Q&A WITH SOPHIE VANDER OF CURATORIAL+CO

When it comes to championing unique and original artists, trust that Sophie Vander’s exceptional eye for beauty uncovers only the best pieces from each hidden corner of the globe.

We first started working with Sophie, the director of Curatorial+Co, on our beloved Jersey Road project. Sophie sourced many beautiful pieces for the project, so it’s probably no coincidence that Jersey Road ended up in the glossy pages of the March issue of Inside Out magazine.

Sophie’s aesthetic is very aligned to our own and we immediately felt a like-minded kinship during our first collaboration. We’ve fallen for her keen eye, the artists she represents, and now for her ambition and passion. 

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WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Thoughtful. Perfectionist. Resourceful. (Though my family told me to write Crazy Cat Lady.)

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP? 

I wanted to be an F-111 fighter pilot. That turned out well!

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET? 

I did the turn-down service at a Sydney hotel. Everyone should work in hospitality at least once – you learn a lot about human nature and how to treat people with respect.

 

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WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?  

My mother’s mantra to me growing up was ‘Say yes and work it out later.’ I still live by that and try to instil that in my four daughters. Give everything a go, you never know where it will take you.

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Starting Curatorial+Co. from scratch, with nothing but a domain name and a vague idea of what it would do, then working to build it organically, learning as I went along. But I think my proudest achievement is yet to come – there is still so much to do.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?  

My mother – she’s the hardest worker on the planet, with the biggest heart. My husband and four girls who inspire me to be a better person every day. Professionally, Betty Churcher was my idol growing up. And of course all the artists I work with – their passion makes me want to work super hard for them.

 

Our Jersey Road project, featuring ‘Wings’ by Susie Dureau, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project, featuring ‘Wings’ by Susie Dureau, sourced by Curatorial+Co

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I do like to shop – art, fashion, vintage homewares and big earrings!

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

If it’s trend I do the exact opposite. That’s why I seek out artists who are doing what no one else is doing. I could easily get on the bandwagon of certain artistic styles (and probably make more money!) but it’s not about that for me. I love nothing more than finding an uncut gem.

Our Jersey Road project, featuring Gidon Bing’s brass sculpture, large print by Danuta Tojka and print by Leonie Barton, all sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project, featuring Gidon Bing’s brass sculpture, large print by Danuta Tojka and print by Leonie Barton, all sourced by Curatorial+Co

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL? 

That’s a secret – watch this space!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

I love that AKD designs feel like home. The spaces are considered and warm, full of thought and character. The artworks we’ve placed in the team’s beautiful spaces are just the icing on top. I can’t wait to work on more projects with Alexandra and her incredible team!

Our Jersey Road project featuring mixed media work by Amanda Schunker, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Our Jersey Road project featuring mixed media work by Amanda Schunker, sourced by Curatorial+Co

Images 1 & 2 via Anne Graham / Images 3 - 5 via © Alexandra Kidd Design

SLEEP HARD PLAY HARD: THE AKD APPROACH TO NURSERIES & CHILDREN’S ROOMS

We all know that beautiful interiors and kids are not a natural match made in heaven, but with a little perspicacity and a dollop of imaginative fun, children’s rooms can be a calm, colourful and (relatively!) tidy haven.

STAY CLEAR FROM THE OVERLY ‘CHILDISH’

Children change their minds so often and grow up so quickly that creating an overly ‘childish’ space isn’t a cost-effective nor long-lasting interiors decision. Even in nurseries, we look to create spaces children can grow into, not out of.

To keep a child’s room from having a ‘kiddie’ vibe, avoid primary colours and pick clever furniture that will last, such as cots that morph into day beds. Neutral colours are great for longevity, but they don’t have to be boring. Turquoise greys, powdery blues and dusky pinks look smart and stand the test of time.

In our    Jersey Road    project, we chose a base palette of soft greys with pops of pink and turquoise for an element of playfulness. Wallpaper by Matthew Williamson.

In our Jersey Road project, we chose a base palette of soft greys with pops of pink and turquoise for an element of playfulness. Wallpaper by Matthew Williamson.

INTRODUCE PATTERN AND PRINT

An instant way to add a sense of fun and whimsy is with textile pattern and prints. Mixing and matching means accessories can easily be swapped out if they grow tired (or worn out!) without re-styling the whole room.

Playing with different patterns brings a sense of whimsy to the girl’s bedroom in our    Raglan Street    project. Wallpaper by Cole and Son.

Playing with different patterns brings a sense of whimsy to the girl’s bedroom in our Raglan Street project. Wallpaper by Cole and Son.

Look to abstract florals, watercolours and classic stripes for a playful atmosphere that won’t date too quickly. For gender neutral florals, we’re particularly fond of Willie Weston’s fabrics designed by Indigenous artists.

RE-THINK THE COLOUR PALETTE

We often ask children what their favourite colour is, but this doesn’t mean we just go slapping aqua paint all over the walls! We approach colour in a more considered way, finding subtle methods to integrate their special colour into the décor. A painted rattan bed frame, a world map mural, inset grass cloth into joinery or colourful hardware are simple but effective ways of infusing a sense of play into kids’ spaces, whilst keep a neutral (and long-lasting) colour palette for the major design elements of the room.

When choosing a palette for bedrooms, be conscious that colour should have a calming and restful effect. Playrooms can take more vibrant shades, but bright greens and reds can stimulate a child’s impulsivity and should be avoided in spaces designed to relax. It’s easy to overdo it, so we always recommend a muted palette with pops of bolder colour.

In the little girl’s room of our    Wentworth Street    project, we avoided pinks that were too saccharine and opted for dusky rose hues with pops of coral.

In the little girl’s room of our Wentworth Street project, we avoided pinks that were too saccharine and opted for dusky rose hues with pops of coral.

DESIGN FROM THE GROUND UP

Consider the space from a child’s-eye view and design from the ground up. This is especially true when it comes to storage solutions. There’s no point having great storage spaces if children can’t reach them, so look to fun-size furniture, child-friendly shelves, baskets where items like socks and shoes can easily be tossed, beds with drawers underneath and closets with a reachable bottom rod.

Pint-sized nooks and hidey holes infuse kids’ rooms with a sense of adventure, and tiny chairs ensure kids feel a pride of place in an area designed just for them.

The child-friendly desk and storage space in our    Mosman House    project create a sense of ownership for this little person’s room!

The child-friendly desk and storage space in our Mosman House project create a sense of ownership for this little person’s room!

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Pint-sized chairs in our Victoria Street and Mosman House projects.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

No room is a bigger magnet for clutter than a child’s bedroom, so be realistic about how your family actually lives – your kids’ room won’t look like a magazine shoot 100% of the time. Keep your child’s habits in mind: if they like to fold clothes, rather than hang, look to drawers they can reach. Joinery pieces that double as storage units are a no-brainer when it comes to housing the ever-expanding selection of toys, clothes and accessories.

Storage space hidden into the joinery provides a clever way to hide “playroom mess” in our    Hunters Hill House    project.

Storage space hidden into the joinery provides a clever way to hide “playroom mess” in our Hunters Hill House project.

LEAVE OPEN PLAY SPACE

Feed your little ones’ imaginations and maximize their creativity by having a space where they can play. Define the area by a plush, soft rug, even if you’ve opted for all-over carpet.

Clever levels can also create imaginative play zones, as we installed in our Hunters Hill House playroom. Raised platforms signify a separate space, inviting children to play games or simply hang out with their friends in their own area.

Don’t be afraid to layer rugs over carpet, as we did in our    Jersey Road    project.

Don’t be afraid to layer rugs over carpet, as we did in our Jersey Road project.

It’s pretty magical in our    Hunters Hill    playroom thanks to this raised platform.

It’s pretty magical in our Hunters Hill playroom thanks to this raised platform.

LET YOUR CHILD’S PERSONALITY SHINE THROUGH

Involve your mini people in designing their space and let it reflect their hobbies and interests. After all, it’s their special place and if they view it as such, kids will be more likely to take pride in their room and keep it tidy. Details like animal-shaped rugs, paint murals, shelves to show off their toys and display walls featuring their own artistic creations add a sense of self to any kids’ room.

Animal inspired soft furnishings  at our    Victoria Street    project are a simple way to imbue a sense of self into your kid’s room

Animal inspired soft furnishings at our Victoria Street project are a simple way to imbue a sense of self into your kid’s room

METAL AS ANYTHING

From industrial chic to shiny luxe, metals are having quite an interior moment. With so many ways to incorporate, style and mix the material, there’s no sign of this illustrious trend disappearing from design any time soon.

Don’t be put off by the stark and cold elements normally associated with industrial-style interiors. Metals can bring an elegance and sophistication into your home, and warmer tones such as brass, rose gold and - of course - our favourite copper can add warmth to any room.

Cooler metals such as steel and chrome can be paired with deep colours and rich, luxurious fabrics to balance two contrasting styles. Soft furnishings and added details can likewise counteract the starkness common to more industrial shades of metal, and rounded shapes can soften an otherwise sharp edge. For a distinct and eclectic look, different metals can be mixed and layered in the same room to make a home feel unique.

Here are four ways to incorporate the trend into your home:

IN ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL

A metal balustrade can transform a typically functional element of your home into a piece of art unto itself.

For our Hunters Hill House project, we incorporated a gold handrail and balustrade to create a beautiful feature that frames the home. The gold tone perfectly captures the light, brightening the space whilst adding a touch of luxury.

IN JOINERY

For a more subtle nod to the metallic trend, metal can be used in joinery to bring a beautiful accent to woodwork.

Gold or brass can add a pleasing contrast to woodwork, whether that be inlayed, as handles, trims, shelves or a decorative feature. Subtle, yet eye-catching, and ultimately luxe.

IN ACCESSORIES AND FURNITURE

Metal accessories and furniture bring a bright and bold accent to any room, and can be cleverly used to play with the surrounding light, making the material a perfect antidote to dark rooms.

Gold-legged stools, brass pots and picture frames create a sense of timeless chic, especially in combination with contrasting fabrics and colours.

Lighting lends itself well to the metal trend. Warm bulbs cast a soft light that, when paired with cooler metals such as iron, brings a high-end finish to a room.

Brass and copper look at home paired with wood bring warmth to cooler textures, such as the concrete-clad walls in our Mosman House project. Sculptural forms can provide focal points, framing areas such as dining settings and hallways.

In an all-white bathroom, metal detailing adds an elegant finesse, as seen in our Victoria Street project.

IN TAPWARE

Metal in tapware has become increasingly popular and, as a result, is now a lot of fun with dozens of different metal finishes. A brushed gold finish is an understated alternative to high-shine gold. A muted gold trim stands out as a feature in our Raglan Street project (stay tuned for the full project album reveal!)

All images via ©Alexandra Kidd Design