Alex Bennett is an interior designer based in Byron Bay, who also happens to be a beautiful friend of mine. She is one of those people who has a great energy and is always a joy to be around. A very nurturing mum of two kids, she is married to her best friend and together they have just finished renovating their dream home. We couldn’t wait to shoot this one for the Journal, it is so full of interesting details and design features. We spent a morning at home with Alex, talking all things interiors, project work and style.
Tell us what it was like growing up in Byron? How do you feel about the way our town has changed in recent years?
Growing up in Byron was beautiful; I moved away to study but felt compelled to return and raise my children here as it’s just such a magical place. Byron has experienced significant growth over the years which I see as a positive for the most part as it welcomes lots of interesting people and creative businesses.
Can you share with us a lesser known gem around Byron Bay?
I love going up to Mavis’s Kitchen at Mount Warning for a late lunch and the kids love to have a run around on the grass.
Can you share a bit about the design process of your new beautiful home? There seem to be so many well-thought out details.
The house was an 80’s brick home with arches for two garage entries – which inspired and motivated us to work with its existing structure. To be honest we did underestimate the work involved in integrating the new and the old effectively. It required a lot of attention to detail in terms of materials used and choices in fixtures and fittings throughout.
We really wanted to create a solid, neutral family home which could be our base for years of growth and change.
How would you describe your home’s architecture & interior style?
The architecture of our home is quite urban which likely evolved from consideration of the old brick house and how best to add onto this in terms of shape and materials to use. Our architects were fantastic; we worked with Those Architects.
For the interior I wanted to create a soft but solid feel throughout with lots of different textures and warm neutral tones. The space strongly reflects our family’s style and was designed around how we like to live; pared back with lots of open space, natural light and comfy nooks. We have filled the space with the works of local talented creatives pieces which I think really enhances the warmth of the house.
Name your three favourites designers right now.
Artist: Bobby Clark
Home furnishings: Pampa, of course!
Clothes: Zulu and Zephyr
You used to own Bask and Stow before this, tell us what it was like running a small boutique hotel in Byron?
It was such a chaotic and special time…. Creating and designing the guest house, developing the brand, and meeting and collaborating with amazing guests and brands. We felt truly blessed at how the business was received locally and throughout Australia. I literally ran everything from my phone with two small children in tow so it was a busy few years with very little rest.
What is your favourite part of working on an interiors project with a client?
I really love the entire process! The final install of all the pieces and the client’s excitement and pride in their space which follows is the most rewarding. There is a lot of back and forth on pieces throughout the selection process and these items are going to be key parts of people’s living spaces or businesses. Because of this we tend to develop a close, comfortable and honest relationship, which I always find a real privilege.
Can you share a piece of advice you might give to a client who is about to embark on making their home or decorating their dream space?
Keep it simple and do it right the first time even if it means waiting…
Trust the process and overall vision as even if it may seem as though I am showing you pieces that may look like a lot of pieces with little cohesion, when they all come together at the install it is really special.
Where are you looking for interiors inspiration at the moment?
Most of my inspiration comes from pieces I see by particular designers and makers. If I connect with the piece my mind always runs with the many ways I could use it in a project.
You have this incredible energy and always seem to be one step ahead. What is your next project?
We are working on a rural project …. I can’t give too much away at the moment though, but watch this space….
See more of Alex’s work here
Photos & Words: Victoria Aguirre
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