COMMON PEOPLE #35

nicole arvela
bulli, nsw

 

Immersing herself in the interiors world for over 10 years, Nicole Arvela's passion for the design industry shines through in her eclectic pad here on the south coast. as the creative manager and head buyer for home goods retailer life interiors, Nicole gives us tips on choosing furniture pieces for your home and insight to where she's currently drawing inspiration.

 

INTERVIEW BY ANNA HEYLIGERS

IMAGES BY TILLY CLIFFORD

COMMON PEOPLE #35

nicole arvela
bulli, nsw

immersing herself in the interiors world for over 10 years, nicole arvela's passion for the design industry shines through in her eclectic pad here on the south coast. as the creative manager and head buyer for home goods retailer life interiors, nicole gives us tips on choosing furniture pieces for your home and insight to where she's currently drawing inspiration.

INTERVIEW BY ANNA HEYLIGERS

IMAGES by TILLY CLIFFORD

 

 

Tell us about you and what you do?

My name is Nicole, I am a lover of all-things interiors, fashion, travel and lifestyle.

I grew up in Wollongong and moved to Sydney when I started working in the industry. I wanted to be closer to work; so I lived in the Surry Hills and Darlinghurst area for about 9years, and loved every minute!

The pace and lifestyle of living in those areas was exhilarating and I will always have the best memories of living up there. Two years ago my fiancé Tom, and I, we decided it was time for a change of pace and we bought our first home down in Bulli, so we essentially made a full circle, but was the best decision we could have made!

I have been working for eleven years in the Interiors industry for a Sydney company called Life Interiors. It has been an enriching professional and personal experience as I am extremely passionate about the Interiors and Design industry.

 

Being a Creative Manager in the interiors world sounds like a dream job can you tell us what your days looks like?

Yes it is; I absolutely love what I do and the company that I work for, and feel extremely grateful to be able to work in an industry that I am so passionate about!

My role is Senior Buyer and Creative Manager. I head our local buying division, which includes selection and curation of our local brands and products; I also assist with our overseas imported furniture selections and curation.

As a result, I attend the local Australian trade shows 3-4 times a year, and I travel overseas to visit the international furniture fairs twice a year (pre covid that is!).

As the head of Creative across buying and also branding, I manage the process of concept-to-creation from start to finish. So, essentially at the end of every season we analyse our product mix, what is working and what isn't, which products resonate with our customers, and how we can expand into the new season.

We will then have a clear vision for the products we are looking for before we head into the tradeshows. Having a clear vision for the product ranges and categories prior to hitting the shows is key, and it allows us to create curated and concise ranges.

The buying and development time between visiting the shows and actually getting the products in store can sometimes take up to 6 months. So, we are buying ahead and then in between working on marketing plans, visual merchandising, and very importantly, content creation, there is a process which then roles out into all our other areas in the business.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from for the products and collections?

The Life Interiors aesthetic is drawn from a vision for Modern Australian Living, which is a love of comfort, quality and a relaxed lifestyle. Our ethos is to provide everyday Australians with great design that is accessible to everyone.

We work really hard to create products and collections that are practical, functional but we are also on the lookout for key trends that we can apply to our ranges. Our customer loves colour, so you will often see us be quite daring in our colour selection for larger furniture items as well as accent pieces, such as armchairs.

One of my favourite pieces that I have also recently purchased is the Jasper Swivel Armchair in Olive velvet ♡

 

Tell us about you and what you do?

My name is Nicole, I am a lover of all-things interiors, fashion, travel and lifestyle.

I grew up in Wollongong and moved to Sydney when I started working in the industry. I wanted to be closer to work; so I lived in the Surry Hills and Darlinghurst area for about 9years, and loved every minute!

The pace and lifestyle of living in those areas was exhilarating and I will always have the best memories of living up there. Two years ago my fiancé Tom, and I, we decided it was time for a change of pace and we bought our first home down in Bulli, so we essentially made a full circle, but was the best decision we could have made!

I have been working for eleven years in the Interiors industry for a Sydney company called Life Interiors. It has been an enriching professional and personal experience as I am extremely passionate about the Interiors and Design industry.

 

Being a Creative Manager in the interiors world sounds like a dream job can you tell us what your days looks like?

Yes it is; I absolutely love what I do and the company that I work for, and feel extremely grateful to be able to work in an industry that I am so passionate about!

My role is Senior Buyer and Creative Manager. I head our local buying division, which includes selection and curation of our local brands and products; I also assist with our overseas imported furniture selections and curation.

As a result, I attend the local Australian trade shows 3-4 times a year, and I travel overseas to visit the international furniture fairs twice a year (pre covid that is!).

As the head of Creative across buying and also branding, I manage the process of concept-to-creation from start to finish. So, essentially at the end of every season we analyse our product mix, what is working and what isn't, which products resonate with our customers, and how we can expand into the new season.

We will then have a clear vision for the products we are looking for before we head into the tradeshows. Having a clear vision for the product ranges and categories prior to hitting the shows is key, and it allows us to create curated and concise ranges.

The buying and development time between visiting the shows and actually getting the products in store can sometimes take up to 6 months. So, we are buying ahead and then in between working on marketing plans, visual merchandising, and very importantly, content creation, there is a process which then roles out into all our other areas in the business.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from for the products and collections?

The Life Interiors aesthetic is drawn from a vision for Modern Australian Living, which is a love of comfort, quality and a relaxed lifestyle. Our ethos is to provide everyday Australians with great design that is accessible to everyone.

We work really hard to create products and collections that are practical, functional but we are also on the lookout for key trends that we can apply to our ranges. Our customer loves colour, so you will often see us be quite daring in our colour selection for larger furniture items as well as accent pieces, such as armchairs.

One of my favourite pieces that I have also recently purchased is the Jasper Swivel Armchair in Olive velvet ♡


"Choose a piece that you love; practicality and comfort are key, but don't be scared to take some risks, such as choosing a pink armchair to create some interest and pop of colour!"

"Choose a piece that you love; practicality and comfort are key, but don't be scared to take some risks, such as choosing a pink armchair to create some interest and pop of colour!"


 

Do you have any advice when it comes to choosing pieces for a space?

I would say it’s really important to Firstly, try to understand your space and what it is exactly that you are requiring from your piece of furniture? Making sure that you have measured your room and have the correct dimensions of the item you wish to purchase, and have some key requirements, such as the lounge must be able to sit 3 people, and no more than 180cm in length. Having this information as you are searching will automatically cut out options, and you can ensure that you are getting exactly what you need.

Secondly, research and budgets. I would recommend researching online, as there are so many online furniture retailers these days, that you can do a lot of research from home and then have a list of places to visit if you want to see the product in the flesh. If you are re-furnishing your whole lounge room, I would suggest having a total budget in mind, and then you can allocate out which items you want to spend more money on. Think about your budget vs splurge, you could spend more money on a lounge that you are going to spend more time using, and then have a smaller budget for the homewares and accessories as you may wish to change these up in the future.

Lastly, choose a piece that you love; practicality and comfort are key, but don’t be scared to take some risks, such as choosing a pink armchair to create some interest and pop of colour!

 

Who would you say is your favourite designer?

I would have to say Kelly Wearstler, she is just the epitome of design for me, and I am constantly amazed and inspired when looking at the spaces that she creates.

kelly has a whimsical and playfulness that she incorporates into her designs, and I love her use of pattern, colour and texture. Her furniture and sculptural selections are museum-like; she has a very unique aesthetic that I really look up to.

One day I would love to stay in the Santa Monica Proper Hotel that she designed, which is in Southern California.

 

What would you say your style is?

My personal style is definitely a mix, you could sum it up as modern eclectic. Our home definitely has a vintage vibe; whilst I really love modern furniture pieces, our home has quite a lot of vintage pieces that are really special to us. I like to mix new and old together as I find that this can create a space that has character and soul.

Our home has a slight seventies colour palette, with warm earthy tones, but don’t get me wrong I love colour. However, we have definitely chosen a more earthy palette to live within as it creates a sense of calm, and ties into our bush surroundings.

 

Do you have any advice when it comes to choosing pieces for a space?

I would say it’s really important to Firstly, try to understand your space and what it is exactly that you are requiring from your piece of furniture? Making sure that you have measured your room and have the correct dimensions of the item you wish to purchase, and have some key requirements, such as the lounge must be able to sit 3 people, and no more than 180cm in length. Having this information as you are searching will automatically cut out options, and you can ensure that you are getting exactly what you need.

Secondly, research and budgets. I would recommend researching online, as there are so many online furniture retailers these days, that you can do a lot of research from home and then have a list of places to visit if you want to see the product in the flesh. If you are re-furnishing your whole lounge room, I would suggest having a total budget in mind, and then you can allocate out which items you want to spend more money on. Think about your budget vs splurge, you could spend more money on a lounge that you are going to spend more time using, and then have a smaller budget for the homewares and accessories as you may wish to change these up in the future.

Lastly, choose a piece that you love; practicality and comfort are key, but don’t be scared to take some risks, such as choosing a pink armchair to create some interest and pop of colour!

 

Who would you say is your favourite designer?

I would have to say Kelly Wearstler, she is just the epitome of design for me, and I am constantly amazed and inspired when looking at the spaces that she creates.

kelly has a whimsical and playfulness that she incorporates into her designs, and I love her use of pattern, colour and texture. Her furniture and sculptural selections are museum-like; she has a very unique aesthetic that I really look up to.

One day I would love to stay in the Santa Monica Proper Hotel that she designed, which is in Southern California.

 

What would you say your style is?

My personal style is definitely a mix, you could sum it up as modern eclectic. Our home definitely has a vintage vibe; whilst I really love modern furniture pieces, our home has quite a lot of vintage pieces that are really special to us. I like to mix new and old together as I find that this can create a space that has character and soul.

Our home has a slight seventies colour palette, with warm earthy tones, but don’t get me wrong I love colour. However, we have definitely chosen a more earthy palette to live within as it creates a sense of calm, and ties into our bush surroundings.

"Our home has a slight seventies colour palette, with warm earthy tones, but don't get me wrong I love colour. However, we have definitely chosen a more earthy palette to live within as it creates a sense of calm, and ties into our bush surroundings."

"Our home has a slight seventies colour palette, with warm earthy tones, but don't get me wrong I love colour. However, we have definitely chosen a more earthy palette to live within as it creates a sense of calm, and ties into our bush surroundings."

 

Your dining table and couch are very special vintage pieces can you tell us the stories behind it?

Yes, they definitely are; they are very special, and we are very lucky to have such beautiful pieces within our home.

Our couch is an original Tessa Furniture suite, Tessa was an Australian home furniture manufacturer who unfortunately closed in 2019 after 50 years of furniture production.

It was found by Tom’s parents in the classifieds, being sold by someone locally. We loved it straight away; it originally had chocolate brown leather, but it was quite worn after a few years of usage. So, we decided to get it reupholstered, luckily while Tessa was still in business, and we chose a beautiful Tan leather. I personally love the matching armchairs.

The dining setting was a family hand me down. It's by the Danish designer Hans Olsen, and are quite rare these days. It is made for rosewood timber and I love the way the chairs are incorporated into the table; it is also extendable. We will one day get the table refurbished and the seat pads on the chairs reupholstered, but it is such a special piece and ties in really well with the Tessa lounge setting.

 

Being in lockdown and now working from home has anything in particular helped you through?

Yes definitely, I would say where Tom and I are living has helped so much. We are so lucky to be living so close to the bush, but also so close to the sea, so we have the perfect surrounding to create a calming environment.

Olive is the most recent addition to our household; she is our six-month old german shorthaired pointer (GSP) puppy. She has also been the best lockdown distraction ever; she definitely keeps us busy and active, that is for sure! I start my day by getting up and taking Olive for a big walk before I start work, and I need to do this without fail because otherwise she will have too much energy throughout the day! Tom and I usually take her to the park or a walk after work, and we can catch up on our day.

I also would say that making that distinction between work life and home life is very important; keeping a routine and separate office space, also making sure I switch off for the day, close my computer, tidy my desk, write a ‘to-do-list’ for work the next day.

I also make sure to get dressed semi-professional, well, more like a casual Friday, so some jeans, I do my hair, put on some jewellery, and I feel like I am ready to face the day!

 

I have to ask, what are your picks at Noel and Gladys?

Has to be your amazing range of local artist Ash Leslie's artworks; we have a couple in our home and they are just so special!! I love how artwork can be so complimentary to a space and really tie it together; we are wanting to build on our artwork collection, but we will take our time with this as we want to select pieces we love and that will tie in well with our existing space.

I also love your selection of books and ceramics; I have recently bought one of your ceramic candles and it is just divine! Apparel wise, one of my all-time favourite brands is Paloma Wool, so I was super excited when I saw you were stocking a selection of their pieces.

I love supporting Australian brands and makers, and all about shopping local!

more about nicole here and here

 

Your dining table and couch are very special vintage pieces can you tell us the stories behind it?

Yes, they definitely are; they are very special, and we are very lucky to have such beautiful pieces within our home.

Our couch is an original Tessa Furniture suite, Tessa was an Australian home furniture manufacturer who unfortunately closed in 2019 after 50 years of furniture production.

It was found by Tom’s parents in the classifieds, being sold by someone locally. We loved it straight away; it originally had chocolate brown leather, but it was quite worn after a few years of usage. So, we decided to get it reupholstered, luckily while Tessa was still in business, and we chose a beautiful Tan leather. I personally love the matching armchairs.

The dining setting was a family hand me down. It's by the Danish designer Hans Olsen, and are quite rare these days. It is made for rosewood timber and I love the way the chairs are incorporated into the table; it is also extendable. We will one day get the table refurbished and the seat pads on the chairs reupholstered, but it is such a special piece and ties in really well with the Tessa lounge setting.

 

Being in lockdown and now working from home has anything in particular helped you through?

Yes definitely, I would say where Tom and I are living has helped so much. We are so lucky to be living so close to the bush, but also so close to the sea, so we have the perfect surrounding to create a calming environment.

Olive is the most recent addition to our household; she is our six-month old german shorthaired pointer (GSP) puppy. She has also been the best lockdown distraction ever; she definitely keeps us busy and active, that is for sure! I start my day by getting up and taking Olive for a big walk before I start work, and I need to do this without fail because otherwise she will have too much energy throughout the day! Tom and I usually take her to the park or a walk after work, and we can catch up on our day.

I also would say that making that distinction between work life and home life is very important; keeping a routine and separate office space, also making sure I switch off for the day, close my computer, tidy my desk, write a ‘to-do-list’ for work the next day.

I also make sure to get dressed semi-professional, well, more like a casual Friday, so some jeans, I do my hair, put on some jewellery, and I feel like I am ready to face the day!

 

I have to ask, what are your picks at Noel and Gladys?

Has to be your amazing range of local artist Ash Leslie's artworks; we have a couple in our home and they are just so special!! I love how artwork can be so complimentary to a space and really tie it together; we are wanting to build on our artwork collection, but we will take our time with this as we want to select pieces we love and that will tie in well with our existing space.

I also love your selection of books and ceramics; I have recently bought one of your ceramic candles and it is just divine! Apparel wise, one of my all-time favourite brands is Paloma Wool, so I was super excited when I saw you were stocking a selection of their pieces.

I love supporting Australian brands and makers, and all about shopping local!

Learn more about Nicole here and here.

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common people #34

hopie & lily, los angeles ca

Founded on the tradition of block printing in the vibrant world of Jaipur, sisters Hopie and Lily share with us what was once their little art project to now cult textiles brand leading the way in ethical textile manufacturing in India. The Block Shop Textiles lofted studio in Atwater Village is filled with bright colours and shapes a true depiction of their brand combined with their childhood loves in a grown up kinda way.

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COMMON PEOPLE #34

hopie & lily, los angeles ca

Founded on the tradition of block printing in the vibrant world of Jaipur, sisters Hopie and Lily share with us what was once their little art project to now cult textiles brand leading the way in ethical textile manufacturing in India. The Block Shop Textiles lofted studio in Atwater Village is filled with bright colours and shapes a true depiction of their brand combined with their childhood loves in a grown up kinda way.