She’s probably the best known interior stylist in Australia. Sibella Court owns the shop The Society Inc, she’s written two hugely popular books (Etcetera in 2010 and The Stylist’s Guide to NYC in May this year) and she’s about to release a third. Her life is something of a whirlwind and she’s reached a sort of celebrity status, but that’s what happens when you’re uber talented and in demand.
Her third book, Nomad, is about bringing home inspiration and collections from your travels and incorporating them into your interiors, something so many people get so wrong! “A fatal error people make is that they assume direct translations are necessary,” she says. ”Mix it up!”
You do not need to create an Amalfi Coast kitchen to be reminded of one of your favourite trips. “It’s all about a subtlety that triggers a memory and makes you smile, whether this is through colour, an arrangement or fabric.
“Because I travel so much, people ask me all the time how I manage to use all my inspiration and finds from my trips in a natural way at home, in my space and at my shop. This book is a way of sharing that.”
Sibella has certainly done plenty of travel, living and working in New York for almost a decade, building her styling reputation there before returning home to Australia in 2007. She worked for some huge names in NYC, from Jo Malone, Bloomingdales and Pottery Barn to Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. “I love New York and it was my home. It was absolutely inspirational and I really forged my career over there. When I came home it was to start all the cool projects I’d thought up that I didn’t have time to think about in the States!”
Sibella’s shop, in Sydney’s Paddington, is an old hardware and haberdashery store, showcasing a range of oddities and curiosities; her finds from around the world. “When I’m not discovering new treasures for the shop I’m styling and opening new bars and spaces.” Recent projects include new Sydney hot spots Upstairs at The Beresford, El Loco & Ms. G’s.
It seems Sibella never stops juggling her busy life. She designs interiors for Merivale, has a paint range for Murobond and a collaboration with Anthropologie, not to mention the books, the shop and the regular contributions to every interiors mag worth its salt. A close friend of Donna Hay, she worked closely with her on her brand. “It’s all about prioritising! Which I rarely do,” she says. “It’s about waking up early, charging through all day and having a cheeky beverage in the evening to let it all go!”
She’s already working on her fourth book, of course. “Writing is truly a labour of love but that’s why I do it. I worked on Nomad for a year but the ideas and concepts that fill it have been growing for a decade on my trips and jobs,” she says. Her own collection of books lines floor-to-ceiling shelves which are becoming dangerously full.
Sibella started out working at Vogue but she did her fair share of assisting, starting while she was still at university. “Then I just moved around until I found something that I loved doing,” she says. ”My advice to budding stylists would be the same for anyone: if you love it, do it. I have so much fun at work. I couldn’t imagine spending my time doing anything else.”
Not surprisingly perhaps, Sibella never stops and arranging and rearranging her collections at home. “I move things around according to my mood and the atmosphere I desire in my space. Fresh flowers, new books, swapping the odds and ends that hang from my walls: pictures, old, rusty hardware, a walrus head, puppet or antlers!
“Whether it’s rearranging furniture or painting a dado on the wall, changing a space is so refreshing and I do it constantly.”
Nomad is out in the States next month and in Australia in November.
Check out Sibella’s address book of favourite shops here. I’m attending her sold out workshop, Emotive Interiors, tomorrow night. Yippee!