NICO at Home with Amy





Lis:The idea of having a photoshoot in your underwear can be a daunting prospect. How did you find the experience?

Amy: Initially the idea of stripping down to my underwear for a photo-shoot in the middle of winter was daunting I'm not going to lie, however, I’m becoming more comfortable with stepping outside of my comfort zone to embrace opportunity and gain experience.

The process was empowering, soothing and relaxing. I felt connected to the process as a whole, completing forgetting that I was in my underwear and finding comfort in the conversation and relaxed nature of the shoot. 

 Lis: What does self-care look like for you?

Amy: The most important thing for me when it comes to self-care, in particular when I’ve had really exhausting days and weeks, is to nourish my body and soul. 

I love cooking clean, wholesome meals on the daily. I can spend hours in the kitchen preparing broths and ferments whilst making meals for the week ahead. It’s a natural channel for my creative meditation, where I will research all these recipes and then utilise what ever I have in the pantry or fridge.  I enjoy the experimental process and even more so, sharing what I've created with the people in my life.

 Movement is a big part of my routine, especially when it comes to calming my anxieties. Through yoga and pilates I’ve found breath work really useful in restoring balance when things seem a little overwhelming. I’ve recently started (again) practicing daily meditation in the form of Vedic or transcendental which I find is the one form of meditation practice that I've found the easiest to understand and latch onto. Through breath work and a mantra (given to me by my teacher Jac Lewis of The Broadplace), I find it extremely useful in calming the nerves and processing thoughts. Relaxing in an epsom salt bath, frequent acupuncture and resting when necessary are all key components to keeping a balanced and calm perspective.

 Lis: What makes you feel strong? 

Amy: Outside of physical movement, it's when I feel a strong sense of self-worth, confidence or vulnerability. For me, it can be after I've achieved something (work-related or personal) and I'm in a really positive state of mind, when I'm around my family or friends and I'm able to totally let-go or when I step outside of my comfort-zone and surprise myself. 

Lis: Your work as an interior designer sees you creatively developing a range of spaces. What’s your approach when working with a new space? 

Amy: I try to work quite intuitively when I begin working on a new space as the beginning of the process can be quite conceptual and creative. The main overarching things that will govern my initial direction is the client and the space itself - who is it for and what will be done in it. I really enjoy meeting the client and seeing the space for this reason, it allows me to get a sense of who they are, what they're striving for and their key requirements, as this will start to determine the initial brief. I then start space planning whilst also having a sense of how I want the users to move and feel in that space - functionality, psychology and aesthetics all have a part to play for a successful design.  

Lis: Your lovely house has a beautiful sense of calm and warmth to it. What is important to you in your home and how do achieve it? 

Amy: Thank you Lis, that's very kind of you to say. I'm your stereotypical Cancerian when it comes to the importance of home as I'm quite the home body - it's my sanctuary, my safe space. I surround it and fill my home with things that bring me joy and a-lot of those things, have been either created or gifted by beautiful friends. I also find greenery and floral arrangements very grounding as well as soft lighting, artworks, books and trinkets from travelling or fossicking in antique stores. 

Lis: What is the key to creating a space that balances aesthetics with function? 

Amy: I feel the key to creating a balanced space requires understanding of what its users are, its purpose and its context. Throughout the design process the function will influence the form and or/ aesthetics of the space and in turn, the form will then influence its function. To balance the two there needs to be a considered, engaged approach; an unraveling of a story that encompasses both the space and the user as oppose to a 'just because everyones doing it' approach. 

Lis: How do you incorporate sustainability into your design process? 

Amy: This question is a difficult one to answer and one I find myself constantly at war with, within the building and construction industry. It's also extremely variable depending on the client, the budget and the project. I think it begins with being informed and educated on products and materials, as well as the processes behind it all. I do my best to specify and support products that are Australian designed and made, raw local materials such as sustainably sourced or recycled timbers, specifying materials that aren't filled with toxic substances (which will not only effect the end user but the producer, installer and our environment) as well as selecting finishes that will last years as oppose to days. 

For example, in new commercial projects it really makes a difference working alongside the architect/s, builder and client as the base build works can typically include a carpet and ceiling tiles in an empty shell and this too often will get removed and thrown to land-fill as soon as the tenancy is leased. Halting this process and educating the developer / client not only saves on costs but also lessens material waste. Current workplace fitouts are all about exposed surfaces and concrete soffits at the moment anyway! Designing a space that is considered, functional and flexible will, in turn, lend itself to a longer life. 

Flowers by The Stone Willow Studio.

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