Fanuli: Where did you grow up and what path led you to interior design?

 

Marylou: 

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and emigrated to Sydney with my husband, Robin, in 1985. I wanted to be an interior designer from the age of 8. I don’t think I knew the term “designer/decorator” but I had a keen eye for detail, and aesthetics and always took in my surroundings, examining, furniture, lighting, fabrics, flooring, textures etc etc.

When I was about 8 I went to visit family friends in their newly built and beautifully appointed home. I was enthralled by the beauty and knew then that that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up., make people’s homes look fabulous. I painted, sketched and pottered (pottery) right throughout my school career and childhood until I studied Interior Design at a college after I graduated from school, in Johannesburg. As a child, I was constantly redecorating my bedroom.

 

Fanuli: What has been one of your favourite projects you have worked on? And what kind of brief were you given for this project? 

 

Marylou:

I love all our projects for different reasons. But one of my favourite projects, is Cowper Wharf. We have worked with the clients for many years on two of their homes. There is a lot of trust, respect and affection for each other (that is me, my team and the clients) and we get on really well. They gave me a lot of design freedom once we had established the brief. They take design risks and let me run with my ideas, whilst contributing to the overall look and feel. The location being on the water in Woolloomooloo is also very special, and this added to making it a special project.

Another favourite project was Caulfield Residence in Melbourne.  The clients asked us to source and specify art whilst designing the interiors. Almost all the furniture is bespoke and made in Australia. The outcome is very pleasing and cohesive.

Fanuli: What are some things you like to do outside of your work as a hobby? And does this influence some of your decisions in the work arena?

 

Marylou:

I love yoga, Pilates, walking, especially on the beach or in a forest. I love ocean swims, reading (design and novels) and movies. The architecture and interiors in movies often influence me. I am influenced by nature too, and there is nothing like a great yoga class to still the mind. We love entertaining friends and family. My husband does the cooking and I of course do the styling.

 

Fanuli: What are the main differences between interior design in Australia and other places around the world?

 

Marylou:

In Australia we are free from tradition, which allows a lot of scope to experiment.

We are in the process of creating our history which is ever evolving. We have beautiful weather most of the year and so can design with an outdoor aspect in mind. I design a lot of outdoor patios. We also have to respect the harsh sun when specifying materials that can potentially perish from the heat, but at the same time we can make allowances for large windows and skylights to let the sunlight in. We are also quite isolated geographically and so we need to travel for inspiration, visit fairs etc. and wait months for FF&E!!

Fanuli: What is the process for tailoring and personalising your approach for clients to suit the different requirements of each project?

 

Marylou:

The brief! I listen with intent to the client’s brief, and how they like to live and then integrate the information with our philosophy of offering a boutique experience. We focus on proportion, comfort and luxury, considering and respecting the architecture of the home/building, and what the client loves and also what they don’t love. Obviously, aesthetics and function come’s without saying. I believe interior design should evoke an emotional response.

 

Fanuli: You have more than 30 years of design experience and in that time, we’ve seen interior design evolve as trends come and go. Do you foresee any trends in design in the coming years if any? What’s your stance on that? 

 

Marylou:

Trends come and go- however we are not about trends, but rather look to the past in-order to design for the future. There are times when clients refer to trends and so we try and find a compromise between their needs and our philosophy.