Life took a swift turn for Jillian Middleton when she landed in New York in early 2000. After falling in with the interior styling crowd, she became the assistant for Carlos Mota (interviewed here), who is currently Architectural Digest’s international style editor and the former editor-at-large for Elle Decor. Her work with him included creating events and styling the pages of The New York Times Magazine. But even up until then Jillian had been  busy in interiors in Sydney. She started off with work experience with Adelaide Bragg and Gretel Packer, which lead to work with Deanne Rooz, and setting up her own interior design business. Jillian worked across a range of projects from penthouse suites to residential blocks and hotel fitouts. She also designed the interiors for restaurants such as Otto and Chicane. When she returned to live in Australia, she relocated to the far north coast and is now based in Byron Bay, where she continues to work on design projects. However, Jillian also lives for about five months a year in Bali, where she creates large-scale pendants for her clients. She has now turned this into the business Gypset Cargo.

Which five words best describe you? Spontaneous, creative, dynamic, happy, genuine.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started with work experience and then I studied and worked for Deanne Rooz in Bellevue Hill Sydney. She is a wonderful interior designer who is still working today. I have stayed a decorator and have branched into my own lighting/product range/brand.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To be honest and firm. Don’t cover up: say it like it is and always fix what you can.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably styling the den at grand Central Station for Eddie Baur clothing in NYC.

What’s been your best decision? My tea-cup maltese toy poodle, Dana Doodle! Ah, seriously? Well, that is serious but remaining true to myself always.

Who inspires you? My best friend David Katon, best architect ever.

What are you passionate about? Yoga, holistic views and healing. Art. The ocean. Music. Fashion.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My lil' brother. He died when he was five and a half years old.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Morocco, India, South America, Mexico, Turkey, Spain. Still lots to see for me.

What are you reading? The Power of Now by Ekhart Toll.

images courtesy of jillian middleton