Melbourne-based stylist and interior designer Simone Haag will take to the Monaro Mall stage this Saturday to share insights gleaned over her unconventional career journey from receptionist to furnishing some of Australia’s grandest homes. Before her visit we quizzed Simone about the sources of her inspiration, design faux pas and the smart way to shop.
“I discovered design in my teens through my first boyfriend’s mum because she was constantly remerchandising their house and I really admired how she put different pieces together,” explains Simone. “I started buying chairs from op shops and recovering them myself and, although when I look back now I realise they were awful, I think my desire to have a go was what helped me learn quickly about what works in a space and what doesn’t.”
Rather than a consultant or artist, Simone says she thinks of her role as most similar to that of a matchmaker. She continues: “I keep a mental catalogue of beautiful pieces that I’ve come across at trade fairs, in magazines, on social media or websites like Consort Home and 1stDibs, and then when I meet the perfect person for it a particular sofa or table will flash to the front of my mind.”
While Simone is well accustomed to styling houses for rich-listers, there is no element of snobbery about where she shops. She adds: “I love Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics, and sometimes you might be pairing a bespoke dining table worth thousands with affordable plateware from MUJI; and it just works.”
Simone’s current style obsessions include vintage Italian furniture, ceramics of every kind and glass sculpture, and she says she is excited to encounter members of Canberra’s buzzing design community having long been inspired by the city’s modernist architecture.
During the event Simone will explore the importance of have a design brief to shop to, even if it’s only for yourself, and will share some of her top picks from stores such as top3 by design and Bed Bath N’ Table. She also hopes to debunk the myth that enlisting a professional interior designer is something only the wealthy can do. “When you take into account the trade discount that a designer can draw on and the lessons they can teach you for the future, enlisting an expert isn’t necessarily a luxurious expenditure,” suggests Simone.
She will also talk through her guidelines for mixing colours and materials, as well as the key principles of scale and placement. As for the interior design mistake she encounters most often? “I’m a great believer that you should surround yourself with things you love and never settle, but many people restrict themselves to crappy decor because they have young children or pets,” she observes. “I’d rather get the sofa I really want now and then get it reupholstered in a few years than send one that I never really wanted to landfill.”
Don’t miss out – RSVP now for our special event with Simone Haag this Saturday 25 August.