Be inspired by bestselling author and stylist Sibella Court's new ideas for creating gorgeous spaces that reflect your own past adventures, interests and personality
“I am a treasure hunter, a beachcomber and a bowerbird,” declares Sibella Court, “I am a gypsy, a globetrotter and a explorer, but love to come home. I am lo-fi.”
She may be a celebrated international stylist, hip store owner and best-selling author of Etcetera and The Stylist’s Guide to NYC, but the Australian-born designer’s approach is remarkably low-key and achievable.
Sibella’s style philosophy is all about adding and subtracting, rearranging and recycling, transforming and rethinking a space to reflect your personality, your lifestyle and your adventures. “Make it organic and sustainable!” she encourages.
Her latest book, Nomad, is full of fresh ideas for arranging and displaying your mementos, travel souvenirs and memories. “It’s about using colour, installation and imagination to reveal your inspirations, nomadic spirit and your own personality,” Sibella says. “If you are unable to travel physically, you can still take journeys and be inspired via reading, movies, magazines, books and your general interests.”
Sibella often talks about being ‘lo-fi’ – a term that originates from the music and sound world, but which in Sibella’s world means being able to achieve, with inexpensive materials and casual abandon, a relaxed, livable and personalised space. It’s about furnishing your home with gorgeous things by upcycling – reclaiming, reusing and recycling to give old materials, furniture and products a new lease of life.
Sibella’s fabulously eclectic interiors work because they follow an internal order. For instance, she suggests working within a ten-colour palette. “I’ve found this to be the best starting point for decorating a space,” she says. “I don’t necessarily use every colour in the palette – I might only use a couple, but it creates a framework, giving me the freedom to play with the mood of a room, and ensure a unified theme.”
Achieving a fresh look can be as simple as creating an ‘art wall’, which you can then add and subtract from with postcards, invitations, photocopies of designs you like or pages torn from magazines. Put similar materials together, suggests Sibella, such as the metal mesh lampshade and metal postcard holder on page 66.
Other ways to inject style include growing new flowers in your window box, layering different textures on your bed, hanging a new piece of fabric over your window or changing the colour of your floor or walls. These are all things that exist in your current environment – it’s just a matter of seeing them in a new way.
Restyle and transform your home according to your recent inspirations, suggests Sibella. Her tableau above was inspired by a group of small islands off the Amalfi Coast – and the myth of Ulysses and the sirens. The interior on the right came from Sibella’s travels in India. Fabric remnants and woodblock print samples have been put to use as a chair cover and floor covering respectively, while photos in mismatched frames, typically found in Indian hotels and homes, adorn the painted exterior wall.
Extracted with permission from Nomad: Bringing your travels home by Sibella Court. Published by Murdoch Books/Allen & Unwin, $75. Available from bookstores now