The saying ‘is your grandma missing her curtains’ is a good thing for me because believe me when I say my Grandma Jan is an interior design QUEEN. She lives near the beach, about two hours out of Melbourne, and her house is the living room of my DREAMS. The thing is, I am only a fan of modern, interesting and… well, modern decor style. So I’m not just saying my grandma is a boss at decor because I love her and want her to like me etc. etc. etc. I actually think her house is amazing- so after a while I interviewed her about her amazing style, in the hopes that we could all get some inspiration. Ready for a crud ton of photos? Let’s do this.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a sixty-three-year-old woman who was born in New Zealand and lives in Australia. I have two children, two stepchildren, and many grandchildren, thirteen in total (one of them being Hatsy!)
What was your main mental image you had when setting up the house?
Well, I really wanted to have a black and white theme, so I was keen to have the contrast in colour which I’ve tried really hard to achieve. Then I wanted to have a pop of colour, which was red.
What about colour accents? Did you have any mental images there?
The red pop was really important, and you’ll see around my house that I have some orange and brown tones. So I’ve really got the Autumn colours, that was my intention.
Did you have a source of inspiration at all?
In a way, I think I did, because if you have a look at [my print on the wall from New Zealand] of the Maori man and woman, you’ll see that there’s black and red, and it’s on a brown background. [That was my main source of inspiration] for me, and it also reflects my New Zealand background.
Where did you get most of your items?
One of the great things about shifting back to Australia meant I could start afresh with furniture, and that’s one of the tricky things, you know, when you’re in a home for a while you get bits and pieces [from different places, so when I moved] I was able to have a plan… So I was able to buy most of my furniture all at the one time and I got it from a number of high-end furniture shops.
Did you have much to work with when you moved in- like fixed furniture?
No, it was an open plan so there were no floor coverings apart from wood [planks] which ran through the house except for the bedrooms so it meant that I could lift colour up through rugs and also some of the little accessories in the house [that I put around].
You have a lot of really cool and interesting art sculptures. What were/are your main focuses for them?
Well, I really like unusual [art] and I love an unusual look with all my artwork. I like different forms of art, so I love asymmetrical designs and if anything looks off-centre, I notice that it really appeals to me.
How did you work with spacing and placement?
Well, I [would] put things down and then look at it for some time and then I shift them around [if I didn’t like the way it was placed originally]. It’s just what appeals to me and my eye, I do have some greens that you’ll note over on my black sideboard and I like that green colour because it’s a lot about New Zealand, and that’s the [iconic colour]… Of New Zealand.
Any new items or changes you’re planning to put in at the moment?
Usually, it’s paintings and prints that I will change, and I [own] more paintings than I can fit on my walls! [That’s] okay [though], because what I can do then is… Change them around, so it’s a constant art gallery in my house.
How did you turn this house into a home?
I think it’s the little bits and pieces that you put in, I think flowers can give you a sense of home and photos. [I also like to put in] things that people know ME for which is a lot about New Zealand. Just as I’m answering these questions in the interview, I’m realising how much of New Zealand is a part of me, and that really shows through in my interior design. I think [all these things] provide a sense of home.
Do you have any interior design tips for the readers?
I think, if you see something that really appeals to you and you want it as your base for your design, just buy it. Don’t be put off. The stone centrepiece on my table… I remember when I saw it, [my husband] thought it was crazy to buy because it was really expensive. But I was determined to bring the theme of New Zealand- the stones that look like the river in New Zealand [so I bought it anyway].