Last week we introduced you to the beautiful coastal home of Vanessa Kidwell. This week, we take a peek inside Vanessa’s inspired homewares store, LivedIn Coogee, and get the lowdown on how she’s honed her pared back, tribal – coastal style.
TR: What’s your weakness when it comes to interior objects – what can you simply not resist?
VK: Anything African is high on the list! The beautiful Cowrie shell Nigerian baskets that we stock from time to time are definitely one of my favourite objects, I think I have three at home now and I never tire of looking at them. Another weakness is tribal bags (bilums). I source these from Papua New Guinea and it has become a bit of a running joke that when I travel I always come back with one, or two, or three…
TR: Who’s style do you admire?
VK: Closer to home it would have to be Kylie and Anna of not Heidi both for their sense of style in their dress and jewellery designs and also for their homes. Further afield, I love India Hicks and the Caribbean feel of large verandahs, greenery and coastal elements. I also love Amber Interiors in the USA – their collections are often very colourful which isn’t necessarily my thing, but I always find elements that inspire me for my own home.
TR: When did you open LivedIn Coogee and how did you start sourcing all the beautiful objects in your store?
VK: I opened 5 years ago, and through spending hours on end online for a few months before opening I meet a couple of great suppliers. Lisa from wholesale operation African Trading Port has been an amazing contact and supporter from day one, always so helpful in also providing me with great product and connecting me with suppliers that source amazing objects and pieces from all over the world.
TR: Given you hadn’t worked in retail or interiors previously how did LivedIn Coogee come to fruition?
VK: I remember asking my dad to polish by boards and paint my bedroom for my 16th bedroom so that interiors obsession was always in me …. I even had a palm in my bedroom back then! I met my husband while at high school and we travelled the world while he played professional rugby league with our two little daughters in tow. Once he had retired [David now coaches NRL team the Balmain Tigers] I decided it was time for me to do something of my own. Initially my plan was to open a lifestyle store in Coogee that provided the locals with items not seen everyday and I imagined that this kind of business would provide me a great lifestyle balance…and it is a great lifestyle but the business is now so busy I spend every available minute sourcing for the store and clients, which keeps me away from the store and my customers more than I’d like.
TR: What’s your vision for Livedin Coogee?
VK: There are always a million and one ideas running around in my head. We are looking at expanding our brand to another suburb and also possibly opening a design consulting office in Coogee, as the design and styling arm of our business is really taking off.
TR: What are your three top tips for creating a beautifully curated, clutter-free home?
VK: 1. Have a clear vision of how you want your home to look. Collect pictures from magazines, use Pinterest, Instagram – just make sure you start with an understanding of the end product you want to achieve before you start sourcing. 2. Only purchase items that you LOVE! Don’t buy things on a whim or because they’re ‘in’ – stay true to that image that you want to create. 3. Storage is key for creating a streamlined home, and it doesn’t need to be built in. We don’t have a lot of storage at all in my home, but the use of large wicker baskets for linen and clothes look lovely, always come in handy and can always be used in different capacities.
TR: Which interiors magazines do you consume regularly and what do you like about them?
VK: These days I don’t buy a lot of magazines as I find blogs such as Style Files and Est Magazine are inspiring and offer a great read. Pinterest is a also a massive inspiration for me and I can get lost in that for hours!
TR: What would your ideal home look like, where would it be located and how would you decorate it?
VK: Oh, dream house would be in the Caribbean, white floors, wicker lighting, steel windows, treasures from around the globe, wide verandahs, and a very large pool!
Livedin Coogee – 263 Arden St, Coogee, Sydney, Australia
Photography Steven Foster
Words Bly Carpenter