Owner of Janet Brown Furniture and Tussocks Homeware in Wanaka.
How did you become interested in interiors?
I was lucky to travel with Mum on her buying trips to many interesting places when she first started Janet Brown Furniture in Wanaka more than 20 years ago. We visited amazing countries, walked the back streets, went to suppliers’ homes, waded through markets, explored trade shows and met so many fascinating people. I took over the business nine years ago and still love the adventure. There are so many beautiful, unique homewares and furniture pieces out there – original Asian antiques, coffee tables made from one piece of old hardwood, woven rattan, old concrete sculptures and many other intricate handmade goodies. We have grown a business out of sourcing incredible pieces from around the world and bringing them home to our shops.
Do you prefer classic or contemporary interiors?
My style is contemporary-meets- traditional-classic. I love mixing timeless furniture and homewares from different periods and styles. My favourite theme is black-and-white but I think it’s also important to use different textures and even the odd shiny contrasting or colourful object to give the room a splash of richness and warm.
Do you use your home as a testing ground?
I love to express my personal interior style at home, but it also needs to work as a functional family home. I’m always changing the layout of our space and trying to coordinate favourite new-found treasures that I’ve sourced overseas. However, our Janet Brown warehouse and Tussocks Homeware shop provide the ultimate spaces for testing and playing with ideas. It’s all about talking to customers and placing items that work with other pieces we love.
Do you have a favourite interior-design book?
Hilary Robertson’s Monochrome Home sums up my favourite style in its tag line ‘elegant interiors in black and white’. The striking photography captures timeless interiors.
What else inspires you?
Being overseas, finding interesting and unique pieces. People from all over the world often say our mix is unlike anything they've seen anywhere - New Yorkers have asked me if they can buy our things back home. Being passionate about our finds and products and choosing things that we love inspires us, and ultimately our customers.
Can you share some of your tips for arranging interior spaces?
I love minimal interiors. I think it’s important to make sure you don’t overcrowd a room with furniture and objects. Prioritising is the key as we gather so many things throughout our life. Too often we see items clumped on either end of a sideboard or, for example, side tables so close to the sides of a sofa that they’re touching.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Kelly Hoppen for her neutral palettes, beautiful textures and an East-meets-West aesthetic – it’s all part of her signature look.
Which New Zealand homeware brand do you most admire?
We source the majority of our items overseas but we also stock some products designed in this country. New Zealand brand Citta is a favourite. They have a great team of designers who come up with an amazing new range of quality homewares twice a year.
What’s your dream home?
Monochrome interiors with contrasting textures including chunky character recycled hardwood beams, polished concrete floors, textured or tribal rugs and expansive glass stacking doors – an open plan with lots of white and neutrals punctuated by colour here and there.