house of orange's ursula van schoonhoven

The Collector Store in Sydney's Surry Hills is great for finding unique homewares. This is where I discovered House of Orange. The designs are beautiful in their simplicity, and play homage to the European heritage of Ursula and Hans van Schoonhoven. The business was actually established four years ago in Melbourne.

Which five words best describe you? Optimistic, resilient, creative, open minded and lucky.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My arts background, and northern European heritage (Finnish mum and Dutch father) enabled me to, live and work in the Netherlands for a decade with a stint in radio and I fell into my love of interiors when I met my Dutch husband in Amsterdam where together we ran an auction house and a homewares business from a gorgeous little shopfront in the Jordaan district. The influence of Dutch design and style has been enormous - leading us to starting the House of Orange brand in a small laneway warehouse here in Melbourne four years ago.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Doing what you love attracts good energy and likeminded people into your life which in turn always seems to cancel out the insecure environment of working for yourself.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Having a six-week-old daughter and starting a new business (which is now House of Orange).
What’s been your best decision? To go out on a limb and start creating our own line of furniture based entirely on the lack of solid, clean, quiet-affordable design in this part of the world.
Who inspires you? On a daily basis my husband with his lateral, gutsy and practical approach to problem solving and life. Stylist Deb McLean with her blog Busy being fabulous is the most inspiring individual I’ve met in the past five years - she is so trend forward it’s scary! And my mum who is the original Scandinavian design queen and gets interiors right in the most natural way of anyone I know.
What are you passionate about? In the world of interiors - generally (seemingly) modest things like good lighting and good floors. Belgian architects, Dutch interior magazines, the many shades of blue and grey.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I wouldn’t mind sharing a bottle of wine with Oscar Wilde.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Without a doubt this would be to build a house together with Hans - many houses together! And then trademark them.
What are you reading? Just finished By nightfall by one of my favourite authors of recent times Michael Cunningham, and wish I could read it all over again for the first time; it was so beautiful.

images courtesy of house of orange