Cartier Masthead Final Weeks

Banish the Beige

Rachel Marsh

Louise and Gavin Smith are the owners of a home that shows off who they are, and where they have come from.

An eclectic mix of furniture and accessories sourced from all over the world creates a warm and inviting space.

They met 21 years ago in the snowy town of Whistler in Canada, but Louise and Gavin Smith settled in Chifley eight years ago; their home filled with visual reminders of past shared experiences. Louise still speaks affectionately of the time they spent together in Canada, and points out many items they brought back with them – items which now add much to their home.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.42.10 am

One such piece is a colourful original vintage print by Canadian artist Ted Harrison, which six year-old Pippa is lucky enough to have hanging in her very stylish bedroom.

One of Louise’s most cherished possessions is the old Ansett catering trolley, given to her by a friend that used to work for the airline. It sits in a small alcove near the front door and offers great storage, which is always a plus when you have a family of four.

As you enter the living room, it’s hard to miss the stunning original Dousott painting, which was a gift from Gavin’s parents. The painting sits proudly above the fireplace. The bold yellow is bright and cheerful, and contrasts nicely with the muted accessories that sit alongside it on the mantle.

The dining room is where Louise’s fearless decorating style really shines. Although tucked away behind a small wall as you walk through the living room, once you see it, your eyes are immediately captured by the striking green geometric wallpaper by Anna Spiro. This wallpaper, paired with the custom ceiling pendant covered in a quirky Manuel Canovas fabric, brings the whole dining room to life.

The colours from the dining room continue into the kitchen, through clever use of the bar stools, making an effortless transition between the two spaces. It is easy to see that Louise has used her love of colour throughout the home, creating a cohesive feel.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.41.53 am

Down the hall you come across Pippa and Finn’s playroom, marked with a fun, bright green door. The colour continues inside with a fenton&fenton stag head, taking prime position on the main wall. This is definitely a room that any child (or adult) would love to be in.

What is consistent throughout each space in Louise and Gavin’s home
is that Louise has embraced her
own eclectic style, with the use of bold colour. Their home is a great representation of how your home can be styled if you are brave enough to step outside the interior design box!

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 9.24.33 am

Rachel’s Tips

Specifically, what are the 2016 trending colours, and what colours are here to stay?

As can be seen in Louise and Gavin’s home, the Dulux
 forecast entitled ‘retro remix’ encapsulates their style perfectly. It’s a combination of beautiful bold hues, pared back with subtle neutral tones. For me personally, grey is a colour that is always in fashion. It’s that lovely neutral tone with warmth and depth that complements your bolder colours, allowing them to stand out.

How easy is it for people to blend their own style into an interior?

It is really easy for people to be swayed by current trends, and what’s on the front cover of their favourite design magazine. While inspiration is great, don’t let 
these changing styles make you question your own. If you’re stuck on finding your own style, start thinking about things that jump out to you. For instance, are you more drawn to pattern, or really cleans lines? One simple way to start this process is by looking at your wardrobe. Ask yourself – what do I like to wear?

Do you gravitate toward graphic prints, and bold pops of colour, or do you tend to mostly wear neutral tones, with touches of texture? If you wear colour and pattern, more often that not, your interior will start to reflect this. One thing that holds’ people back from styling their home to their own taste is others’ opinions. You don’t have to listen to all of them! Experiment! Paint the walls a crazy colour. If you hate it, you can just paint over it. Your home should be a true reflection of the people living in it, so don’t be afraid to give it a go.

What home items are worth investing in, and what should we save on?

Always allocate the majority of the budget on the pieces that will be with you for the long haul. Items like your sofa, dining table and occasional chairs. Again, it’s important not to get swayed by current trends, as you can end up making expensive mistakes.

When picking your sofa, for instance, it’s important to think about what works for you, your family and your space. Some things to consider include the
 size, style and colour. Firstly, the wrong size sofa can make or break a room. A sofa that is too big can make a room feel cramped, and one that is too small can make a room feel empty and uninviting. Therefore, measure your space and ensure the proportions and sofa position are correct.

The style you select should reflect your style, and, the architecture of the home. For example, if you have a modern space and are drawn to clean lines, then a low line sleek sofa, with chrome feet would be a good choice for you.

Finally, the colour is extremely important. I tend to go for neutrals when it comes to larger pieces,
as it allows for more versatility.

I then bring in colour using soft furnishings and accessories. These are the items you can afford to spend less on, as you will change them more frequently.

What are some of your favourite items in Louise and Gavin’s home? Why?

My favourite part of Louise and Gavin’s house is their dining room. I love the combination of the graphic Anna Spiro wallpaper in that gorgeous vibrant green, paired with the custom pendant, suspended above the dining table. That bold use of pattern and colour makes me smile.

shop the look

Some of my favourite places in Canberra to find unique and colourful bespoke objects are The Hive, Handsomepretty and Timber + Tailor, all situated in the Ori building in Braddon. Anytime I need to find something outside the norm, this is my first port of call.

When I was selecting items to re-create Louise and Gavin’s style, I chose vibrant colours, and paired that back with the use of textured, and handmade objects. It is the difference in textures that helps tie the look together.

BanishTheBeige_flat lay


Top to bottom / Left to right: Graphic Pop Green Vase, $80 at Hive. Stone Studio Ceramics / Medium Bowl, $60 at Timber and Tailor. Little Lamb Garland, $40 at Hive. Navy Wall Hook / assorted sizes, from $10 – $50 at Handsomepretty. Zavier Frame
/ Natural $58 – With Marc Martin Pint / Price available in store at Handsomepretty. Concrete Geometric Pot White, $10 at Handsompretty. Stefan Gever / Large Wall Hook, $45 at Timber and Tailor. Karen Morton / Blue + White Ceramic Plate, $64 exclusive to Handsomepretty. Carla Dinnage / Blue Flower Bowl, $39.95 at Timber and Tailor. Wingnut / Yunomi cup, $28 at Timber and Tailor. Asanoha Orange Dish, $9 at Hive. Carla Dinnage / Cross, $100 at Timber and Tailor. Angus and Celeste / Gold Spot Bowl, $39 at Timber and Tailor. HK Living / Cross Wall Hook, $30 at Handsomepretty.

All photography by Martin Ollman

You can read this article in full and more in our latest edition of Magazine: Break The Mould. Available for free while stocks last. Click here to find your closest stockist. 

Magazine Break The Mould Cover

Rachel Marsh

Originally a Wollongong girl, Rachel Marsh the interior designer behind Inspired Interiors moved to Canberra in 2013 and has now made it her home. She loves nothing more than assisting her clients in creating spaces that are warm and inviting. Always keeping in mind that each client is different and every home should be a reflection of those who live in it. Email her at [email protected] More about the Author

Focus Cosmetic Medicine Leaderboard