The Sunroom co-founder’s coastal abode is a tranquil paradise.
Michelle Battersby’s Sunny Apartment in Santa Monica Embraces Indoor-Outdoor Living
The Sunroom co-founder’s coastal abode is a tranquil paradise.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour designer and artist Michelle Battersby's light and airy apartment in Santa Monica, Los Angeles.
After leading the major success of Bumble and KIC, Michelle and her business partner Lucy Mort worked together to co-found the innovative app, Sunroom. The app gives women and non-binary people a platform to create content and earn money away from the constraints of traditional media like Instagram and Facebook.
Michelle thrives off of the success of the creators she brings onto the Sunroom platform “I love teaching new creators about the app & listening to their stories and needs. To then nurture that relationship for a month or so, help them get set up on the platform and come up with their launch strategy is so rewarding!” she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
Born and raised in Australia, Michelle now resides in the coastal city of Santa Monica in Los Angeles. Her modern apartment is bathed in natural light that illuminates the clean lines, organic materials, and soothing colours within.
Jute rugs, natural timber, and White Linen are key design elements in Michelle’s home. Lush indoor plants are peppered throughout her space, complementing the array of organic materials that furnish her home. Michelle’s home evokes a sense of peace and serenity. “For me I just want my home to feel like a sanctuary away from work.” she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
To align with the soothing aesthetic that the rest of her home boasts, Michelle opts for an Olive Duvet Cover and Pillowcases, and a Sage Sheet Set to invite a sense of tranquillity into her sleep sanctuary.
Michelle’s apartment, with its spacious outdoor areas, reflects a love of entertaining and the relaxed West Coast lifestyle. These alfresco spaces feature views of the mountainous Los Angeles skyline and make for the perfect settings for convivial gatherings.
We were lucky enough to step inside Michelle’s light and airy Santa Monica home, and spoke to her about her business Sunroom, her daily routine, and any upcoming projects on the horizon.
Hi Michelle! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Sunroom, an app for women and non-binary creators to make money and connect intimately with their most loyal supporters.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I’m obsessed with seeing people's perceptions change. I like topics that are a little controversial and then finding ways to make them easy to digest to a mainstream audience. How can you portray something potentially jarring as palatable…if you can master that you can involve more people in conversations & that’s why I love brand marketing and building brands around a greater purpose.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Not at all. I was lost and unsure of my purpose like so many others. I had no idea what my passions were, no idea where I would end up - I still don’t know where I will end up but I am all about exploration, eliminating the “maybes”, allowing yourself to try and fail, then try again. When good opportunities come your way, take them - that has always been my approach and I feel it’s led to many doors opening for me.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I don’t have a particular process, my work and the nature of a start up requires constant experimentation and demands you’re agile and don’t get too caught up on any one thing. So I suppose my process is to not beat around the bush, don’t overthink, don’t over engineer, execute quickly, monitor the results intently then decide to double down, iterate or abandon.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Never close yourself off to opportunity.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
Probably two things! Being referred to Whitney Wolfe Herd the CEO and Founder of Bumble. It was 2016 and she was looking for someone to lead the market expansion into Australia. That introduction changed the course of my career and showed me how it felt to work on something you really care about. The second thing is my now co-founder Lucy Mort contacting me at just the right moment, at a time when I was really scared about what would come next for me – I was beginning to explore creating my own business but I was also feeling really run down from 2020 starting to question my decisions, she presented me with an opportunity that ended up being another life changing one.
I like topics that are a little controversial and then finding ways to make them easy to digest to a mainstream audience.
- Michelle Battersby
After a busy day of running a successful business, how do you wind down and prepare for the day ahead?
I am really into reading at the moment, it’s such a good way to decompress and let your mind escape away from technology. It’s become an evening habit for me.
What advice would you give women and non-binary creators who are hesitant to begin utilising monetisation platforms?
Traditionally, creators have only had two ways to make money - brand deals or ad revenue share agreements. Both of those options are often inconsistent and unreliable, many creators also end up working with brands whose products they don’t use or brands that don't align with their values. Many risk losing authenticity. If you’re a creator with an audience who love what you do and want to support you, or you’re someone with knowledge or gossip you know people would pay to access, building a membership option is a way to earn reliable income, whilst not having to depend on brand partnerships. On Sunroom, it also ends up being a place where you can speak more freely and not have to deal with trolls or censorship.
You used to work for Bumble, how has working in the social media space for a long time affected how you approach your work today?
I think social media is such a huge part of our lives, I’d be spending the same amount of time on it even if I did not work in space. But I suppose having to use social media for work so consistently has sucked the fun out of it for me. I don’t feel as inspired to create my own content or engage with others as I spend so much time operating those platforms for different reasons, like to hunt for creators and pitch them on Sunroom.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
A little over a year.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
The view is spectacular. I was desperate to feel like I was living in a very different place to Australia so I needed to be surrounded by the mountains and be able to witness LA’s beautiful sunset each day. The light is also incredible.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
Honestly, light and breezy - a slight nod to LA with the cactuses and that’s about it!
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
I’m not sure if they’re captured in the images but I brought trinkets from Australia that have sentimental value to me. There are cement elephants from a trip to Sri Lanka I took with a colleague of mine to celebrate everything we’d achieved together at Bumble. An Iron Fairy from Hong Kong when I was launching Bumble into the market from my favourite bar called “The Iron Fairy” (an absolute must visit), there is a tiny message in a bottle my old team gave to be around happiness. A Charlie Macksey print my sisters gave me. I felt like I needed to be surrounded by small things that remind me of where I’ve come from as opposed to bigger ticket items!
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I am obsessed with Mushroom shaped lamps and I really want a Dina Broadhurst print.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The outdoor areas are so great for LA living and entertaining.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
For me I just want my home to feel like a sanctuary away from work. I love dim lighting, candles and incense. I often play meditation soundtracks to pull myself out of whatever headspace I’ve been in at work and make the house feel like a spa. It should be your safe space to just be so I also don’t put any pressure on myself to keep spaces immaculate, I let myself relax - sometimes that means being a bit of a slob, other times it means dinner parties.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
The most exciting thing in my life right now is bringing new creators onto Sunroom. I love teaching new creators about the app and listening to their stories and needs. To then nurture that relationship for a month or so, help them get set up on the platform and come up with their launch strategy is so rewarding! It’s a bit of a rinse and repeat for now but each time a new creator comes on and makes bank I feel great.