I first met Shannon Fricke in 1990 at Dolly magazine where she was Beauty Editor and I was the fashion and beauty intern - even then I remember her loving all things home.
Fast forward to 2012 and Shannon is stylist/interior expert/author/decorator/TV presenter/homewares designer … did I mention she’s a Mum too. Now living in Byron Bay she shares her best tips for decorating your space.
What’s your current obsession?
Right now, I’m inspired by glasshouses and indoor gardens! I have dreams of turning my covered-in verandah into a French orangerie filled with plants of different shapes and sizes, wicker furniture and fountains!
The latest interior to amaze you…
I love spaces that are unpretentious in their approach to design. I recently spent time at Café Colette in Williamsburg NYC (below)– a space that combines subtle French-style muted colour, textured metals through the lighting and warmth in the recycled timber bench seating.
Favourite piece/treasure in your own home?
Oh dear, what to choose?! I do love my Thonet Bentwood dining chairs – a perennial classic. Also my artwork from local Bangalow artist Hilary Herrmann… Oh and a lovely, rustic kitchen that was a present from husband about 20 years ago. My collection of books! Ummm… Everything!
How often do you rearrange your furniture?
Always! My husband was lamenting only the other day that he’s spent the last 20 years as the furniture-moving guy! Sometimes a simple reordering of things can have a huge impact on how you feel in your space. A re-covering of a chair… the re-styling of your keepsakes… changing a painting from one wall to another. Little changes can make a big difference in a space.
What’s the strangest place you have found inspiration?
The colour of the water in a swimming pool in Southern France. The colour was green… Soft, milky green water that gently moved in the breeze. I spent forever trying to emulate the colour for the exterior of my home… Sadly, to disastrous effect! The house has been white ever since!
What’s the last item you bought for your home?
Trims from M&J Trimming in NYC – I paired them with Designers Guild fabrics and turned them into cushions.
Any DIY pieces in your home?
Many of my pieces have been re-purposed along the way. An oak dining table was painted white about ten years after it was first purchased. Feature walls have been painted. Small walls either wallpapered or stencilled…little details here and there.
What’s on your homewards bucket list?
I’m hanging out for the Lundy Side Tables (painted in white) from Cotswold Furniture for my indoor garden room.
Where are your five favourite places to shop?
Thonet; Heaths Old Wares Bangalow; ABC Carpet and Home NYC; Lazybones Bangalow; Sydney Antiques Centre.
People are sacred of decorating. How do you work out your own sense of style?
The very first step is unearthing a sense of style that reflects you, your life and your loves. From there, it’s about creating a concept in the spirit of your style. Once you’ve taken those steps it’s all about fitting the pieces into the puzzle until you create a space that is balanced, cohesive and harmonious.
Number One tip for people on a budget?
It’s a myth that you need an endless budget to decorate your home. Some of the most beautiful and evolved interiors I have seen have been decorated with found objects. The key is to always be on the hunt for pieces that make a difference. Search eBay, auction houses – even the side of the road, for furniture that needs rescuing. And then, develop your DIY skills. Sometimes a lick of paint is all that’s needed to turn trash into treasure.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do always create a decorating concept before you head out to the shops. This way you avoid ending up with a bunch of disparate objects that don’t ‘hang’ together.
Don’t infuse too many colours and patterns into a space when you are building your decorating confidence. Two to three is the key.
Do personalise your space with a well-edited group of keepsakes that you display on a shelf or cabinet. Think odd numbers – either one large piece, or smaller pieces in three’s, fives or sevens.
Don’t paint the walls in a colour until you have taken these three steps… 1. Research colour moods and match the right mood to your character… 2. Collect your colour swatches based on the mood that you’re hoping to achieve… 3. Invest in a series of sample pots and paint swatches onto white butchers paper, pin to the wall, and then spend at least a week musing whether you’re ready to take the plunge.
Do take photographs of your space as you move through the decorating journey. A photograph is like an objective ‘third eye’, enabling you to make decisions minus the emotion.
Don’t think that an interior is ever really finished. Decorating changes as you do. Something as simple as moving around the furniture gives a room a fresh perspective.
What’s hot in homewares right now?
Colour is hot right now – bright, clashing, high-voltage colour in a mix of patterns and textures. Perfect for the brave at heart.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when decorating their home?
Heading out to the store without a creative decorating concept in hand. It’s the first step to a house full of mismatched furniture and details!
How can you make a room look bigger?
Ensure the scale of your furniture is slimline and petite; oversized furniture in a small room will only make the room feel smaller. Paint the ceiling a pale colour – preferably white – to give the illusion of height. Light colours on the walls will also help – think white, grey, soft blues. Don’t over-clutter.
The LifeStyled List.
Tea of Coffee? Coffee in the morning; tea in the afternoon.
Favourite Flower? Peony.
Heels or Flats? Flats so I can run real fast…
Style Crush? Sarah Jessica Parker.
Favourite City? New York.
Reading? Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion.
Listening? Matt Corby.
Wearing? Marc Jacobs jeans; Rebecca Taylor ankle boots; Maison Scotch jacket; Jac + Jack scarf…
I need… An afternoon on the sofa watching a movie.
I want… Chloe shoes!
Shannon Fricke’s ‘How to Decorate’ is out now and your coffee table needs it. Buy Shannon’s book here.