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!
They are one of the Gold Coast’s most creative and innovative couples and soon Emma Sweeny and Matt Jamieson will be launching their brand new collection for Object X. The Australian label approaches furniture as art, mixing form, functionality and mood to create covetable pieces that will make a statement in any space.
We sat down for a chat with Emma and Matt about the new collection launch and why these pieces are unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
We have lived on the Gold Coast for 10 years and have been together for the past two. The life we have recently created is one that ensures we don’t plan on leaving any time soon. We’ve just purchased a house in Miami, which we plan to renovate, or as Matt likes to say “rendervate”, over the next year.
What do you love most about living here?
We are fun, energetic, easy going people who love life and the Gold Coast is the perfect place for our lifestyle. We have an incredible network of friends here and enjoy the social life that comes with that. We’re also very spoilt to be just a stone’s throw from some of the region’s most pristine beaches.
Tell us about your new venture Object X, how did it come about?
Object X is a new Australian label that approaches furniture as art, mixing form, functionality and mood to create covetable pieces that will make a statement in any space. Our furniture is technical in execution but adventurous in approach. We believe in the emotive attributes of everyday objects and designing pieces that are versatile, durable and timeless. Matt is the visionary artist behind the in-demand, high-end rendering business, Render X, while I lead the charge at my Gold Coast based boutique agency, In The Game PR. Earlier this year, feeling the pull to seek out undiscovered terrain, Matt found himself channelling his creative energy and expertise into handcrafting rendered furniture not seen anywhere else. With encouragement from me, Object X was born. Every Object X piece is impeccably handmade to order at our Gold Coast studio with care and precision, using only the highest quality materials. Our Italian Venetian plaster is durable, luxurious, sustainable and safe.
How do you come up with ideas for new pieces?
We both have a keen eye for design and dream up the creative concept behind each piece together. Drawing on Matt’s affection for experimentation and pushing artistic boundaries, the inaugural collection we launched in Spring can be customised in colour and finish to match our customers’ personal style. We’re so excited to be launching our first collaboration with Gold Coast based Interior Designer, Kelle Howard on 1 December. If there’s anyone that knows how to make a statement, it’s Kelle. We’ve long admired Kelle’s work and her innate ability to transport us to exotic seaside destinations with her raw coastal luxe style. This collection is like nothing else you’ve ever seen. Think raw, textured finishes, an earthy palette and exaggerated curves of bold proportions. It’s jaw-dropping!
You’re both passionate about design, where does that passion come from?
For as long as we’ve known each other, we’ve been drawn to design, interiors, architecture and fashion. Object X is the culmination of many years honing our style and identifying a gap in the market for tables that make a statement and can be customised in colour and finish to match the interior of a client’s home.
What’s unique about Object X pieces?
We’re creating one of a kind, locally handmade pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. A customer can sit down with Matt or walk him through their living and dining spaces, show him fabric swatches, paint samples, inspiration boards and discuss textural finishes. Together, they’ll design a signature statement piece completely unique to that customer. We believe in thoughtful, sustainable, bespoke furniture. Nothing you see from us will ever be mass produced.
You’ve created spaces for some internationally renowned brands, do you have a favourite and how did it come together?
Through his company Render X, Matt has executed inspiring spaces for architectural luxury homes and brands such as Dior, Hardy Brothers, Sabo Skirt, Palm Springs Cafe, Rick Shores and The Block, to name a few. Every project brings unique challenges and a chance for Matt to flex his creative muscles.
Will Object X pieces work with any decorative scheme?
Absolutely! And the best part is we can customise the colour and finish of our core range of products to fit a customer’s personal style and interior aesthetic. Bringing your creative vision to life through careful consultation and a meticulous approach to our craft, is where we really shine.
What does 2021 hold for you and the business?
As the saying goes, the sky is the limit. We see more collaborations with local talent, our furniture line expanding, wholesale becoming a big part of our business and our statement pieces featured in magazine editorials. We’d love Object X to become a global name revered by style conscious individuals, interior designers, stylists and magazine editors all over the world.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant for dinner: Our top three picks for dinner on the Gold Coast would have to be Rick Shores, Lupo and The Tropic.
Coffee spot: We’re regulars at No Name Lane. Not only do they do great coffee, but the service is impeccable too.
Cafe for breakfast: We love starting our day at Commune. I can’t go past the Coriander Corn Fritters, while Matt’s favourite on the breakfast menu is Breakfast Burrito.
How does your weekend usually look: When we’re not working on one of our three businesses, Object X, Render X and In the Game PR, you’ll find us lapping up the Gold Coast’s glorious weather at one of the region’s pristine beaches, catching up with friends or dining out at one of our favourite locals.
Nobody needs to tell you that summer has absolutely arrived on the Gold Coast in the last few days but since we have the floor, let us make it known, these stifling days are here to stay.
And since there’s no way to escape to say Southern California for a sweet little sojourn, a few clever local lads have brought Southern California to you via a sweet new eatery that’ll make you forget you’re melting every time you step outside.
It’s called Palm Springs Café and it is indeed reminiscent of the city found with the Coachella Valley, dotted with palm trees and known for it’s pastel hues and lowset mid-century modern architecture. It’s one of our absolute fave places in the world and so we are absolutely thrilled to introduce you to this newbie.
Found on a corner block between Burleigh Heads and Miami (a Queenslander previously occupied by Siam Orchid), Palm Springs Café is a fresh, double storey space all rendered whites with a cactus garden and peach umbrellas throughout the street-facing outdoor space.
Inside it’s an Insta-dream come true with arched windows, white tiled floors, terrazzo tabletops and splashes of pastel green. Famed photographer Slim Aarons’ poolside snaps line the walls and you’ll find a few more cacti throughout.
The coffee bar is a round-edged masterpiece, all layered and beautiful and begging to be touched. Round pendant lights hang in clusters from the ceiling and look, it’s aesthetically perfect if you ask us.
The idea behind the café is a little different from the norm, with said Southern Cali vibes taking over the menu too. Excitingly, there’ll be brunch cocktails on offer at all times and see, it won’t take much to forget that heat.
To eat, you’ll probably want to get involved in everything but let’s chat about a couple of dishes. The Cali Breakfast Burrito is a must with chorizo sausage, egg, cheddar cheese, avocado salsa, black beans and pickled jalapeno. Three please.
There’s also a Bacon and Egg Burger but not as you know it; with American bacon, fried egg, provolone cheese, potato hash and chipotle mayo on a milk bun. Yep. If bacons’ not your thing, there’s a halloumi version too.
Nourish Bowls are a good time too – there’s the Palms Wholesome Bowl with black bean hummus, brown rice, tomato salsa, house pickles, charred corn, avocado, a soft-boiled egg and mojo dressing. You can add teriyaki salmon to that too.
To drink, there’s Therefore Coffee, out of Tweed Heads (a very good drop), all of the alternative latte varieties, cold-pressed juices and of course, cocktails. Bloody Mary’s, an array of Margaritas and an Espresso Martini grace the menu, as well as pink gin and soda cans.
It’s perfect for a Sunday (or any) morning sip and honestly, it’s everything we Gold Coasters have been waiting for.
Palm Springs Café opens Friday 20th November and you should be very happy about it.
LOCATION: Cnr Gardenia Grove and Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 6.30am until 2.30pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith