Director & Senior Designer at Resident Avenue: Jessica Bettenay
1. We would love to know a little bit about you.
Hi, I’m Jess - Director & Senior Designer at Resident Avenue.
Resident Avenue is a firm built with a diverse kaleidoscope of individuals. We are a family and Resident Avenue is what it is because of all the women, past and present, that help make it special. We are driven by passion, energy, and an instinctive nature. We create personalised spaces that offer unforgettable experiences. We don’t follow design rules or have a set style. Rather our designs stem from getting to know our clients and understanding their individual living requirements. Our team blends texture and colour in compelling and sometimes unexpected ways. We will challenge you to try new things. We will dare you to surprise yourself. We will see what makes you tick and your heart to skip a beat.
2. Tell us about your big break – that holy shit moment in your career.
If feel like RA has been a natural progression. I have worked incredibly hard and consistently for a long time. I don’t know if I have had a holy shit moment, maybe that’s because I still have so much, I want to achieve and Im pretty tough on myslef. However, I have had a series of achievements that have made me feel proud of what I have overcome and how hard I’ve worked during my career.
Two of my favourite highlights would have to be;
Having the opportunity to work on Grand Designs Australia and designing the amazing Kelvin View Property. This was a once of a lifetime opportunity and this project has had incredible exposure world-wide, gracing the cover of international magazines. But most importantly I got a second family over the 9 years I’ve been working with Eddie and Dot, I absolutely love them.
This year has also been special being featured in an incredible Interior Design book by Julia Green and Armelle Habib called Vivid. It was truly an honour to be featured in such a beautiful publication. I respect both these women and feel very honoured to be included in the pages alongside some of my favourite designers worldwide.
But again, I’m most proud to call them great friends after the years of working together. For me the real joy in doing what I do comes from the relationships I create.
3. Where do you get most inspired?
It used to be travelling but none of us are doing much of that these days! So, for the time being I’m try and take it from the little things around me, to appreciate my surrounds. Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration for texture and colour, and we look to nature to integrate raw and natural materials in all our projects. Also coming from fashion originally fabrics and textures will always play a large roll inspiring me.
4. What is your favourite piece from Atley.co?
Tough I like so many more than but if I had to pick my fav’s they would definitely be the glass drink stirrers and the Tree Sisters Collection.
5. One thing that makes you truly happy?
My partner, my kids, my family, and my friends are my everything. I love my life. I am incredibly lucky to be part of a super close large family and I am surrounded by magical friends; it doesn’t get any better than that. But if I had to pick a “thing” that makes me truly happy then it’s the Ocean. It’s the only place my mind settles and I feel peaceful. I need to be around the ocean to be truly happy.
6. How do you deal with work stress?
I embrace it ….. or I’m mad….. one or the other!
I think if I’m honest I like working under pressure, it suits my personality.
In saying that routine is my key. I learnt early on as a working mum with active kids that you can’t be everything to everyone. So, I have a nanny 3 days a week and that allows me to have an organised home and it takes that horrible pressure off where you feel like you’re not doing the best at home or at work. With so much on my plate I need my house to be tidy and my personal life in order, I guess it gives me some sense of false control! I also exercise every morning, that time between 5:30 and 7am is gold for me, no phone, no emails, no kids just me and my girlfriend. This is the best way to start any day. And on the odd occasion it does all gets too much then I listen to my mind and body, and I take a day, or I throw myself in the ocean or I do what I need to make sure I look after myself.
7. Name a book or movie everyone should read or watch? And why?
Book – I am pilgrim. I love crime novels. They are the only genre that truly takes my mind off everything else… Anything other than crime and I find I’m reading the page repeatedly as I drift back to work. This book is probably one of the best ones I have ever read, lots of twists and turns. It is a long book, but worth every word.
8. What annoys you most? And why?
A messy house, call it OCD, call it that fake in control, call it whatever you like, but it must be tidy. And apart from that its people who are rude, I’ve been known to be very sharp tonged if someone is outright rude and revolting.
9. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
My first ever nickname was button. My parents called me this for most of my childhood because I had a small button nose. Ironically now I have my dad’s large nose…
My younger brother calls me Joyce to this day. He couldn’t say Jess so called my Joyce and has done ever since.
10. If you could only play one music album for the rest of your life what would it be?
Goodness…. It would have to be a compilation album as the idea of one sound for the rest of my life is torture to me. Variety in all aspects of my life is essential. Scents, sounds, clothes they are all dependant on the day, the mood, the sun and what’s on my to do list for that day. I will admit to being a sucker for everything old school though.
11. Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?
I think it’s easy, especially in the world we are living in at the moment to take for granted the small stuff and the amazing life that we do have. I really do believe in seeing the best in what we have and living your best life every day. Show up for yourself, do the things that make you happy, follow your dreams. One life, be happy!
12. How should we handle someone copying our style?
Well it would be hard to copy my style as I don’t really have a particular style when designing or decorating. I am driven by our clients, their lives and personalities and their journey through life. Our designs are a reflection of the people that live or work in the spaces we create in collaboration with them. In reality this will always happen in some form or another my best advice is to never worry about what anyone else is doing or saying and stick to doing you.
13. What’s your favourite Friday night tipple?
Chilli Margaritas all the way… hold the sugar syrup please
14. Name somewhere you would love to live.
In Australia it would be Byron Bay or near there. Lots of my besties have lived there for over a decade, it’s my home away from home.
15. Finish this sentence – homes have the power to:
Evoke emotion and should be designed to tell the story of those that live there. the story of our own personal journeys through life; Individual and personal. This can be done in a rental or a home you home.
16. What’s your advice for aspiring designers and stylists that you inspire?
Trust your instinct, I always trust my gut instinct. If you learn to follow your intuition and trust yourself that’s where the magic happens.
17. Why do you feel now (as a community), it is really important to get behind and support locally made?
We have some of the best artisans and craftspeople in our country. Buying local, supporting Australian made and buying quality to last is something I am very passionate about. We like to include locally made as much as we can in every project. In all of our project large or small, local artesian craftmanship adds depth to our interior designs, while supporting our local trades and boosting the economy in our small communities.
We as a firm we believe in not adding to landfill when suggesting or making purchases. Being informed about the products you are buying, how long they will last and being a conscious consumer is important and we all need to take responsibility for this. We don’t always have the budget for all the things we want but you are better off buying vintage or from an auction house or saving and buying something a little more expensive but will last you decades longer than a cheaper alternative.
Photo Credit: Armelle Habib