Tour Natalie Fitch's Elegant and Minimal Avalon Oasis
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, designer Natalie Fitch, the founder of Natalie Marie Jewellery, welcomes us into her home, a sanctuary tucked away in the Sydney Northern Beaches suburb of Avalon.
Since launching Natalie Marie Jewellery in 2012, founder Natalie Fitch has established herself as one of Australia’s leading bespoke jewellery designers. Synonymous with sentiment, sustainability, and authenticity, Fitch crafts delicate, bespoke pieces that are at once striking and elegant.
Creatively, Natalie says she draws inspiration from her surroundings and within. And once you see the relaxed and yet refined aesthetic of her home, the context of her environment makes all the more sense.
A neutral colour palette of white and beige features throughout her light-filled coastal home, with Scandinavian-inspired oak pieces bringing a contemporary feel the space. In the kitchen and bathroom, brass finishings add an element of luxury to the crisp white subway tiling, whilst in the living room, a free-standing wood-burning fireplace introduces touch of rustic styling.
Soft white linen couches overflow with plush pillows, while potted palms inject pops of green into the bedroom’s lush colour scheme of peaches and cream. Carefully curated and enviously organised, Natalie’s home is a minimalist’s dream.
Hi Natalie! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Handmade, consciously created fine jewellery.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I have always been a maker. Ever since I was a young child I have been creating with my hands. I relate much better to tactile experiences than anything else. I am pragmatic and practical by nature and need a creative process to keep my mind in line.
When did you start creating jewellery? And what inspired you to go down this route in your career?
I studied a degree in Visual Arts, majoring in Jewellery at Sydney University, after moving to Australia from England in 2007. I had spent the two years prior travelling, and kept finding myself landing back in Sydney, so I decided to make the move to call it home. I was at a crossroads in both my life and studies, tossing up whether to go down a creative or more academic route with my degree. I am so glad I chose my heart's path, guided by my now-husband who encouraged me to take a risk and follow my gut.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I always designed from a more tactile, process-based methodology, letting the materials and the practice take the lead. This is really where the brand's aesthetic was born.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
To me, the most important thing in business is to maintain and nurture connections with people. Whether it's it suppliers or customers (or anyone we interact with as a business!) positive relationships are of the utmost importance. I always try to create work with integrity, originality and intention.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
One of the biggest challenges for me has been managing to establish a good work/life balance, especially since becoming a mother. Anyone who has started a business will know that it demands a significant investment of time, energy and dedication, and requires a great deal of sacrifice and commitment.
I threw myself wholeheartedly into the building of the business for many years, and it took a lot of discipline and trust for me to balance this back out with the equal amount of energy and dedication that is required when becoming a new mum.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
Building our team of 21 dedicated, passionate and talented people, who choose to spend their days pouring love and energy into our pieces and our customers. It’s very humbling to have these remarkable individuals show up every day with energy and positivity, bringing their all to make our business the best it can be.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to go out on their own?
Don’t be afraid of hard work, the more energy you invest the more positive the result.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
Almost two years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
We knew the moment we walked into the house—which looked nothing like it does now!
The biggest wins were the rare large plot, big garden and level walk to the beach and village. The house has ample space and big bedrooms with original charm and a fireplace. It felt like a home. We knew instantly that it was the one, and within 24 hours the sales agreement was in place.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We have done a lot of work on the house. We started by painting the entire place white, adding some tongue and groove to some of the walls to add texture, removing all the carpets and restoring the original floorboards, replacing the fireplace and installing a new kitchen. This was all done before we moved in.
Since then, we have renovated one of the two bathrooms, the garage/laundry and landscaped the front and back gardens. We have also replaced the exterior cladding and a handful of windows. We have been busy!
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
We live such busy lives, home is most definitely a retreat for us. We really wanted to create a home which felt like a place of calm, somewhere which is light and fresh with an open, airy feel. Its also a family home, we have two pets and a toddler, so creating a space that feels comfortable and functional was also really important.
What are your favourite pieces in your home?
I have several; Willa’s vintage Indian wardrobe, our custom Mr and Mrs White Atelier sideboard, and our Jordana Henry artwork, above our bed. We paced ourselves with furnishing and styling our home, trying to ensure every piece was really well considered for the long term. We also tried to select pieces which were consciously crafted, ideally locally.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I have my eye on a new artwork from Ash Holmes, I love her work.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The open plan living area is our favourite space. Whether it’s all opened up in summertime with a warm breeze flowing through, or in the depths of winter with a fire roaring, the living area is the centre of our home. It’s usually a mess, strewn with toys, with a dog snoring on the rug, a record playing and something cooking in the kitchen.
Tell us about your bedroom.
Our bedroom is where I snooze my alarm at least three times every day (if Willa hasn’t woken me before it goes off) before checking my emails on my phone (a bad habit), its where I sometimes manage to meditate or drink tea or read a book or take a nap (admittedly rarely), it’s also where everyone piles in on a Sunday morning while we argue about who has to get up to make the pancakes!
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Keep it simple, don’t over-do things, surround yourself with things that genuinely bring you happiness. Quality is key when it comes to a sleeping environment, we all spend so much time in bed, it's so worth investing in quality pillows and blankets as well as beautiful sheets.
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