Tour Talisa Sutton's Minimalist Inner City 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, we head to the impeccably curated home of Talisa Sutton. It is no exaggeration to say that the designer and editor is one of Australia’s best-dressed women, whose pared-back style amalgamates Scandi-chic, French girl effortlessness and relaxed Australiana, which is how we'd describe her home aesthetic, too. A true multi-hyphenate, Sutton juggles creative work at Badlands, the design studio she co-founded with her husband Rohan; editing their fashion and lifestyle magazine Badlands Journal; and producing content for her 100,000+ Instagram followers, who like her every ensemble. Then, of course, is her newest role as a mother to her four-month-old daughter, Lúa Rain. It's a wonder how Sutton found time to chat, never mind, generously show us around her light, art-filled oasis.
For most of their adult lives, Talisa Sutton and her husband Rohan lived in Potts Point. Here, just a few minutes removed from the main drag of King’s Cross, was a suburb full of everything the pair valued: good coffee, great restaurants, and within spitting distance of all the best parts of Sydney. But when thinking about setting down roots as a family, the pair (plus dog Truffles) decided to look in the inner-east suburb of Kensington. Here, they found a ground floor garden apartment tucked into the leafy corner between Zetland and Moore Park with plenty of golden morning light. With lashings of white paint applied to the floorboards and walls, Sutton has created the perfect blank canvas for the kind of effortless and yet cosy aesthetic so many of us crave when it comes to interior design.
Hi Talisa! This series is called The Makers. What is it you make?
Creative visual content, branding and graphics for brands through the design practice I founded with my husband, Badlands Studio. I also edit and creatively direct our digital publication, Badlands Journal.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I'm one of those people who find it hard to switch off, my mind is always whirring away and coming up with new ideas. I feel very lucky I get to put some of these into practice through our business. Both my partner and I love to keep challenging ourselves creatively, and I think this is definitely a big part of who we both are.
How would you describe what you do for a living?
Visual storytelling is a good summary!
Have you always been a creative?
From as early as I can remember. I did a summer arts camp one year when I was in primary school that I just loved, and later as a young teen, I designed my own magazine (lovingly created with Microsoft programs and hand collaging that was then all pieced together). My mother used to beg me to take my magazine tears off the wall, I ruined many a paint job with my constant collaging, sticking and blu-tacking every time we moved house. Post-high school I studied Graphic Design at TAFE, followed by Fine Arts at university before landing a job in the art department at a magazine.
What would be your advice to others looking to pursue a creative career?
Find what you are passionate about, and don't give up. Intern, assist, create for your own channels, network and don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
Now the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
We have lived here for just over two years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
The ceilings and natural light were what initially drew me in. I knew I wanted something with art deco character, and this apartment is very charming. It also has a North-East aspect which gives us the most beautiful light in the mornings.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
Almost every room had different floorboards due to the building being quite old, so that was the main thing we wanted to fix. We stripped them back and had them sanded and painted white to freshen the place up. We also painted all the walls and ceilings with a fresh coat of white, removed the skirting boards and put in all new light fittings. I would love to one day renovate the kitchen and bathroom!
How does your home reflect your personal style?
It's a mixture of Scandinavian minimalism and relaxed, coastal style which almost mirrors how I dress. I love simple, minimal and tailored pieces but with relaxed denim and casual T-shirts in the mix. You'll also find me a sundress and loose, linen pieces come Summer.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I wanted our home to be a mixture of new and vintage pieces, with objects we have collected both locally and on our travels mixed through. It was important for us to feel like it reflected our style (we're both minimalists at heart) without feeling too stark or gallery-like.
What are your favourite pieces in your home?
Our artwork are our most cherished pieces, as each tells a story and reminds us of a particular time in our life. I also love our USM media console. It's one of our first big investment pieces and feels very special.
Your art is incredible, when did your appreciation begin?
Probably in high school. I used to love going to art galleries and keeping tabs on up and coming local artists. It wasn't until much later I was able to start working on my own collection, but studying Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing at university definitely gave me a greater understanding of art history and different methods and mediums when it came to creating works.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I have my eye on a vintage floor lamp for the living room.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
Our living room, I love the light and reading to our daughter on our lounge.
Tell us about your bedroom.
It's where I put my outfits together, take cat naps while my daughter sleeps, and do a lot of feeding, rocking and reading with her.
What does getting a good night’s sleep mean to you?
Sleep is so important. I have always been a great sleeper, and it's something I now realise I was so lucky to enjoy for so many years. A good night's sleep to me means deep, restful sleep and waking up feeling recharged and ready to go. Not so much at the moment though!
What is your favourite local hotspot?
I love 10 William for an intimate dinner, and Went To See The Gypsy in Alexandria for weekend brunch.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
We have a few branding projects in the works I'm quite excited about, and our new-look Badlands Studio website will be live soon.
For more from Talisa, follow her @talisa_sutton, @badlands.journal and @badlands.studio.