Manawatu Design Trends Q & A with Claire Ongley

The owner of Izzy and Jean Co. in Manawatu

How did you become involved in interior design?

I’ve always been an appreciator of beautiful design and when I moved back to New Zealand in 2013, after living overseas for some time, it was the perfect opportunity to start online store Izzy and Jean Co., which focuses on fine goods sourced on my travels, as well as online. I don’t go to the gift fairs and try to steer away from products that other stores have. I look for things that are handmade or well-crafted and, most importantly, easy on the eye! I love to stumble across independent designers, traditional craftspeople or long-running businesses that have been proudly crafting their products for many years. It’s great to support these types of creators

Decal by Evie Kemp & Your Decal Shop.

Describe your interior style at home.

We have a 1930s villa that was relocated to our property in Manakau. It was a blank canvas when we bought it, all white walls and wooden floors – the perfect starting point. My style is a neutral base with splashes of bright colour – a unique rug, cushion or lampshade to make a statement. We have a two-year old, so there are usually bits of playdough in the rug and fingerprints on the glass coffee table to complete the look.

What’s a favourite recent design by another designer?

It’s difficult to name a favourite because there is so much talent out there. However, I stumbled across Evie Kemp’s recent collaboration with Your Decal Shop – I must have the bold colours of her Suburban Jungle decal!

Which New Zealand designer do you most admire?

There are many I admire, but I love Alex Fulton Design. Her unapologetic boldness in a sea of Scandinavian neutrality is awesome. She looks like she really enjoys life and surrounds herself with fun and colour. What’s not to admire?

Bathroom by Alex Fulton Design.

What inspires you?

Travel – there’s nothing more exciting and inspiring than travelling to new places, eating new food, immersing yourself in other cultures, and discovering art, crafts, customs and styles in other countries.

What’s the best thing you’ve brought back from an overseas trip?

A cowhide rug from Argentina. My friend Sofia and I spent far too long inspecting every single rug at an outdoor market in Buenos Aires, and eventually both brought one home with us.

Tell us about your dream home.

Wide open spaces, big windows, a kitchen with a big vintage oak table and a farmhouse sink, concrete floors with lots of rugs and floor cushions, and a view of the ocean. It would have a Cape Cod feel to it, with plenty of white tongue and grove, and a plant-filled courtyard inspired by the Moroccan riads. Oh, and huge amounts of storage.

Dusty Grey hanger by Sill Life.

Do you have any tips for arranging spaces?

Make the main components of the room neutral (such as the walls and sofa) – it will allow you the flexibility to change things every now and again without spending a fortune. You can change cushions, throws and wall decorations to give the room a new look. Add some greenery – a big pot plant in the corner or a succulent on the table, for example. You can’t go wrong adding a bit of nature to your living space. Be yourself! Mix things up or add something bold and different that you love. Combine vintage and modern to give the space some personality, texture and contrast.

Shop Details:


Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast region’s top home builds announced

A Nelson home and a Kaiteriteri renovation have won this year’s Supreme Awards in the Nelson, Marlborough & West Coast Registered Master Builders 2018 House of the Year competition. 


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