If you only know Robyn Holt as a judge on The Renovators last year, or as former editor of Vogue Living for more than a decade, you don’t know the half of it. Robyn’s achievements in the publishing, fashion, beauty and interiors industries are nothing short of remarkable. She is also a really lovely lady who can’t get enough of fresh flowers or sharing her knowledge with anyone who’s interested or passionate about something she knows about. She’s headed up fashion label Collette Dinnigan and the Yves Saint Laurent beauty brand and looked after magazines like Vogue, GQ and Monocle all over the world. Suffice to say if I were to list all the impressive things she’s done I’d be here all day.Having worked in fashion and interiors, Robyn thinks the two are closer linked these days. “I think as the world becomes more connected this link will strengthen,” she adds. “But I love the way fabric design or colour palette is slightly mixed when a trend crosses over. Take animal prints that seem to appear almost every season; we have seen rugs, fabrics and wallpapers appear in most ranges but in many cases with a slight twist. It is interesting to know what the current trends are but I am not a great believer of following trends. I believe you should follow your passions in design.”
Robyn is currently preparing and presenting a monthly segment for Channel 10’s The Circle and loving it. “I thought about all the questions I have been asked over the years and now I’m trying to put them into simple design segments. The one on wallpaper coming up followed the installation of my own powder room. I wanted to show how wallpaper can be as mad and surprising as you wish in a small room that won’t dominate or really influence the rest of your interior scheme. The end result is wonderful. I love to just go into that room now. It is so much fun.”
Her style at home has changed over the years, starting as traditionalist with a flash of eclectic. “But now I think I am more eclectic with a healthy dose of nature. My house is layers: years of collecting and also living in Russia for four years have influenced my interiors. I love black and white photographs (probably my years in magazines) and I have collected amazing fashion photos over the years. They sit really comfortably side by side with modern art in my house. This is all wrapped up in a deep neutral palette of creams, browns and putty. My way of adding colour is in the form of accessories that can come in and go out.”
Robyn’s top tips for a stylish home are comfort, fresh flowers and personality. “I really believe your home should be welcoming and comfortable. You know I love flowers in the house and they always say welcome. Add colour and texture. You can’t beat a good sofa that you can sink into. Then add your own memories into a room, on a table, on the walls in photos or a collection of books; something that says something about you.”
She loved her time on The Renovators and puts the popularity of that kind of TV program down to tough economic times. “In times of crisis your home becomes even more your sanctuary and ideas for making it a place to cocoon become of high importance. The real estate market has flattened in many areas and it’s not the time to sell or move. This has given people the opportunity to look at how they might use their house in different ways – renovation!
“I loved my time on The Renovators, it gave me a chance to share all the years of experience I have with a broad range of people. I loved being able to be a mentor and I think the contestants were truly amazing. Every day I was surprised with what they achieved.”
It’s no secret the show’s viewing ratings could have been better. “It may have been the timing of it or that there were a few shows to choose from on at the same time,” she says. “And getting a new format right is never easy in any medium. If the network decides to make a few renovations to The Renovators and bring it back for another series, I would love to be involved.”
Finally, I asked Robyn to tell us about her favourite piece in her home. “You know I try and have at least one piece in each room I really love but let’s think, if there was a fire, what would I save? I have a wonderful piece of red coral I bought from Paul Bruce before he died. It is like a massive branch and as the climate is changing and the coral seas are in danger I know there is no more of this precious coral to buy anymore, so I would grab that. But what a hard decision!”