I wait eagerly outside of Lisa’s office located in the quaint beach-side town of Hampton, in Melbourne’s south east. I’m flustered with excitement to finally meet the woman who is responsible for so many visually breathtaking interiors. In typical Melbourne fashion, it’s raining and miserable. This weather must be an unpleasant change for Lisa who spends the bulk of her days working on one of the Whitsunday’s most exotic islands.
Out of the rain and in to the warmth of Lisa’s Hampton office, it is exactly what you would expect from an award winning interior designer – immaculately presented, styled in a beautiful synthesis of whites and pastel pinks. Every piece of furniture is positioned perfectly to resemble a setting straight out of a glossy catalogue.
While better known for her role in the entire overhaul of the luxurious One & Only Hayman Island resort and her stint on reality TV show Top Design, Lisa also lends her styling expertise to brides and grooms planning for their big day. Although, she says, “I kind of get caught up in interiors,” pointing to her Timberland boots and laughing. I’ve managed to catch her just in time, before she runs off to oversee a site that she has been working on for the past couple of weeks. While an admissibly practical choice of footwear for an interior designer, I must admit, the Timberlands were a rather unexpected fashion statement for someone wearing a pink blouse with polished nails and pinned hair. What a woman.
Lisa more or less fell in to the role as stylist for One & Only Hayman Island. Around the same time the private island resort was looking for a part time designer, Lisa finished her degree and became fully qualified in the industry. “It was just the right place and the right time,” Lisa says. Five years later and she is also responsible for the redevelopment of various high profile private residencies on the island and the full refurbishment of the Diane Von Furstenberg suites.
Lisa has an impenetrable high energy level, though you would have to if you were her. It’s go, go, go for this talented designer. When she’s not styling beautiful boudoirs located in the middle of tropical paradises, Lisa is available to style your wedding. While styling an interior is one thing, weddings are a completely different ballpark, Lisa says. Not usually impended or reduced to a strict brief, Lisa draws inspiration from her natural surroundings when creating a space. Taken aback by how weddings have become so fixed in their tradition and ceremonial procedures Lisa says, “With all of the weddings and events that I have done, I’ve really tried to do it differently.”
“It doesn’t have to be the same for every single person on the planet. I find it bizarre that not only do you stand there with girls in matching dresses behind you, people all over the world do it and for so many generations and no one seems to have altered it.”
Creating an event that is as individual as you and your partner is not as easy as it sounds. That’s where Lisa steps in. Her approach to event styling is an intuitive one and spurs from the colours the client is wearing or the style of the shoes on their feet. From these simple material characteristics, Lisa has a habit of extracting your personality and reflecting this on your big day. “It’s a gut feeling, a tool I have used and just gone with and it’s worked because, like me, half the time I look like the inside of my house. I dress like the things around me without even noticing it.”
If there’s one thing that you can count on to be at a wedding, it’s a theme. Modern chic, bohemian whimsy, rustic elegance – the list goes on and on. While we’re all for a sublimely styled wedding, among the planning and intrinsic categorising of your big day, the magic gets lost somewhere along the line. We’re not the only one’s to recognise the trend of having a themed wedding. “All weddings have become very theme-y,” Lisa says. “Themes are a very strong aspect of an event and it quickly becomes more about the theme and people forget it can be just as beautiful without one. I think it looks like you have put a bucket load more effort in too.”
“You don’t have to have a theme, it’s not a dress up party.”
Instead of electing a singular and all encompassing theme, Lisa suggests, “find an image from a wedding and take inspiration from that, especially if you’re not a visual person. Pick one or two things you like. The nice things that you like can all come together, they don’t have to fit in to a category.”
When styling your big day, Lisa prompts you to think less about the theme of your wedding and more about the surrounding environment. After spending five years working on Hayman Island, Lisa is accustomed to working in spectacular environments that don’t need much enhancing aesthetically. “I have never, ever, ever in four or five years not lost my breath when I see the Island. It is so beautiful.”
Lisa says styling for an event, wedding or interior has a lot to do with the natural setting. Especially when talking about One & Only Hayman Island. When selecting the perfect flowers for your venue think more is less. Otherwise, Lisa says, “You’ll lose the environment too fast and too big is tacky. The higher and the bigger, the worse it looks because all of a sudden . . .who cares where you are?”
Time has elapsed and all of a sudden we’re pulled away from our conversation and back in to the vortex that is reality. It’s now 10:30am on a Wednesday morning and Lisa admits that she best get on with her day. Off she goes, turning another drab space in to a dream office, bedroom, bathroom or living area. Timberlands and hard hat in tow.