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Category Archives: Interiors

Jason Grant – Interior Stylist and Author

Jason Grant – Interior Stylist and Author Book 01

Mr Jason Grant is a Sydney-based interior stylist and author who has worked with many Australian and international magazines including Inside Out, Belle, House and Garden, Real Living, Vogue Living, Australian Country Style, Gourmet Traveler, Elle Decoration and Living etc.

I think I would have met Jason at least 10-12 years ago. Like most Melbournian creative people, we tend to go to the same work parties and events and mix and work with the same crew…

Jason moved to Sydney around 4 or so years ago now and it’s been great to watch his career take off and branch out in new directions.

Jason has recently published his first book with with Hardie Grant Books “A Place called Home” and is working hard on the second.

He has collaborated with numerous major brands, and has produced a signature paint collection with Australian paint company – Murobond as well as an exclusive stationery line for Officeworks. Jason has also recently started writing for his own “At Home” column for The Sunday Telegraph and Herald Sun.

I flicked Jason a few questions to answer whilst he was on the road in Melbourne recently. Jason was kind enough to come back to me with a few answers below in-between visiting furniture and interiors stores and madly sourcing items for his next shoot.

You can follow Jason’s stylist adventures on his daily blog, or like most visual people – he is super active on Instagram – so you can keep up to speed with the latest interior trends, colours, must have items, bargains or just snaps of his daily inspiration.

All images from ‘A place called home’ – thanks to James Geer.

Jason Grant – Interior Stylist and Author Book 02

Jason Grant – Interior Stylist and Author

Q & A:

1) At what age did you start as an interior stylist/did you always want to be a stylist/what would you be doing if you weren’t a stylist?

In my early 20′s – I hadn’t really ever planned to be a stylist – I had met a and worked with a few…. I was given a lucky break and gave it a go and there was no turning back.

2) Did you study within the creative/design space/or just learn on the job/teach yourself? Who were some of your greatest creative influences during this time? (photographers/furniture designers/stylists/architects or other)

I never studied to be a stylist – I guess it came naturally early on… I worked with a number of great photographers such as Lucas Allen and learnt a lot from him on shoots (he’s a great photographer that equally has a great stylists eye)

3) How would you describe your creative style, and do you feel it has changed over the years as you’ve grown as an artist/stylist?

My style is relaxed and causal, fun and not too serious. It’s definitely not contrived or over styled. I have enjoyed the journey and working on my first book was an interesting process to showcase and work out what my style is.

4) What is your favourite subject matter to shoot/work on? Do you have an all time favourite photo or job that you’ve styled for (or object that you’ve sourced)? If so – what is it of/is there a story behind it?

My favourite project has definetly been working on book 1… As a stylist you often work for others, so working on your own project is the best.

5) What do you love most about your job/and what is the key to great design?

I love that I get to do what I love. I work hard but really enjoy it. The blur between work and play is sometimes hard to define but i wouldnt have it any other way.

6) So you’ve just published your first book…. How did this inspiration/goal come about?

How long did the project take? Where is it available to buy? Is this the start of many books, or published works to come?

It is hopefully the first of many. It’s the ultimate to have your own book. It’s something that I have wanted to do for a while now. The planning of the books was some time in the making, but the production was rather quick.

The book is available in most book stores, a number of homewares and giftshops, online also including signed copies are also available from my website mrjasongrant.com

7) You’ve worked with many well known clients over the years – what have been some of the more interesting jobs/projects that you’ve worked on?

I really enjoy most jobs … Large jobs for clients like Freedom are very enjoyable as they are a collaboration from start to finish.

8) As a creative person – who and what inspires you?

I am inspired by the world of fashion and by nature … People like Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Sass and Bide…

9) Having been lucky enough to visit many beautiful homes over the years – has there been a stand out location or house/interior that you’ve shot or worked in over the years?

I just visited Byron Bay recently for the first time for a working holiday. I loved it and will return there again soon for a proper holiday.

10) What next – any other interesting projects (work or personal) …?

Book 2 is in the pipeline and several more I hope …

Anton Assad – Great Dane Furniture

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Anton Assad is the owner/founder of Great Dane Furniture.
(You may have seen his pretty face on ‘The Block’ recently where they got him involved in one of the contestant challenges …)

I made my first Great Dane purchase over 10 years ago with a Brazilian Rosewood Danish sideboard. A stunning piece – which still takes pride of place in my living room. I just love it.

Anton is like most successful people … the separation between work and pleasure/down time is tough as they truly love what they do. Because their work is a passion, the two are intertwined.

Not only does Anton have a great eye for what he does, he’s just a great bloke.

If you’re in the market to add some classic Scandinavian design into your life – please visit one of the Great Dane showrooms, and if Anton’s in the house – have a yarn.

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Q & A:

1) You have a successful business that continues to see good growth and carve out its niche within the interiors/design industry … Can you give us a bit of background on how you got to where you are today? What do you love most about your job?

Great Dane formed into the ten-year reality it is today purely by building strong relationships and foundations with our designers and manufacturers.

I don’t view this as a job, this is my passion, collaborating with legendary designers to offer handmade iconic pieces for people to build their homes upon is the driving force behind what I do.

2) Did you always want to start your own business? / how did the idea for Great Dane come about?

I always had an appreciation for Scandinavian design, and enjoyed collecting second hand vintage furniture locally in Melbourne. I recognized the opportunity to offer authentic, quality Scandinavian designs to an eager Australian market. I invested my life savings in a shipping container of Danish vintage furniture, within a day of its arrival, the container was completely bought-out and Great Dane was born.

3) As an entrepreneurial person – who and what inspires you? What are you creatively passionate about? What motivates and drives you to do better?

My kids inspire me to constantly be better at what I do and who I am. I am also motivated in continuing to deliver timeless furniture with integrity. Providing pieces that reflect an effortless way of life where good design is intrinsic to the everyday while pertaining a certain air of Scandinavian luxury.

4) As a business person, what are some of the challenges that you have, or continue to face? What lessons have you learned on your journey to date, and would you do things differently if you had your time over?

Never give up, listen to people who believe and support you, and most of all, believe in yourself and your own judgment. You will make mistakes on the way, learn from them, suck it up and keep pushing forward.

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5) You would have seen some pretty amazing properties over the years – do you have a special design project that you’ve worked on that stands out?

Being apart of the refurbishment of the Opera House’s Western Foyer, our Nanna Ditzel’s ND83 chair being the hero of the room.

Nanna’s work has a lovely feminine touch to it – soft yet clean – so of course, I was thrilled to have the chair placed in one of the most renowned pieces of Danish architecture in the world.

6) Who are your favorite designers? / what are your favorite pieces that you’ve personally collected (or indeed still have your eye on)?

I had the privilege of sitting down for coffee with Kai Kristiansen in Milan earlier this year to talk about our passions. Kai was a plethora of information and inspiration and shared tales of the old days. His most celebrated work The#42 chair is one of my favorite pieces. Its details speak not only timeless design but also harmonious and understated engineering; Kai is a true artist and outstanding man.

7) You have been collaborating with an array of talented designers and creating your own Great Dane furniture pieces. Can you tell us a bit about these colabs and how they came about?

I had always admired the work of Arne Vodder, a retired Danish architect and furniture designer whom many people assumed he was no longer around. His designs made an impact and he carved a significant influence with his work. I somehow tracked him down, and told him how I wanted to work with him. Vodder was retired and his work hadn’t been in production for over 50 years. Together we re-produced the Vodder Tall Boy, No.26 Sideboard and the Vodder Low Boy, ensuring the pieces were produced in the same manner they were originally.

Vodder passed away two years after we met. He was a very humble and understated soul. It was a great privilege and honor to meet him. He is kind of a piece of history for this era.

8) Having spent a lot of time in Europe/Scandinavia on buying trips over the years – what are some of your favorite (or the best) countries for sourcing amazing furniture pieces for the stores?

Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, and Finland.

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9) What do you think are the secrets to being a good business operator or creating a brand (whether it be yourself or your Great Dane product range)? What in your opinion is great design or the methodology behind great interior styling?

Great Dane was founded on values and traditions of influential design paired with a reputation for quality, service, craftsmanship and knowledge, which have remained true and consistent to Scandinavian design.

10) What’s next for you? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/future goals you are yet to achieve?

We have recently launched ‘The Great Den’ an event space nearby our Fitzroy show room, a unique entertaining space for private dinner parties, cocktail events, launches and tailored events. The Great Den exudes the Scandinavian luxury that Great Dane lives by, incorporating a diverse mix of rare 20th century treasures that I have collected over the years.

There are a number of projects in the pipeline, Great Dane is forever evolving… watch this space!

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Daniella and Marcus Balscheit – Surround Interiors

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Marcus and Daniella Balscheit are an interior designer, married couple, based in Melbourne who have been working together for over twenty years, and have been the owners of the successful interiors showroom – Surround on Inkerman Street in St Kilda for the past sixteen years. They also happen to be glamorous, super fun and a much loved couple on Melbourne’s social scene.

Both being extremely talented – they juggle running a few different creative businesses, but are mainly known for their beautiful furniture and interiors store in St Kilda; which in a tough retail environment is an achievement in itself.

I shot Daniella through some questions below on what makes them tick. Take a read below.

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Q & A:

1) How did the Surround Interiors business come about and who are your biggest clients? Do you prefer the retail or design consultancy side of the business? Did you guy’s study interiors/design, or just have a natural flair for aesthetics and great design?

In the beginning we started designing stage shows and theme parties in the halcyon days of Melbourne’s club scene in the nineties, as I also studied at the School of Contemporary Design and Decoration. This lead to more permanent designs for bars, clubs and fashion retail spaces. It was at this time (1995), that we opened an interior showroom in its first incarnation known as The House of Balscheit. Pioneering the vintage furniture craze that has since exploded… The House of Balscheit was one of Melbourne’s first and finest original vintage retail stores and was renowned for its broad range of highly sort after, rare vintage furniture from Italy and Scandinavia. The House of Balscheit was an appropriate visual platform highlighting both Marcus and my great love for design, confident and adventurous styling and our own unique approach to interior design and decoration.

As the vintage market become more saturated, we proactively changed the business focus and name to Surround. Marcus and I developed, designed and launched our own luxurious contemporary furniture and lighting range. With a holistic approach to interiors, we now consult and offer a complete interior design package.

“We create a complete and unique style for your space as everything can be designed especially to suit from furniture layout, custom lighting, soft furnishings and custom wallpaper designs”, says Daniella.

Created with a refreshingly different attitude towards interior decoration, Surround offers its own exclusive locally manufactured furniture that can be specified to meet the client’s individual requirements.

“Our unique lighting designs will create focal points that can enhance any space with bold and atmospheric effects”, explains Daniella.

A favourite of the celebrity set, Surround has designed spaces for actor Rachael Griffiths, TV personalities Chris Lilley, Natalie Bassingwaithe, Dave Hughes and Mif Warhurst and sporting stars such as Michael Klim, Cathy Freeman, Lance Franklin and the late Jim Stynes.

2) Being a couple that also works together – do you guy’s ever have creative differences and how do you manage to separate the work and personal – or are the two just a part of who you are?

Hardly ever. We have the ability to truly separate our work life from our personal life.

3) How would you describe both your creative (or personal) style or point of view, and do you feel this has changed over the years as you’ve grown as a business and creative people?

We have a broad sense of what we like and tend to design and supply objects purely on our own aesthetic, and tend not to design objects that may be on trend or to carter to market demand. For this reason our designs are considered quite unique and this is evident in our retail showroom showcasing our range of furniture, lighting and accessories. Furthermore, as a result, our exclusive designs have longevity and relevance.

4) If you could work on any creative collaboration – what would that look like?

To work in partnership with an architect developing a hotel in New York. We would come up with a visual concept for a foyer area.

Foyer designs are usually quite large (oversized) cold modern spaces. Most in our opinion lack intimacy. We would take on a different approach. Our foucs will have the individual entering a large space but each will have their own private waiting zone.

Each waiting individual private zone will be filled with unique lighting, furniture and accessories. Guests will be privately attended by staff with drinks – creating personalized and intimate service. Interior style and approach will make guests feel like superstars.

5) What motivates you to continue to do better? / who have been your biggest (creative or other) influences in getting you to where you are today?

To further develop our skills, to see our existing business evolve and grow in new and better directions. Our main influences are being surrounded by creative and driven peers. From a young age, we grew up around innovative, ground breaking entrepreneurial people.

6) As creative entrepreneurial people – who and what inspires you? / what are you creatively passionate about? / what do you love most about your work?

Fabulous imagery and travelling inspires, together with being around other interesting, flamboyant and creative personalities.

We are passionate about Fashion (accessories), lighting, fabrics and textiles.

When your work is received in such a positive way by the client. Presenting a concept that truly exceeds the client’s expectations.

7) What are some of the biggest challenges that you face as a retailer/design business these days and how has your business had to change or adapt as a consequence?

Capturing the client and having them have faith in you and your business immediately. As industry these days across the board gives clients endless choice (both street shopping and online purchasing).

8) What inspired the Goldie Jewelry Collection?

Melboure-based jewelry label Goldie was established in 2009 stemming from my life long passion for collecting collectable, rare, glamorous, high end vintage and international designer costume jewelry/clothing and handbags. Travelling to various corners of the world with Marcus and his building of Team Cycad has allowed me to extensively source original, unique and exclusive pieces, Goldie offers a bold and original collection of indulgent contemporary and rare vintage costume jewelry pieces. The vintage jewelry collection has expanded over the past 3 years, together with an exciting and adventurous range from new and upcoming local and international jewelry designers both based in Brooklyn/Williamsberg and Manhattan. Regularly updated and added to, the range offers something new, unique and exclusive each time you visit the studio or shop online for your indulgent jewelry purchase. It’s a broad and highly cost effective range, together with a studio and on line buying, Goldie is now more accessible to the wider demographic and costume jewelry lover.

9) You guy’s have been working away for the last 18 months on another business concept in the USA. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Team cycad delivers a unique, professional and sustainable humanized advertising medium that captures everyone’s attention.

Comprising of a team of 3 or 4 experienced riders towing patented billboard trailers, the team can move through all city spaces negotiating any traffic conditions whilst travelling at a slow speed to engage an on looking street audience.

Public awareness of cycle culture has skyrocketed in the past few years. Marcus being a passionate cyclist himself, realized the opportunity of combining the popularity and benefits of cycling with outdoor advertising to create environmentally friendly mobile promotional vehicles.

Team Cycad is a stunning combination of athletic unity coupled with the impact of moving billboards, targeting highly populated areas and events.

Advertising that goes where others can’t!

10) What’s next for you both? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

Two things in relation to Goldie:

1. An “in-haus” new jewellery collection to be designed.

2. An “How to…” video blog educating viewers on how to accessorize fashion and jewellery.

3. An “How to…” video blog educating viewers on how to style and place product to achieve a balanced and inviting interior.

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