Room One - Mid Century Inner West Dweller

Inspiration: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Designer: Umberta
Budget: $20,000
Collaborators: Collectika, Garden Life, Dan Hu, Blue Dog Posters, West Elm


Our designers are experts at finding creative interior design solutions for any space. Our recent ‘One Room, Three Ways’ project, a collaboration between designers and local suppliers, explored how even smaller budgets can have a big impact.  We spoke to Umberta, designer of the ‘Mid-Century Vintage’ room, about her inspiration and how to think outside the box with sustainable design.


What is your design background, and how did that lend itself to the creation of this room?

My design background starts in Italy, when I was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea with my family. Because of this amazing experience, I decided to study a Bachelor in Yacht Design. This degree taught me how to play with very small and tricky spaces, and gave me a good knowledge about timber and other materials. After that, I completed my Masters in Nautical Engineering. It was a very good experience because I learnt how to become precise and methodical.

Since coming to Australia, I have worked in the design field, drawing upon my previous studies. With this room, I had to think outside the box in terms of keeping my budget low, but not leaving the room looking bare. By looking at how small details can make a big impact, such as in yacht design, I was able to bring a fresh perspective to the style of this room.


Can you explain the concept behind this room, and how you were inspired?

I work from the position of sustainability. I want to change the way the design process happens, and make it better for the consumers and for our planet. This can be achieved by supporting small local business, choosing second hand pieces, sourcing green materials with low VOC, making sure that the timber that we buy is sustainably harvested, avoiding certain big-name brands that provide very low-quality pieces, yet sell for high prices. Often these pieces come from India or China and we know how it works. These people are paid nothing and the pieces are re-sold for stellar prices. The good news is that the world is becoming more aware about these matters and I am sure we can change the way things are and make them better! I approached this project with the same attitude. To use a small budget to create a big impact, not just on the space, but on the broader world.

I am inspired by handmade bespoke pieces, sustainable materials and locally made products. My idea is that design and beauty should be accessible to everyone and I wanted to demonstrate it choosing only second-hand pieces.


This was a collaborative project. Which suppliers and artists did you work with to create your room?

I styled the room in collaboration with Collectika, a vintage shop in Newtown that collects beautiful vintage pieces. As a designer, I am really focused on sustainability. One of the best ways to make this happen is to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Charming succulents from Garden Life. Posters from Blue Dog in Newtown and some amazing vinyl art from a local artist Dan Hu.


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At inCollective, we pride ourselves on matching you to the perfect designer to suit your style and budget.

If you are working with a smaller budget, or are interested in vintage design and sustainable concepts, get in touch with us here to find out how our designers can help you to create your ideal space.