, what have you discovered about how Australian’s like to live in their homes?

We are a social bunch who like to entertain at home. Flexibility is essential, as we often open up our spaces to friends and family. We also love the outdoors, and indoor/outdoor living is highly sought after, which makes sense considering our sunny climate.

What is the Australian style and how do they bring this style into their homes?

Aussie style is relaxed and references our beautiful natural environments. The fresh, breezy feel of coastal elements and the bush’s textures and tones come together to create approachable and casual interiors. When I think of quintessential Australian style, I think of sunbleached linen, beautiful raw timbers and interesting stone detail (lots of natural textures!). Our colour palettes are inspired by the ocean (sparkling blues and deep greens) and the bush (eucalypt, sunshine-y wattle, earthy browns and russet, and warm sandstone).

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There are so many different looks and styles which follow formulas and rules to get the look right. What are your tips for people when styling their home? Are their certain elements that must be considered e.g., lighting, layers, colours, and textures to get it right?

All those rules can start to feel restrictive! I think it’s important for people to really think about what makes them happy, regardless of the latest trend or what everyone is blabbing about on social media. No matter your style, if you aim to create a space that feels inviting and comfortable, you will love the outcome. The way to do that is to consider textures - go out and test and feel lots of different finishes and go with what you love to touch - and play with different layers. That way, you create a room that not only looks great, with lots of visual depth, but it will also FEEL great too. Lighting also has an incredibly powerful impact on our mood and it pays to consider lighting in the design phase of a home, rather than just as an afterthought. But the addition of a lamp or two, to create a warm glow, will always improve the feeling of a space.

People can be afraid to take risks in their styling and often look for reassurance from experts to ensure they are getting it right – what is your advice to them?

Go with your gut, but if you need some gentle guidance, seek advice from the experts who know precisely what you are aiming to achieve. Style advice can be given away, but it’s not helpful to you if it isn’t tailored to your exact needs and wants, and your particular lifestyle.

Our unique design process provides customers with a holistic approach where the designing, styling, and building all takes place under one roof. As an experienced stylist and designer, how do you feel our clients will benefit from this process?

Getting guidance and having access to a knowledgable sounding board is such a bonus when creating a home. The professionals know the tricks and nuances of design and will help translate your ideas and wishes into spaces that feel, and look, oh so right. There’s a skill in taking a list of finishes or a jam-packed Pinterest board and manifesting it into a 360-degree experience. With an expert stylist or designer, you are gifted with the confidence that your needs and wants will come together in a cohesive, harmonious way.

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Our clients work very closely with our interior designers on a personalised, curated design approach to discover their personal style and how to reflect this in their home. Prior to starting this part of their building journey, what tips/words of advice do you have to new home builders on how they can prepare for this stage of their journey?

Collect images and textures that inspire you and make you feel happy. You could gather it all in a shoebox, or you could create a digital mood board, using Pinterest or by saving images in a desktop folder. Observe the colours, shapes and textures in your wardrobe and current home. Think about holidays you’ve loved and the types of visual memories associated with that location (an excellent excuse to scroll through old holiday snaps!). Your unique style will be evident in every aspect of your life.

Don’t worry about what you think the name of the style is, as this will only constrain you. Instead focus on colours, textures and shapes that you are drawn to.

We provide our clients with a Design Brief so we can start to understand how they aspire their home to be. We believe it’s not just about building a house; it’s designing a home to connect with the family living in it. In your experience how important is it for clients to take the time to get the Design Brief right?

It’s crucial. You can’t give a ‘wrong’ answer to a Design Brief, as the response is a reflection of the very individual needs of you and your family. However, the ‘right’ way to approach the design brief is to think deeply about how you and your family live, and the elements required to make everyday life more comfortable. Think about your family 5 years from now, 10 years, 20 years and so on. Once you have a clear idea of those very fundamental needs and wants, things should roll on from there.

A style of home will develop over time, mature, and change as we grow into our homes. What advice do you have to our clients who wish to evolve their style into their forever home?

My number one piece of advice is: don’t be afraid to change things in your home. If the architectural layout functions well for you, and you’ve chosen quality finishes and fixtures with longevity, a little refresh of the ‘icing’ on your well-designed ‘cake’ will give your spaces a whole new look and feel. Reconnect to a space by rearranging furniture, decor and artwork, or apply a new paint colour or wallpaper to really shift the mood of a room. People aren’t static, so it makes sense that our homes, our most personal spaces, should reflect and celebrate the things that make us unique.

Photography by Sue Stubbs. 
As seen in "Individual: Inspiration for creating a home that is uniquely your own"
Published by Murdoch Books and available where all good books are sold. 

Claim your individuality and let us help you represent this in your home, because we believe no two homes should ever be built the same. Moving in will become a bit more special knowing you helped design and bring your home to life.

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