Katherine Brauer of Bisque
Katherine Brauer is the founder of interiors store Bisque Traders and wholesale business Bisque Interiors. Stylists and interior designers in the know have Brauer on speed dial – a quick browse through her tantalising Instagram feed @bisque_ quickly reveals that this is a woman you need to know if nomadic, tribal or coastal inspired interiors tickle your fancy.
A talented designer and stylist whose penchant for travel, culture and family is evident throughout every corner of her store and every element of her range, Katherine is the creative force behind some of the Byron Bay region’s most breathtakingly beautiful and inspired homes.
We caught up with the bohemian beauty to find out more about how Bisque evolved, what inspires her and what she loves about the Australian interior design industry.
How long have you and your family lived in Byron Bay?
My husband Ralph, daughter Hannah and I have called the beautiful Byron Bay Hinterland home for six years now. I am originally from South Africa, and we lived in Coffs Harbour prior to here.
We bought our house three years ago. It was built in 1961 and was in pretty dire condition, but we just fell in love with the simple structure and incredible surrounds. Our property is enveloped by Canary Date Palm growers so from every window we have this incredible vista of beautiful trees. We have updated the original house quite extensively, a process that I absolutely loved and would happily do again. I relished the creative process of renovating, of having to think on my feet, communicate my vision to our builder and then witnessing him interpret this vision and bring our dreams to reality. As far as renovations go ours was a dream – everything ran smoothly and the end result is exactly as I had imagined. I know we’ve been very lucky.
Of course, there are always a few pitfalls when it comes to renovating and, like many other renovators before us, ours was …. Money!! Renovation and restoration is a money pit!! It often felt as though everything cost twice as much as we had assumed and took three times as long to complete. It’s all been worth it though – we now live in our dream home.
How do you describe your style, and how has it evolved over the years?
My aesthetic is strongly influenced by the whitewashed houses of my hometown, Cape Town, in South Africa. Thrown into the mix is inspiration gleaned from my regular travels to Mediterranean countries from a young age, my African roots and, in later years, considerable influence from the time I spend in India and Morocco (as much as possible!). I guess you could classify my style as Global Traveller, always starting with a classic, elegant canvas so that the furnishings and artifacts I’ve collected on my travels can truly sing.
My common theme – always, as far back as the 80’s – is white. Go ahead and be bold and inspired when styling a space, but white keeps the look cohesive.
Who has influenced your style?
My mother has undoubtedly been the most influential person in my life. She was always decorating, restoring furniture, collecting homewares…and my father. He was always making things for the house under my mother’s guidance and was also a beautiful potter and artist. I was always surrounded by that influence, growing up.
Tell us about Bisque
Bisque was launched in 2000. We manufactured ceramics in Australia prior to this and decided to import instead, so we came up with an entire range of furniture and homewares and launched it as Bisque, and have never looked back, really. We opened our first retail store Brauerbirds, when we moved to the Byron Bay area and recently changed the name to Bisque Traders. We’ve moved into much bigger premises and just decided to relaunch, keeping it all under the one umbrella.
Through Bisque we are fortunate enough to work with the best interior designers around the world, supplying them with interesting product for their projects. We have agents with show rooms in each of the major cities in Australia where the wholesale customers have access to our goods. We’re so grateful for the strong relationships we have been able to build within the design industry, but we’re equally as grateful for the support we receive from our local community. We have found that reputation is everything, that it doesn’t matter if you’re located in a tiny coastal town – if you love what you do and you’re good at it people will seek you out and find you. It’s very heart warming and humbling and we are so incredibly thankful.
What are your top five places to shop in and around Byron Bay?
My favourite store is Island Luxe in Bangalow and Byron. I also love Pakaria Powell, located in a little studio right next to our store, and Bower Botanicals, a beautiful florist, also located next to our store in Station Street. Ahoy Traders in Marval Street Byron Bay is fabulous, and Newrybar Merchants are lovely to visit, too
If you could sticky beak inside the homes of the rich and famous who would top your list?
I quite like LA style. I would love to snoop around Ellen DeGeneres’ houses!!!
Who inspires you and why?
My beautiful family inspires me. I can’t go past my divine husband, Ralph, and daughter, Hannah. We live and breathe homewares and fashion as a family business, and we inspire each other.
What is the best thing about your career, and why?
My career encompasses my three passions. Shopping (on an exaggerated scale), decorating and travel! And doing it with my family.