Every now and then there comes along a feature in real living that I can't stop looking at. I pore over every detail. It usually is from a home. The last time I felt this way was when we featured Kim Ficaro's place [I interviewed her here]. This time it's the home of Kirsten Bookallil. It's not a "look at me" home - in fact, that's probably why I like it so much. I think to create an understated yet sophisticated space is harder than to make rooms or sections of them pop. It has a grown-up feel, without being stuffy. It shouldn't come as a surprise, though, to those who know Kirsten and her work. She regularly styles for magazines, including Gourmet Traveller, and was one of the talents behind the look of the 30 Days of Home & Entertaining house.
Which five words best describe you? Synchronicity, serendipity, inquisitive, aesthetic and ordered.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? I studied graphic design at Enmore TAFE, but my first job was actually as a fashion PR. During that period I started a handbag label called Mima, which kept me occupied and aesthetically pleased for long enough to make me realise I wanted to be a stylist, which is what I find myself doing now.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Respect those above you and below you – they often swap.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I don't have a pivotal or defining moment. But having said that, I'm happy with my career as a whole – I'm satisfied by the way I've juggled family and life to create a career that suits me perfectly.
What’s been your best decision? To pursue jobs based on how interesting they are and not what they pay.
Who inspires you? I'm constantly inspired, usually by people who have an interesting direction or vision. Creative thinking comes in so many forms for me – typography, a poem, drawing or photograph. We can be inspired by the most simplest of things that we see daily, to the extraordinary landscape of travelling.
What are you passionate about? Peonies, hotel beds, long baths and Scrabble.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would love to have met Little and Big Eddie from Grey Gardens, they epitomise the old world grandeur with that crazy old lady attitude!
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To juggle. And to live in Tuscany and make tomato sauce grown from my own garden.
What are you reading? I always read two books at a time – I need the diversity. At the moment, I'm reading What I have loved - Siri Hustvedt and Arlington Park - Rachel Cusk.
images courtesy of real living, mikkel vang and kirsten bookallil