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Inspirational Mums in Design

April 24, 2018
Inspirational Mums in Design

Mother's Day is a beautiful occasion to celebrate the amazing women in our lives who have raised us.

Here at House of Home, we have some amazing Mums in our community who are the driving force behind the remarkable calibre of creativity and design that informs so many of our homes.

We would love to introduce to you three of these inspirational women who have each shared with us their tales of motherhood, design philosophy, words of wisdom and inspirations. They have also shared what is on the top of their wishlist for Mother's Day - hint, hint!

Meet Danielle | Lighting Lighting Lighting

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Tell us a bit about your passion for lights and how this has shaped the Lighting Lighting Lighting philosophy.

It’s simple really. I love lights! From the moment I fell into the lighting world I realised the key to keeping my spirit alive was working with this extraordinary matter. The form, the function, the fashion, the life that light breathes into architecture; it all thrills me and highlights the foundations behind our brand. Lighting Lighting Lighting was created to offer the world a source of knowledge. A safe place to buy the perfect ‘Light for every room’.

Can you give us a little insight into your process of ranging lighting products?

Lighting is a little like the fashion industry, it’s ever changing and even seasonal, so diversity of product in our collection is essential. Colours, materials, construction are all considered in our range and we make every effort to be forward thinking in our approach to selections.

Your career began in the world of fashion. How have you found the transition from working in a predominantly female industry to running a business in a predominantly male sphere?

I think I could answer this question with one word… EMPOWERING! There are certainly more men in my lighting world but I am fully supported regardless of gender. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by peers who enrich my every moment and man or woman, I feel accepted and nourished.

Lighting Lighting Lighting is a purely online-based store. Has this made it easier to multitask as a mum?

Shall I answer this with a LOL! They say it takes a tribe to raise a child, well it also takes a tribe to run an online store! Our philosophy of offering more than just a product means that we make ourselves available for interaction from our users. We are here to educate, inspire and guide and although we don’t have a physical retail presence, our Lighting Lighting Lighting tribe is ever present and ever multitasking. I am hence a multitasking PRO.

What does a typical weekday look like for you?

Mmmm training in the morning to clear my mind and I am showered and ready for work before my daughter opens her eyes. She is whisked off to party time with her Nonno (AKA Grandfather and BFF). Off to work I go for breakfast with my tribe and a discussion about objectives for the day handwritten in my DM notebook (AKA My little black book). Product selections, uploads, customer enquiries, stock control, financials, marketing, Instagram stories all before lunch. Lunch with the tribe (food is life) and chit chat about all things life and light. Back to work and collaboration with my tribe. Day ends at 5.30pm and I go home to my very beautiful daughter to eat again and discuss her favourite memories of the day. Yes, I know she is only 2, but is any woman really ever too young for chats???

What is one of the most valuable life lessons that you have learnt from motherhood?

Being a mother puts the chaos of life in perspective. It is a second by second reminder that life is forever complete by her existence and no matter what challenges life presents me, it’ll all be ok because she’s here. Sounds like a Hallmark card, but she literally makes my heart so full I think one day it might explode!

What is on your wish list for Mother’s Day?

For playtime, for keeping the table neat and tidy, for my love of all things Italian and terrazzo and for my love of sustainable and creative design:

Meet Christina | Designstuff

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You originally came from a fashion background. How has your experience in the world of fashion influenced Designstuff?

Fashion is an interesting industry where trends are constantly coming and going, and you always have to educate yourself to stay ahead. However, good style endures the trends and will always look amazing. Homewares is similar in that regard, which is why I always choose to stock products I believe will stand the test of time and remain breathtaking for years to come. Our store is carefully curated based on craftsmanship, quality of material, functionality and beautiful design.

What do you love the most about running your own business?

Running my own business, though incredibly hectic and busy, provides me with a variety of unique and motivating challenges to overcome everyday. No two days are ever the same, which has me in a constant state of learning and development. I also enjoy working and engaging with our customers and suppliers, as well as my wonderful team.

Do your little ones provide inspiration or input for the Kids & Baby products that you stock?

Absolutely! I often find myself asking them for advice when determining what Designstuff will be stocking and when new collections and catalogues are released. We all sit down with a tea/hot chocolate, open up the product catalogues and circle our favourite pieces; it’s a great way to spend good time together.

How would you describe the interior design/aesthetic in your own home? Does it change as your children grow?

I’m very focused on having a functional home, one that not only provides space for the kids to run around, play, and have fun, but also caters to rest and relaxation. I keep my interiors neutral and open, with accents of plant life to keep the space feeling homely and inviting. I suppose as my children grow up, I’ll be able to display more delicate and fragile pieces, but for the moment, I’m more than happy for our collection of toys to take centre stage.

You are a member of the ‘League of Extraordinary Women’. Tell us a bit about this community and the women that you have met through it.

The League of Extraordinary Woman provides a community of great and inspiring business leaders and provides a forum for businesswomen to support and celebrate one another. I’ve met Sheryl Thai through the League, the founder of Cupcake Central and CEO of L.E.W, and she is a huge inspiration to me. She runs an amazing business, has an incredible view on life, and provides some great ideas with a hilarious sense of humour and brilliant outlook.

Are there any particular women who inspire you?

Without a doubt, life coach, Shannah Kennedy. I’ve read a number of her books and have seen her speak and am always left filled with inspiration and motivation. She is the epitome of ‘being the best version of yourself’ and lives her life to the absolute fullest. I’m always trying to incorporate her advice and ideas into my everyday routine and truly believe it has helped me in various aspects of my life.

What is on your wish list for Mother’s Day?

Meet Kim | Kimberly James Furniture

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Tell us a little bit about Kimberly James Furniture. When did you start getting involved and what is your role?

We have two stores and an off site warehouse. I am a second-generation family furniture business. Mum and dad started the Whitewood Centre which sold raw pine furniture in 1975. This evolved into The Classic Timber Furniture Company which sold stained timber predominantly traditional styled furniture in the 80s. James and I have just rebranded to KJ Furniture.

The rebrand to KJ was all about moving with the times. Refreshing the look and feel of our showrooms and the ranges that we sell.

We are now supplying South Australian homes with beautiful furniture and homewares made of many different materials such as beautiful Australian timbers, concrete, aluminium, glass, wicker and stunning leathers and fabrics for all areas of the home.

At Kimberly James furniture we believe that good furniture makes a good home and that your family deserves the best. We want to help you make a home where your furniture not only makes life comfortable, but also expresses who you are.

Although I have been part of family business since I was a young girl I joined the business after I had my first son Todd in 1992 at the age of 24. My initial role was in sales and then I took over my mum’s role as homewares buyer.

I am now co-director with my husband James. I have a HR and Marketing role and I am also the homewares buyer.

What are your favourite parts of working in a family business?

  • I love working with my husband and am very proud of what we have achieved.

  • Flexibility in working hours and variety of job roles.

  • The ability to make entrepreneurial decisions quickly.

  • Very proud to be south Australian owned family furniture that employs 30 staff.

  • The close working relationship with the staff…. We really do encourage family values within the business such as team work and respect.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

My day at work always starts with a coffee and a smile on my face no matter how I’m feeling.

I catch up with the staff, not always about work sometimes it’s about their weekend or personal life, have a walk around the showroom and then head upstairs to my office where I always have a to do list and a plan to keep me on track.

The plan is usually specific to the tasks I want to achieve by the end of the week that are important and although I can get easily distracted, as there is so much to do, I really try and stick to it.

Lunch is always quick, healthy and easy and in the afternoon I like to hang out in the showroom talk to customers and play with our beautiful homewares and furniture.

We love the way you style the showroom! What trends are you loving in 2018?

Our showroom has never looked better and we have some exciting developments to come in the near future.

Trends that we are loving at KJ furniture this year include:

  • luxe fabrics (especially velvet in rich colours)
  • organic shapes and textures in decorative items
  • burnished metal finishes
  • black accents
  • tribal influences in monochromatic tones
  • cosy fabric beds with layers of cushions throws and blankets
  • mix and match tables and chairs to obtain an individual look
  • natural elements such as beautiful Australian timbers
  • recycled timber items
  • marble and stone

How would you describe the interior design/aesthetic in your own home?

Eclectic would be one word to describe the aesthetic in our home.

James and I have quite different taste, which makes things tricky (but between us I have better taste! Hahaha).

I am exposed to so many beautiful furniture and decorative items it is really hard for me to lock myself into one style. It is always ebbing and flowing from one to another and tends somehow to come together. We live in an old railway cottage and built on a more contemporary kitchen and living room extension that has beautiful views over the hills all the way to the coast.

It is light and bright in the new area of the house. We recently painted the cream timber work on the veranda white and repaved the sandstone coloured pavers with a lager mid tone grey. This has changed the aesthetic immensely.

The interior is bordering on minimalistic. I dislike clutter. I think because I am surrounded by so many things at work, I like to come home to a calmer less stimulating environment. Our home filled with natural finishes in neutral colours, warm timbers, an earthy rich palette reflected in soft furnishings crockery and art work. The kitchen extension is light and bright - the brief was to bring the outside in to take advantage of the glorious view.

We have an eclectic mix of furniture - some on trend and some classic one off pieces. Plus, too many cushions and not enough plants!

You are a member of Behind Closed Doors. Tell us a bit about this community.

I was part of the entrepreneurs program and can credit my 3 years in BCD with my confidence, growth and development as a leader and business woman. I was even nominated for Telstra businesswoman of the year. Something that would not even crossed my wildest dreams 3 years ago.

The BCD community is built of networks of business women in a supportive and safe environment led by a trusted group of mentors.

I was in a group of wonderfully generous and clever women who were professionally and personally who shared their experiences and knowledge.

I felt safe to be fabulous and also vulnerable in this group and learnt that it’s ok to be both.

The invitation-only programs involve monthly meetings of 12 to 15 women where high profile facilitators lead discussions about strategies, issues and challenges facing board members, executives and business owners.

Are there any particular women who inspire you?

Yes so many…. But close to home my mum inspires me to be sensitive and graceful, my mother in law inspires me to be stoic, generous and kind; my sister inspires me to keep a sense of humour.

There are many business women in my network who also inspire me every day and without naming names women who inspire me all have of these attributes…….They support and celebrate other women, they have a sense of strength and empowerment but are also nurturing, loving and kind.

Your sons are all grown up now. Do you have any advice for mums with younger children who are running a business?

My Beautiful sons are Todd 26 and David 23 and definitely all grown up however of course even now they still need their Mum at times.

They are also working in the family business which makes me very proud.

Advice for mums with younger children who are running a business would be to take time for themselves to replenish their emotional, physical, and spiritual reserves. Without this we cannot expect to have anything left in the tank at the end of the day which is so important for our relationships.

Try let go of any mother guilt and set obtainable goals in the day and week.

Enjoy your children everyday they grow up so quickly and you cannot turn back time.

What is on your wish list for Mother’s Day?

My wish list always includes a special family lunch where we can all be together and a new pair of cosy fleecy pyjamas to see me through winter.

I would also love...

  • an interior design consult from the amazing Andrea from OLIO interiors so I can put all of my favourite things together at home to create a harmonious living space

  • a gorgeous Malibu chair from Kimberly James furniture

  • a bottle of Paracombe sparkling pinot chardonnay

  • a beautiful box of Haigh’s chocolates

  • anise cushion in sumac by Weave


We would like to thank Danielle from Lighting Lighting Lighting, Christina from Designstuff and Kim from Kimberly James Furniture for sharing their insights of motherhood and design with us. If you are ready to start building your wishlist of products, then be sure to check out each their wonderful product ranges.


Don't miss our Mother's Day Gift Shop 2018 which is filled with very special gift ideas for mum to fall in love with.


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