I first entered the world of Justine Hugh-Jones about four years ago. Her Sydney home was the location for a decorating feature I styled for Real Living magazine. It was one of those houses that had the whole crew looking around in admiration. I’ve never forgotten the kitchen or bathroom. The former for its custom-made island bench standing proud like a piece of furniture and the latter for Moroccan herringbone terracotta brick tiles. Since then I have interviewed Justine several times for various features on design and decorating. She always has something insightful and interesting to add. The spaces that she creates strike the perfect balance between style and functionality. They are beautiful timeless rooms that you want to live in - not just admire. The images above are from Justine's home in Sydney. The portrait was taken in a home she designed for a client.

Which five words best describe you? Real, calm, hedonistic, visual and perfectionist.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied international business at university in France and London then started work for British Airways marketing the First Class brand which ignited a furious passion for traveling ,style and design. Three years living in the elegant city of Hamburg in Germany opened my eyes to Northern European design and culture. Here my career in interior design began as an intern with an interior designer decorating and painting old beautiful merchant houses. After further study in decorative arts and and interior design in London I moved to Sydney and 10 years ago started my own interior design business. I started with my first job for a friend of a friend, pretending I knew everything. And guess what? I'm still learning! 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Always trust your first instinct on everything. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Shortlisted for best residential house for Belle magazine interior design awards 2013. 

What’s been your best decision? Sounds predictable and, yes, corny but an easy answer. Marrying and having two boys with the man I love. 

Who inspires you? People who infect you with their amazing energy, talent, humour and warmth.

What are you passionate about? I start off being passionate about my design concepts and vision and that's undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of my job. But then I have to focus that passion towards all the people I come into contact with during the course of each project. I feel it's about 50 per cent design and then honestly the rest is how you deal with people. It's such a psychological job that you have to love people to do well. Starting with the client and, of course, their family and friends, the architect, the builder and all their different trades, all your varying suppliers, your colleagues, the delivery companies, your Instagram followers... It’s such a people job and, I must admit, I'm as passionate about all of them as I am about design otherwise I couldn't do my job well. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? This is such an easy question for me. It just has to be my beautiful big sister Debra who died when she was only 22 and I was 17. What a lot we would have to catch up on. 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? A house abundantly full of beautiful artworks. 

What are you reading? Garden Life by Richard Unsworth.

images courtesy of justine hugh-jones; house shots nicky ryan; portrait nick scott