A home among the gumtrees
I grew up surrounded by towering gum trees, red dust floating through the air, tar sticking to the soles of my shoes – melted from the blistering sun. Anyone who grew up in a small town in country NSW will know the overwhelming relief of jumping into a river during the height of summer. I was surrounded by family and lifelong friends, their parents having grown up with my parents, and so on.
From Sydney to Mozambique
I went away for high school, returning home for uni, where I met my future husband, Andrew. After graduating, we moved to Sydney, staying put for 9 years, both focussing on our careers. Our first son, Tom, was born at the end of 2000, the year of the Golden Dragon, apparently the best of them all (just ask him ;)). I had every intention of returning to my position as manager of a recruitment consultancy firm after a few months at home with Tom, however, the idea of returning to 14-hour workdays and seeing very little of my gorgeous baby boy, became less and less appealing.
We decided to leave Sydney for somewhere more affordable. This move involved an industry change for Andrew, transitioning from finance into resources, and so began 10 years of transience which took us from Sydney to the Hunter Valley (where our second son, Will, was born in 2003. That makes him a goat, in case you were wondering…), then to Roxby Downs (7 hours north of Adelaide, in the middle of the desert) in 2005, where I returned to work part-time, running projects in the HR department. Finally, in 2008, Andrew’s work took us to Mozambique, Southern Africa, where I wasn’t allowed to engage in paid work, so I volunteered in various capacities.
It was quite the ride, but two years into living in a developing, high-security risk country with two small boys saw me putting my foot down, insisting that we move somewhere (safe) and stay there! Happily, at the end of 2010, we landed in Melbourne, which is now very much home. Andrew and I are no longer married (I kinda liked putting my foot down, as it turns out), but he’s still stuck with me as a friend – seemed churlish to throw away 24 years of togetherness.
Travel sparked my love of exterior and interior design
Years of living a transient life meant lots of time settling the boys (and myself) into new environments. I found the best way to do that was to make each house (often company housing that was a replica of the house next to us, and across from us) feel like home, as quickly as possible. For me, this always included a veggie garden. Having my hands in the dirt makes me happy, and it also helped supply some of the foods we loved that were not always available in foreign or remote locations. My love of edible gardening led me to my next career dream (there have been a few!), which was landscape design.
After much research, I enrolled in a post-grad at Melbourne Uni, juggling family, work and study for a few years. Life happened, and we entered a time where I felt that the boys needed me to be more available, so I put that dream on hold (one unit shy of obtaining my post-grad), with every intention of returning when time allowed. I am very grateful that Andrew’s income allowed me to take that time to be with the boys. During this period, my dream changed to a focus on interiors, evolved to incorporate exteriors (had to keep my hands in the dirt) and led to more study in interiors, styling and the fabulous world of colour. And so, the next leg in my life journey studioFRWD was born… I believe I’ve been moving towards this all my life, it feels more right than anything has previously. Working with clients to create spaces that feel like home and fill them with joy, fills me with joy.
I’d love you to come along for the ride…