The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are my personal favourites from over a decade working in the industry. They have come from real situations where clients have asked and I have answered. I hope these questions and answers help you in making an informed decision and seeing the care and quality that I give to your project.
Q How much does a stylist or colour consultant cost?
A Everyone charges differently. Some people charge according to the size and duration of the project (asking for a deposit and progress payments), others charge by the hour. In my case I charge by the hour. It’s amazing what you can cover in an hour or so. The first consultation is 1-2 hours depending on the project. Any follow-up visits attract a slight discount. I have a lot of repeat clients and referrals, so I think my rate is competitive. Think of me as an artistic tradie or your style coach. I can assist you with large or small projects. I keep my approach flexible. We’ll come up with something.
Q Have you actually studied anything?
A Yes. I have done a Design Cert IV, Diploma in Colour Design, Diploma in Interior Styling. I studied while working and raising a family. It took around 2.5 years. I went to the International School of Colour & Design in North Sydney. It was great.
Q Will you do your style or mine?
A Yours. Unless you really hate yours! Then if that’s the case, we’ll come up with a new style just for you. I have my style, you have yours. We will have different priorities, back stories, likes and dislikes. I bet my favourite colour isn’t the same as yours... So, applying the elements and principles of design, we’ll come up with a solution that can only be described as you. I promise you, I won’t let you make a bad decision and I have the greatest respect for budgets, too.
Q What if I don’t know what my style is?
A That’s what I’m here for. I will help you work it out. It’s my favourite thing. Honestly, if I didn’t work in design, I would work in social research or as a full-time screenwriter, because people are just so fascinating: what they notice, how they feel, what they think about, what they obsess over, what they want, what they avoid. As a designer, we get to meet people every day. Every project is unique because our clients are.
Q I’m thinking of selling. Is it still worth making it look the way I want it to?
A Yes. I’m not the first to say it, but ‘people buy homes’. It’s actually incredibly hard to sell an empty space, because most people can’t visualise themselves (or their belongings) in it. Any way you look at it, this is your home. No matter how long you live there, you are there now, and one day someone will love it, too – enough to purchase it. Maybe you’ll pull back on doing bright tangerine as the main wall colour throughout (!), but if you adore bright tangerine, I will certainly help you bring it into your world. If you apply good, adaptable design principles, you can adapt to your changing needs and that of your desired market.
Q I’m thinking of selling. Can you help me make it look good?
A Yes. This is what I will suggest: The style that will work best, how to eliminate what is detracting from that look, pack up what you want to keep (but don’t need for promotional purposes), release/recycle/repurpose what you don’t need now or in the future. As with most things in life, if you set your intention, you will get there. In this case: “I want to make my house as attractive and authentic as possible”. Notice I put the word authentic in there? Everyone knows a fake. The smell of coffee won’t work a miracle, if there’s no miracle to be had. Be true to the property and yourself and it’s incredible what you can achieve.
Q I haven’t done anything for years, now the kids have left home, I’d like to update things. Have I left it too late?
A It’s never too late. If you are going to live in your home, it deserves to be refreshed in a way that is meaningful to you and your changing season in life. Good for you!
Q Are you like those stylists on TV?
A Which one? Do you want me to be like a TV stylist? I can be if you want me to be... or not. I get asked this question quite often and usually the person is asking because they are worried I’m going to blitz their home, do my style, or ignore their budget. The answer I usually give is: "No, I’m not like a TV stylist. I’m here because you invited me into your home, you have something on your mind, and you want to find a meaningful solution. Right now, I’m more like your professional best friend."
Q How long have you been doing this?
A Around 16 years. If you do your sums, you’ll notice I went to design school in 2010 to 2012, so how is that possible? Well, I had a couple of businesses in the early 00s that were to do with eco-homewares and sustainable style (it was called Desu Living) and surface design (it was called Earthly Goods). Those experiences strengthened my resolve to study colour/design/style more closely.
Q What’s your house like?
A Just the way I like it. It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing... Do you believe me? Of course not – but it’s almost true. My house is a combination of Australian/French/Bauhaus/Country style. It’s very family-friendly. Washable, replaceable, carefully-selected and user-friendly. It means a lot to the people who live there. It’s a style which has evolved with time. We relax. It’s not a film set. It’s real life.
Q Did you always have a preferred style?
A No, but I always had things I liked and didn’t like. When I was 12 my dream home was a log cabin. When I was 16, my dream home was super-architectural, when I was in my 20s my dream home was a warehouse apartment, after I had children my dream home was anything we could afford in Sydney! One thing I did learn, after years of renting, and then when we built a house, is that the way you interpret/use a space depends on where you are and how you feel. That’s exciting.
Q I’m renting, but I want it to feel personal. Can you help?
A Yes. Carefully curating the things you have around you (the things you need and the things you love) is a skill which develops with confidence. Trends come and go. Your style stays with you. On-going renting is a relatively new direction in Australia, but overseas they’ve lived this way for generations. I can help you define your space, wherever you are.
Q My partner and I have different styles. Can you help?
A Yes. You are together, there will be some common ground somewhere. The skill is finding a theme which serves both of you. I can get you there.
Q The painter, builder, architect, electrician or carpenter is coming tomorrow. I don’t know what to tell him. Can you help?
A Yes. Let’s have a chat on the phone or meet and I’ll help you work out the priorities.