Meet the designer: Hayley

Interior designer Hayley lives in Dover Heights, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, with her friend Kristen and her sweet cat, Vintage.

Her apartment is meticulously curated, but what really sets it apart is the creative use of space. Here’s how Hayley set up a bright, sprawling home in a technically small space.. 

When you found the apartment, how did you know it was "the one”?

It was a combination of things actually -  it was the layout of the apartment that gave my flatmate and I our own privacy at either end of the house with a central kitchen and lounge room. It was the proximity to the ocean and cliff walks around Dover Heights. I love to go for walks and generally get around from A to B by foot whenever I can. And it was the aspect of the apartment and it's access to both sunlight and daylight. Daylight is south-facing aspect and great for natural light, but North/North-Eastern aspect sunlight streaming through the window is so precious for health and wellbeing. It’s also delightfully quiet here by the sea.

For a small apartment, what are your rules of thumb for choosing a sofa that’s the right scale?

Well you need to know which wall it’s going to go on (usually only one wall can handle a sofa in a small apartment.) You need to get a tape measure out and take a measurement of the wall, then set about finding a sofa that fits. If you’re having something made then  you can customise the size to be longer or shorter than a standard size, but be mindful about how you want to use the couch in addition to scale. For me, I was desperate to have a plush loungey couch I could relax and read a book on or watch a movie on so I chose a locally made couch with a chaise and feather-stuffed back cushions for greater comfort and slouch look.

Tell us about that great woven African piece?

I fell in love with this piece when I originally moved to Bondi a few years ago. It’s from Design Hunter in Bronte, and it’s a fair trade piece woven by Atoore in Ghana, Africa. For me it tells a story about the vibrancy of beach-living and sunshine. 

How did your cat get her name?

Vintage is black tortoise shell (notoriously cheeky by nature) and she looked like a vintage walnut veneer sideboard I used to own! Most of the time she’s called Vinnie, which still has retro connotations after the recycled clothing stores.

What is your tip for hanging art? 

Centre of the artwork to be at eye level. But then, I’m really tall, so maybe say 1550 high to centre of the artwork.

What do you cook at home?

I love tapas actually, anything I can put on a platter and share, and mix together on a plate with company (and wine!)

Do you have a favourite spot in the apartment?

Yes, I’m very lucky to have a north-east facing sunroom at my end of the apartment, it’s sunny all day long. Gorgeous first thing in the morning and on a winter arvo. I hang prisms in the window to throw rainbows. Great Feng Shui! 

You have a beautiful Double Bass? What is the story there?

Well I was a classical and Jazz bass player in my previous life before design. I love having it out as part of the furniture these days now that I don't really play anymore. Playing music is something I feel really proud of and its a lovely reminder of my past. Any musical instrument looks great in an interior scheme and a double bass is a particularly grand statement!

This sunroom is so sweet and cosy, do you have any tips for getting it right?

My sunroom is my dressing room, I love it! I have breakfast here every morning and on the weekend have quite a few cups of tea in the cosy corner. This room is all about the view and the sunshine streaming in, so I’ve just got a comfy chair in the corner to look out to the view and soak up the rays.

Your eyeshadow is always so fun and colour-bold. Are you a big fan of colours? 

Haha, thanks! Well you can take the girl out of Queensland but you can’t take the Queensland out of the girl! I just love colour and will wear and use colour on any occasion! Eyelids included! maybe my African weave is testament to that. 

Have you got any tips on choosing colours?

Colour is such a personal thing. I use it because it resonates with me personally, but I do understand it’s not for everyone or every interior. I’d say that choosing colours is as important as choosing any other element of an interior scheme. I would say not to be afraid of it though. When you get it right, colour is as timeless as that work of art of that piece of furniture.