Curating a Dream Space with Kelle Howard

Meet Kelle Howard, the interior design mastermind behind Habitat + Beyond and her recently completed dream home on the Gold Coast. Read about our latest shoot location; Bajo el Sol Beach House. 

We caught up with Kelle to chat about how she went about designing such an incredible aesthetic, her top styling tips for creating your own dream space and her uplifting approach to life in these uncertain times. 

Hi Kelle, thanks for chatting to us today. 

My pleasure!

For those that don’t already know you, can you share a bit about your background and how you came to do what you do now?

My background was in the cosmetics industry and I have always loved being creative in different forms. After the birth of my first child I re-assessed my career path and decided to follow my passion and study Interior Design. I have worked with clients from all over the world remotely and in-person and over the years I became more passionate about finding my niche aesthetic as a designer. I’m so passionate about truly collaborating with my clients - I spend a lot of time getting to know them and how they live and entertain. It’s way more than just selecting beautiful pieces, I want the spaces to have personality, be memorable and feel like an extension of my clients personality.

You describe your interior design style as Raw, Coastal and Luxe — can you share a bit about how you built and refined this over time?

I studied Interior Design in 2012 and I have worked with many different aesthetics. Over time, I became more drawn to using raw textures such as render, concrete, timbers, while adding luxe elements such as brushed brass and mixing in vintage rugs and textiles to soften the space. Clients began to gravitate towards working with me within this style so it confirmed to me that I should focus on this niche whilst weaving in each clients unique style.

“The overall vibe for Bajo el Sol was to wake up feeling like I was in an exotic European resort.”

You recently completed building your dream home; Bajo el Sol. It’s absolutely incredible. Can you tell us a bit about the design and interior styling process? 

I am so inspired by European architecture and in particular Ibiza. I wanted to juxtapose curved walls against straight lines to balance it out. It was important to me that Bajo felt lived-in so I sourced handmade Moroccan tiles locally, I used architectural concrete for the benches and sinks and a mix of render and Venetian plaster on the walls. Creating a base that was very tactile was an important part of the overall vibe for Bajo. For the Interior Styling I wanted to utilise vintage Moroccan rugs to form the colour palette of each room so they were truly unique. I have kept decor pieces to a minimum and selected a few key pieces of art from my favourite artist Jai Vasicek and used layer upon layer of cactus silk cushions to add more depth and colour. 

What are the key elements of Bajo el Sol that make it your dream home?

The overall vibe for Bajo el Sol was to wake up feeling like I was in an exotic European resort. I love biophilic design as plants are a must-have in any of my projects, I loved the idea of gardens spilling over the facâde and I also incorporated an internal raised garden bed and several large picture windows to bring the outside in. I designed an entire master-suite which comprises of my bedroom, walk-in robe, ensuite and study and it really does feel like the ultimate luxury. I don’t watch television so having a dedicated cinema room was important to me. There is a daybed spanning the entire length of the curved wall so it’s the perfect space for family and friends to chill out.

“Pinterest and Instagram is always a great place to start - pin and save anything and everything that inspires you.”

As you know, we’re not shy when it comes to colour at Marr-Kett. For those that have never incorporated it into an interior scheme before, we’d love to hear your tips on styling bold colours into a space. 

I love to balance out bold colours with lots of texture and then using white to punctuate it! Choose elements of the boldness and replicate it on a smaller scale throughout the space - for example you may choose a royal blue rug and then introduce flecks of the same hue in a cushion or a piece of abstract pottery.

For those that don’t know where to start, what are your tips for someone styling their own interior space? 

Pinterest and Instagram is always a great place to start - pin and save anything and everything that inspires you. Whether it’s interiors, travel destinations, fashion, quotes, then I suggest thinking of a few adjectives to describe the overall vibe you are wanting to achieve. I always refer back to raw, coastal, luxe when designing a space and it ensures I stick with the aesthetic. Then re-visit your inspiration and cull any images that don’t match that style - this will help you pare back and recognise certain elements that you are drawn to.

“Enjoy it as much as you can. Although this is a very uncertain time for most of us I have been really focussing on being as present as possible as soon our lives will return to normal.”

Are there any universal rules you stick to when styling a space? 

I’m drawn to buildings in Europe, Palm Springs and Mexico mostly but I also love to take inspiration from commercial projects such as hotels, restaurants and bars and incorporate them into the homes I design. My pantry is a perfect example with its open shelves backlit by LED strips, cascading plants and glass jars which could be right at home in an urban café.

And on an unrelated, but topical note — we saw on a recent post that you started homeschooling the little ones. Have you got any tips or words of solidarity for the other mums out there doing the same the world over? 

Enjoy it as much as you can. Although this is a very uncertain time for most of us I have been really focussing on being as present as possible. I’ve taken it as an opportunity to slow down and whilst we will still be focusing on school work we will be enjoying more play based learning as a family. In amongst that I feel that it’s really important for parents to ensure they are also incorporating more self-care into their daily life - I know from personal experience that I then have so much more to give to the people around me.

 

Photography: Jessie Prince
Styling: Tamaea Wattsy
Location: Kelle Howard | Bajo el Sol