At Home with Michelle Hart
Welcome to KAS' new blog series 'At Home'. Each week we will be chatting with interior designers, innovators and influencers to take you into their home and finding out how they get their home inspiration. This week we are talking to interior decorator Michelle Hart from Bask Interiors.
Could you give a little intro into who you are and your career so far?
My name is Michelle Hart and I am an interior stylist and the founder of Bask Interiors. I’m based in Melbourne and love helping clients create inspired and mindful homes that are both beautiful and functional to live in.
When did you start your business? And can you tell us a bit about your journey to owning your own interior decorating and styling business?
I started my business 9 years ago along with a business partner and together we ventured into the world of property styling and also opened up a pop up retail store selling homewares, art and giftware. The pop up store was only meant to have been opened for 10 weeks but went so well we stayed for 10 months.
Around 5 years ago I continued the business on my own, rebranded and decided then that I wanted to focus on interior styling and decorating homes people were living in rather than styling properties for sale. My business has evolved over the five years to where I am now.
What is your top advice for anyone starting out in the interior styling business?
If you have both the passion and a good eye for styling then go for it! You can either do this by studying or by experience or both. Always be open to new opportunities, find a great mentor and collaborate or network with other like minded businesses you can share and learn from. Practice styling your own home, or friends or family to build a portfolio and then get yourself on social media and invest in a good website.
Also look at getting yourself a good accountant and also a solicitor for all your legal and accounting set up, then take the plunge!
Have you always wanted to work in a creative space?
I think after my kids started school I was really longing for something more creative to do, so it was perfect timing to start up a business.
What does your normal day look like?
Pre covid I would get up, check and respond to some emails, go out and walk the dog, then do a pilates class or visit clients or suppliers for work then come back to the office and continue working for the afternoon if I had finished client appointments. If I hadn’t done an exercise class in the morning, I would do one in the late afternoon before organising dinner for the family.
Talk us through the process of how you work with clients. Where do you start?
I usually start with a quick phone call after an email enquiry and then an initial meeting or consultation which I prefer to do at the client’s home. This is where we discuss the brief before I go off and start putting together concepts and sourcing products / colours / fabrics to suit their home. I present to them my ideas based on our initial consultation and we work together on selections from there, whether that is visiting showrooms and talking them through how things will all work together cohesively.
Now onto the home questions, how long have you lived in your home?
Around 5 years
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We did a new build so no changes or renos required.
How would you describe the style you have chosen to run with throughout your home?
Australian contemporary with touches of Scandinavian influence
How did you choose the initial colour palette for your home?
I kept it quite monochrome in the base colours and fixtures and accent colours in the soft furnishings and bed linen have changed over the five years depending on what I’m drawn to at the time so everything works back to a neutral base
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
Style with pieces you love, that are meaningful to you, with colour, shape, pattern and texture to bring interest to each space. It should tell a story about the people living there and feel warm and inviting. I always wanted a relaxed home, so things needed to be comfortable for everyday living.
What has been your favourite space to style in your home?
I enjoy styling my bedroom as it is a place that you can really change the look and feel of easily with some simple things like bed linen, cushions, art, decor and lamps.
Whatare your favourite pieces in your home?
I have some artworks that are treasured pieces and a ceramic collection I am attached to!
Did you find a particular space in your home a challenge to style? If so, why?
Probably the entry/hallway as it doesn’t get a lot of natural light and it isn’t that wide so it took a bit of thinking to have it set up in a way that was both practical and also aesthetically pleasing since it is the first thing you see as you step inside.
What are your go-to tips for someone that wants to add a bold print or colour to a living space?
I would say to use your bold colours and prints in your soft furnishings and decor items as this is usually where people tend to go for “on trend” colour themes that may change from year to year. This means cushions, throws, vases, trinkets can be swapped out or added so you can easily change the look of your living space each season without breaking the budget.
Do you have any tips on how to transform a living space to become more family-friendly?
I always try to specify fabrics for furniture that are family friendly and used for commercial grade applications, this means any spills or accidents can be cleaned up easily.
I also like to use furniture like coffee tables that are round so there are no sharp edges and rugs with mottled colour and texture to hide any mishaps. Accessories like cushions and throws don’t need to be expensive so that that can be changed easily and then your home feels like it isn’t too precious but a place for everyone to live in quite comfortably.
Do you have an essential item/object that you think everyone should include somewhere in their interior styling?
Indoor plants for sure, artwork and vases in different shapes and sizes and textures. That was more than one item sorry!
Now we know you're a mum of two, what are your top tips when it comes to styling a kids bedroom?
I think it’s important for your kids bedrooms to reflect their personalities or their own personal interests. That way it feels like their bedrooms are their own special sanctuaries that they are comfortable living in. This is more important as they start growing up and having a sense of their own identities.
They should be involved and have input for instance in colours they would like to see in their room, bedding choice, artwork and some furniture pieces they want to have in their rooms.