Written by John Williams
Photography by Jamie Cobel
She now runs a successful interior design studio, Bespoke Interior Design, and has recently moved her young family and her business from the hills of Titirangi into the heart of fashionable Ponsonby. John Williams caught up with Jane and her team in her new office – the freshly converted basement of her O’Neill Street villa.
What triggered your move Ponsonby?
“A lot of my client base is in the area and the surrounding suburbs. I wanted my business to be more accessible to them so that they can drop in and have a coffee, or I can easily meet them face-to-face,” says, Jane. “Ponsonby is also close to many of our suppliers, so it’s easy to pop out to furniture stores or fabric shops. It really is at the centre of things.
“But more than that, I feel Ponsonby has a wonderful, forward-thinking vibe about it. There is so much creativity going on here. Ultimately, for me, it is the best place in Auckland to be. I’m just in heaven. I can walk to the top of the road and I’m right the middle of everything,” she adds.
What’s your starting point with a design?
“You need to be able to read people – that’s the key,” says, Jane. “Understanding your clients’ needs; to translate what they’re saying to you into what they really want – that’s the skill.”
“My design cues then come from the location; whether it be the sea, the city, the surrounding architecture, fashion or colours. I also take into account how a home addresses the land, how it works with the colours and the feel of nature. We live in a beautiful world – why try to compete with it?
What’s on trend, right now?
“I see more autumnal tones coming through. Wine colours, maroons and Burgundies; bottle greens, jewel colours, caramels and terracottas,” she says. “We are also trending away from big patterns, like those rugs that look like art on the floor, or those bold, fleur-du-lis wallpapers. Now, it’s very much about the look and the feel, layering textures in natural materials, rather than turning to man-made designs and patterns. I’m no longer looking for the ‘hero’ of the fabric – it’s more about finding a ‘friend’,” smiles, Jane.
What are the advantages of engaging an interior designer?
“We can save you time and money, and also stop you making expensive mistakes,” says, Jane. “When you engage an interior designer, you tap into on a huge amount of knowledge – the best stores and suppliers to go to and also the right professionals and the best tradespeople to use.”
“And it’s not always about choosing the most expensive options,” she adds. “Designers often have the buying power than the public simply doesn’t have access to. You negotiating a 10% discount at the furniture store on retail prices really isn’t the same as us going straight to the suppliers or manufacturers and applying our discounts. There are definitely savings to made by using an interior designer.”
What’s your advice if you elect to go it alone?
“Choose elegant, classic designs for the big ticket pieces – your sofa, dining table and chairs. Do it well, and they’ll be good for 15-20 years. Once you have these in place, then the fun can begin with your smaller pieces of furniture and accessories.
“The beauty of doing it this way is that every five years or so, you can change your cushion scheme or get a new drum shade for your standard lamp… and hey presto, you’ve got a whole new look happening.”
What would your ideal place look like?
“I always think that I would be brave, but then I pick something safe; not safe as in boring, but safe as in I know I could live with this and it won’t offend me.
“Because of the job I do, I see so much, so I would need a calm space to live in. I therefore wouldn’t want a lot of colour. For me, the space would be quite monochromatic, but it would have lots of texture, lots of materials – timbers, metals and fabrics. Where I would be more daring is with my art. I’m a real lover of art – there’d be some weird and wonderful things in my dream home.”
“Thanks, I really enjoyed that,” she laughs.