What can’t you live without at home?
I would have to say my washing machine… I’m constantly doing loads of washing with our three kids and cannot imagine what i’d do with out it. Life would be a lot harder.
Your favourite room in the house?
Our Bedroom. It’s definitely my fave as it’s my sanctuary. We don’t get to spend a lot of time in it so whenever I get a chance I sneak up there and potter around to get 5 minutes to myself.
The Palm Beach Collection sea salt diffuser aroma… it’s beautiful. I get to smell the sea all day, everyday.
Any styling tips?
You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Grab some greenery from your garden and move some of your candles or pictures around to different places… it freshens up the place like you wouldn’t believe.
The perfect weekend?
Breakfast around the bar at home followed by a trip to the beach for a surf with the kids. Home for lunch, back to the beach for another surf session and then BBQ with friends. Repeat again on Sunday. Cant beat it !!
Tell us a little about Bird & Knoll, how did it start? What inspired it?
Bird & Knoll is the genesis of a love of travel, fashion and beautiful soft natural textiles. My business partner Nat, an ex banker turned professional photographer approached me with the idea and the pitch line “your the only person I could dream of doing this with”.
Bird & Knoll was born in 2014 creating luxury scarves using the softest premium cashmere, silks and cottons as a canvas to showcase our personal artistic narratives, captured via our camera lens, from our travels around the world. Each limited edition collection exhibits a kaleidoscope of colour and local flavour, which plays to a universal desire for adventure and wanderlust. In 2016, we segued into resort wear, the ultimate complement to the brand’s existing accessory range and travel-with-style ethos. These are pieces that we desired to wear when travelling and day to day… timeless kaftans, elegantly relaxed dresses and chic beach cover ups that are versatile and effortless. Inspired by our travels each piece is playfully named after some ‘memoir’ from the journey. Feminine, relaxed and always effortlessly elegant .
The business is based out of Sydney, and you are based in Auckland. How does that work for you?
As a whole it works really well, we feel it is actually more of an advantage (glass half full and all) as we both look after our respective markets and cover more area this way, however not so good when it comes to Friday night work drinks… clinking champagne glasses over skype just isn’t quite the same.
What are some of the things you cannot live without at home?
Our pets Chico, Lola and Broccoli. We always comment when we are away how weird it is not having them around. There is never a time that someone isn’t sitting on the couch without an animal on them. My daughter and Chico often play ‘cats’ together and he seems to talk to her in a series of meows like he’s answering her questions … as for Broccoli, look at that face … pretty hard not to love that !
Any Auckland must dos for travellers?
A day trip to Waiheke Island to explore the golden sand beaches and vineyards, weekend camping at Tawhranui beach stopping off at the farmers markets in Matakana on the way for food supplies, ferry over to and walk up Rangitoto Island… the view is spectacular, surf trip to one of the stunning west coast beaches like Piha or Bethells, head up the sky tower for a 360 degree view of Auckland – night time is just as cool as during the day and lastly visit the Kaipra coast sculptural gardens.
I love a variety of fragrances, I associate different smells with travel and childhood memories … coconut & frangipani reminds me of Fiji, eucalyptus reminds me of Australia and Peru strangely, there were so many eucalyptus trees there, tobacco, my favourite Coqui Coqui fragrance, reminds me of Mexico and I think my favourite of all fig reminds me of home.
Your perfect day?
Hanging with the family…a slow morning, then heading to the beach with friends and their little (& not-so-little) ones. A nice lunch, sweet treats for afternoon tea and then everyone back to our house for a dinner and a swim.
What inspires you?
Nature, poetry and fashion are my biggest inspirations. And my husband. I actually don’t know how he does all he does and is always so calm and kind.
Things you cannot live without at home?
My dyson. Hand sanitizer. Linen linen. Obviously candles for living areas and fragrance diffusers for the bathrooms, always.
Patchouli and Woods is my new favourite PBC scent, hands down.
How do you balance work and family life?
I don’t haha. It’s one big jumble that we figure out each new day. We are lucky to work together though, so we both have quite flexible lifestyles which makes doing what we do a little easier with three young children.
Tell us the story about your house
For as long as I’ve known him, Mez has wanted to convert a warehouse…this one was an online furniture warehouse and a lolly factory in previous incarnations. It was a hideous aqua both inside and out! Awful! I like the minimal, masculine vibe. And the use of recycled timber adds to that. I love that we can open it up, and blur the lines between the outdoor and indoor areas… and though small, I love our veggie patch. We’ve grown beans for the first time this year, and the kids are really revelling in watching the growth process, from flower to baby veg, to the final edible object!
Describe your style
I’m pretty low key…my uniform is jeans and stripe tees! I’m always on the hunt for the next pair of perfect jeans. And I love the simplicity of a sharp white man style shirt.
I love spicy, masculine scents…Clove & Sandalwood, Nag Champa, my signature perfume is Tom Ford Plum Japonais…a mens fragrance, but I love it.
Your perfect day
Some form of exercise to start, a swim in the sea…cooking and eating with Mez, glass of wine in hand…it’s all about simple pleasures really!
Tell us a little about your travel blog ‘The Window Seat‘? How did it start?
A couple of years ago we drove from Sydney to WA across the Nullarbor, and I was disappointed by the lack of resources for families travelling cross country. I thought I could document the trip to show friends and family, and perhaps help out other families along the way. We do lots of domestic travel, lots of road trips, and I love the thrill of discovering new places. I think it’s so important to see as much of our own country as we can; it’s so vast and varied, and a country with so much natural beauty.
Your favourite place to visit and where to next?
We love the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, it’s definitely our fave Australian destination. The beaches are incredible, and child friendly, there are excellent restaurants, cafes, and wineries, and you’re a short drive to the Adelaide CBD.
Next on our itinerary is a road trip up the East Coast, from Sydney to Noosa. I’ve never been to Noosa before, and I’m super excited to explore the National Parks.
You have recently renovated your house. Any advice?
For us it was all about maximising natural light so my advice would be (if you can afford the time) to sit in your un-renovated home for a full turn of the seasons while you work through your plans; the light is so different from summer to winter and it’s a good way to observe those changes throughout the year. Spend time in the design stage and you’ll avoid making costly changes on the run while you’re in construction mode.
One thing you cannot live without at home?
One? If I’m only allowed one, then it’s got to be my family; they’re the best little pack of incredible, curious, happy, contented, time-consuming, interesting, sweet individuals. There’s no other crew I’d rather watch Cheaper By The Dozen with. But if I’m allowed a few more then I’d have to include my friends (and all their kids too) (usually on a Friday night), music, and fresh cut flowers from Haven and Sarah.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Home is somewhere to relax, a place to make memories with our family and it’s a place we share with our friends. It’s where my hubby loves to potter in the garden and the kids can totally unwind. It’s also where I work a lot of the time too so on school days when the kids aren’t here it’s my quiet refuge where I can research and write.
Vintage Gardenia. Reminds me of my garden when I was growing up; my mum used to pop a stem or two in a glass next to my bed when they were in bloom. The scent takes me straight back to my 14-year-old self.
Describe your style
I don’t really know how to describe my style…I’d have to say I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to style; it can change from day to day. I love an off-duty jeans and a t-shirt combo just as much as I love a little dress up session for a night out. There’s a lot of pre-loved clothing in my wardrobe alongside a few key grown up pieces too; and if all else fails, my girlfriends have some pretty fabulous wardrobes and they’re always willing to share.
Where did your love of the ocean come from?
Emma: I lived on a yacht until I was the age of 3. I’ve always been water obsessed. A dip in the sea after a big day just feels so good!
Victoria: We always holidayed at the beach so it just feels like a happy place.
What inspires your designs/creations?
Victoria: Travel, art, architecture, music and nature are our biggest sources of inspiration. We recently traveled to Montauk for the summer and we felt so inspired by the coastal town that we designed the ‘Montauk Roundie’ after it… Same as the Palm Springs roundie in midcentury colours and lines….
Emma: We love designing products that we feel like our personal lives need. Like the ideas behind the roundie came to us sitting on the beach one afternoon and I turned to Victoria and said ‘round towels could be cool, it would give you more space than a conventional towel and we could do them in beautiful prints and patterns’.
What are the things you cannot live without in your home?
Emma: Definitely my roundie! It’s in the back of my car at all times ready for the beach, poolside or park…
Victoria: My dog Duke!! Such a buddy around home… We are just about to launch our new bath collection, it’s super soft organic cotton (made in Portugal) with a beautiful stone wash finish plus it’s fast drying, so good for our climate. Say tuned for launch dates! I can’t imagine my home with out it now.
How do you juggle work and family?
Emma: Owning your own business means the work load is endless. Some days we just have to do what we have to do, kids and all, just get it done and we’re ok with that. Balance goes out the window, that’s just life and the sooner you stop stressing about balance the better, I think haha. Generally we switch off after hours/ weekends and spend time with our loves.
Victoria: Our parents owned small businesses and they always included us in what they where doing. We always felt like they had time for us even though they were busy people. I have a 10month old (Theodore) and some days I tell the office I’m available by email or phone and I just give him my time and attention if I feel thats what he is needing that day…
What is on the horizon for the Beach People? Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
Victoria: As I mentioned earlier we have a new collection called “Earth and Sea” launching very soon. Lots of new products including our first ever bath collection….
Emma: 10 years, hopefully doing more of this! Continually designing beautiful products and home textiles that we love and bringing them to your homes. Hopefully still spending long lazy days at the beach with my sweet family and friends. We live for the simple pleasures.
What are some of the things you cannot live without in your home?
Our home is our space… we decorate it together. It’s lived in and loved. It’s a work in progress, always in motion. I love to test some items from my own collection, MJG (www.mjgstore.com) at home as well. We also love the quadrant soft modular (seating) sofa (from Koskela) in the living room and we love to fill the apartment with plants, we are not precious and yes Sophia (our boston terrier) is allowed on the furniture (she has great taste in textiles!)
What inspires you on a day to day basis?
I’m always inspired by nature and travel. Living in Bondi and travelling often my head is always filled with new ideas, currently i’m working on the winter MJG collection and my third book with Hardie Grant.
Tell us what this new candle means to you…
The new candle is inspired by the magical time of day just as the sun is setting and the beautiful golden light sparkles before for one last moment, the scent has a more winter feeling with woody and citrus notes.
Best styling advice?
Don’t be afraid to find your own style and confidence – buy and decorate with things you love and connect to and it’s important to take time there is no rush.
Favourite place to travel to?
I love to travel, it’s hard to choose but equally India and California (everyone knows I love LA and San Fran)
One place you’d love to visit?
ITALY! I have never been but I do drive a Fiat! I have always been intrigued by the culture and of course love the food,a trip through out would be nice… Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast are high on the list!!
Your house is unreal! Where do you draw your interior styling ideas from?
Ow thank you so much, that is very kind of you. I draw inspiration from so many places but mainly from travelling. I wanted our house to feel like we were on holidays all the time. So it’s open and bright and perfect for entertaining. I also love a good Instagram screenshotPinterest of course – mood boards galore when we were renovating and home magazines like Adore and Real Living.
Your perfect day?
My perfect day would be with my darling husband and beautiful baby boy Hendrix – we would be together in the sun, swimming + relaxed, followed by a delicious long lunch + a bottle of Rosè and ending it all with a big dinner feast at our place with our nearest and dearest and a few sneaky mojitos.
What are some of the things you cannot live without?
My family + friends… Our pooches Duke + Stella… My laptop and good internet to run my business. Sunglasses…. Healthy fresh food and good coffee.
Whats on the horizon for your business?
Lots to look forward to with work, a couple of super exciting projects in the works for next year but mainly growing my Digital Agency business, helping brands grow to their full potential online. A couple of really exciting collaborations are coming out early next year, will be revealing it all on my Instagram as it happens.
Describe your style…
Homestyle is a little bohemian and playful, my personal style is very monochromatic and a little edgy I guess… My wardrobe is filled with leather, denim, black, white and stripes. I like to invest in beautiful bags, shoes and jewellery.
Any advice to other working Mummas?
You can have it all, you just have to work really hard for it. Its definitely a juggle but if you love what you do, you will make it work. I swear at the moment every minute of every day is used – but after becoming a mother I feel like I am laser focused, if I am spending time away from Hendrix, I don’t waste a second of it – I wish I had that level of focus pre- motherhood. And I think the biggest thing is to not put pressure on yourself, some days will be amazing and some days will be hectic but you just have to roll with the craziness and it will all work out.
You grew up in a small coastal town in Victoria. What are some of your most fondest memories?
…and still live here! I have fond memories of rugging up in our winter woolies and going for beach walks as a family. I took Teddy to his first day of kinder a few weeks ago and a heap of great memories came flooding back of my first year of painting. Especially as it is the same kinder I went to 30 years ago!
How did your upbringing help shape you as an artist today?
My parents were/are always immersed in something creative. My father designed and built all our homes (although he’s in the petroleum trade) and my mother always expresses herself freely in the way she dresses and her interior decorating. They’re both very inspirational to me.
What inspires you on a day to day basis?
My surrounds. My garden, music, Teddy, early morning salt air.
One thing you cannot live without at home?
My stovetop coffee maker, fresh flowers and a scented candle!
Your art work is colourful and eclectic…can you describe what the pieces mean to you?
They’re a reflection of how I’m feeling at the time. I like to paint when I don’t have to look at the clock and when I’m feeling good. hopefully thats what comes through in my work.
What have you got planned for the year ahead? Any exhibitions?
I’ve been working on a few exciting projects that will be released later this year. I’m currently working on transforming my studio into creative space to host workshops.
Watch this space!
What does home mean to you?
Home means a place to unwind and relax, a place to raise your kids and be inspired by your surroundings.
A place to inspire, delight, entertain your dearest and to rest.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing for Pony Rider?
I don’t look anywhere but I see everywhere. Something needs to humour me or show me a space that it’s needed.
I don’t care for creating everyday things for everyday spaces, I am only concerned with what is missing and if it will add value.
Everything has to mean something to me otherwise I have no connection with it.
What can’t you live without at home?
I can’t live without my family. I am not a lone ranger, I am more of a pack animal. I can always live without objects, they don’t mean that much to me unless I found them on my travels.
You recently renovated your original beach cottage. What advice can you give to anyone else about to embark on a house renovation?
We tried to hold onto as much heritage as possible and in fact I wish I’d held onto more. It’s a funny thing when you renovate. You scour through pages of pinterest in a blind panic hoping you see every kitchen set up layout in case you miss something that is awesome and you have to have it. When deep down you know what it is you like and all you need to do is sit down and start sketching. Trust your gut and go out and hunt objects you like and take them home. That makes it your home.
How would you spend your “perfect” day?
Perfect day is spent in the garden planting plants. There is something incredibly satisfying about making things and watching things grow.
I like the posy scent, reminds me of being a child in my grandma’s flower garden.