Summer has well and truly landed on the Gold Coast and while we are still unable to travel internationally to picturesque locations such as the Greek islands and Ibiza, one talented lady has brought her beautiful international interior design and styling to us. Kelle Howard has been an interior designer and stylist since 2012 specialising in her minimalist raw, coastal and luxe style. After an encouraging 2020 where we saw Kelle embark on an epic furniture collaboration with Emma Sweeney and Matt Jamieson of Object X, she is now turning her attention to a busy 2021.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve lived in Burleigh for two years and also four years previously. When I was looking for a place to build Bajo el Sol, I knew there was no other place that I wanted my dream home to be.
What do you love most about living here?
I love the holiday atmosphere, there are so many incredible places to eat and socialise. I’m a typical Pisces and love being by the ocean.
Tell us about your career thus far.
I studied Interior Design in 2012 after the birth of my first child. I worked on projects locally, interstate and overseas and then I took a break for a few years whilst I focussed on being a full-time Mum. I decided to re-launch my business and solely focus on the aesthetic that I am renowned for – which I describe as raw, coastal, luxe. Over the past two years I have shared a lot of my journey on social media and I love the connection and community it brings to my work. I thrive on variety in my creative outlets and last year was so exciting because I had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects such as styling photoshoots, designing a limited edition bespoke furniture collection, magazine features, organised and co-hosted a Manifestation Workshop in Byron Bay and was a guest on several podcasts.
What’s your proudest business moment?
There have been so many highlights and I’m exceptionally proud of the collection I designed in collaboration with local designer furniture brand – Object X. From the very first meeting I knew that we would be able to design some truly unique pieces and I was given complete creative control to design the collection. Object X were an absolute dream to work with and I love every piece we created.
Tell us about your home Bajo el Sol Beach House.
Bajo el Sol is my interpretation of my love for European architecture with an Australian influence. I was designing a family home for myself and my two children so it needed to be functional as well as fit my raw, coastal, luxe style. I love to mix tactile elements together such as architectural concrete, render and venetian plaster, aged brass and raw timbers. I wanted to make sure that we used each space equally with no ‘wasted’ rooms. The house has received worldwide attention and it really does showcase my style as a designer. I love minimalism and prefer to let the architecture of a space be the feature rather than decor pieces. We feel so lucky to wake up here every day – having the opportunity to create my own home from my imagination was a dream.
Tell us about your collaboration with Object X.
I worked with Matt and Emma styling a shoot for their first Object X collection at my home which, at the time, was available to hire as a photoshoot location. A few months later we spoke about possibly collaborating on a collection together and we all agreed it was a perfect match. It was important to me that I was able to design pieces with little to no limitations and Object X were on board with trusting me with creative control on the design. I was inspired by natural elements, raw textures and curves and I wanted to create Objects that could work in various spaces. I designed the curvaceous bottoms to sit under table tops with organic, handmade shapes and Matt is a genius that could recreate the ideas that I had and bring them to life. The three of us had so much fun working together — which is paramount to any working relationship I have.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am heavily inspired by Ibizan architecture, raw textures, natural tones and fashion. I love taking elements from commercial spaces and translating them in a way that can function in a residential space also. I like to push the boundaries in terms of what a ’normal’ home should look like.
Any advice for someone wanting to get into interior design?
It may sound counter-productive but try not to pay too much attention to what other designers do. The few designers I do follow are because I am friends with them personally but I choose not to look at what everyone else is doing as I find it curbs my own creativity. Instead find other ways to be inspired and that way you can really hone in on your own vision and aesthetic that will help you stand out.
What’s in the works for your for 2021?
I would love to design some boutique apartments or a hotel! Working on multiple spaces and making them cohesive but unique is something I am very passionate about. I am currently mentoring two up-and-coming Interior Designers so I would love to continue that this year also. I plan on purchasing an apartment in the next few months and documenting the renovation again and sharing the process on social media the same way I did for Bajo. I am open to any opportunities that come may way which align with my core desired feelings – free, alive, connected.
How does your weekend usually look?
It varies whether I am with my kids or not, and no two weekends are the same. But I usually wake around 6am and enjoy a slow morning at Bajo. I love making time for the Burleigh to North Burleigh Walk before it gets too hot, or we head to Nippers, hang out at Echo Beach, I love to eat out at Bonita Bonita, Hail Mary or Light Years and afternoon drinks at Burleigh Pavilion. If I can squeeze in a massage on James Street at some point, even better!