1. We would love to know a little bit about you.
Hi, I’m Jono Fleming, an interior designer and stylist based in Sydney. After working in the design industry for over a decade, from interior design, to styling for e-commerce to working in publishing, I now work for myself across a range of different projects, from design, to styling, to podcasting and product!
2. Tell us about your big break – that holy shit moment in your career.
The moment everything turned a corner for me was when I was offered the role of Style Editor for Inside Out. I had been working as the Senior Stylist at Temple and Webster for a few years and at that same time had designed a farmhouse for my parents on our family property. I did a shoot of that house for the magazine and was offered the role, a job with the title editor in it was never anything I ever imagined I would do in my life, but the opportunity rose and I took it! The week I started at the magazine, my family home featured on the cover of that month’s issue, definitely was the ‘holy shit’ moment!
3. Where do you get most inspired?
I’m a big fan of film and television (and what a great year to sit at home and watch lots of it!) and that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration. I of course scour the usual places like Instagram and Pinterest but there’s something about the way creatives approach production design that really resonates for me. From brutalist future scenes in Gattacca to the over the top opulence in shows like Ratched, there’s so much to explore and discover on screen.
4. What is your favourite piece from Atley.co?
I love practical and clever design, so the magazine rack is a winner in my books. Aesthetically it’s simple frame and sleek leather detail makes it a versatile piece that fits into any home and style and the practicality of it is effortless. I’m also partial to the leather tissue box cover. It’s something we don’t think about in our day to day but such a simple idea can make all the change in the aesthetics of a home.
Image Credit The Palm Co
Image Credit Kylie Pringle
5. One thing that makes you truly happy?
It’s a corny one but being surrounded by family and friends. Maybe it’s a by-product of lockdown and not being around them but my partner and I love entertaining and hosting dinner parties and long lunches. Having loved ones sit down at a big table filled with food brings me absolute joy.
6. How do you deal with work stress?
I love to escape to my farm whenever we have the chance. Located in the Central Tablelands of NSW, it’s a beautiful pine forest that is my ultimate reprieve from work and the city. It clears my head and the disconnection from everyone else is absolute bliss.
7. Name a book or movie everyone should read or watch? And why?
As a self-proclaimed movie buff I have to recommend my favourite film for design inspiration. It’s a bit harder to find nowadays (you may have to search the dark corners of the internet) but its a film called The Fall (2006) starring Lee Pace and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh. It’s an epic fantasy adventure film that was filmed over dozens and dozens of countries. It has the most incredible colour palette and locations I’ve ever seen. If you can find it, it’s well worth the hunt.
8. What annoys you most? And why?
In design and in life, it’s going into something without a plan. I love a plan, whether it’s just a social calendar, what I’m doing on the weekend or if I’m designing or styling a room for a client. Going in with a plan is just a great way to have a path and an idea to reference and follow, this doesn’t mean spontaneity is out the window though, you can still branch off and have fun along the way, but I like having something to reference and a clear goal in sight.
9. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
No particular nicknames come to mind, I’ve always just been Jono, not even my mum calls me Jonathan when I’m in trouble!
10. If you could only play one music album for the rest of your life what would it be?
Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is an album that changed my life. It’s a really personal album and never fails to make me weep or smile, or both at the same time.
11. Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?
My motto in life and career is ‘give it a go’. It’s really simple advice but people are so often scared to take a leap. I’ve done it enough to know that if you don’t stick the landing, it’s ok, life will move forward, you just need to give things a go and you never know, you may surprise yourself with what you can do and achieve.
12. How should we handle someone copying our style?
As designers, this is a hard one, we put work out there to inspire but sometimes we do face people copying our work. The thing to remember is, no matter how close the copy is, they never had the idea first and you will always be one step ahead of them. If they copy what you do, change the design, change your vision, they won’t be able to keep up and it will only push you to be more creative and innovative.
13. What’s your favourite Friday night tipple?
We’re big fans of a chilled red in this house, my current favourite is a wine called Le Juice that is from a region called Fleurie. It’s a really light and bright red wine that’s a bit too easy to drink and is absolute dynamite when served slightly chilled.
14. Name somewhere you would love to live.
I used to dream about living in New York when I was younger, something that never came to fruition so maybe one day I’d love to live there, but with the caveat that I need a large warehouse apartment…. doable right?
15. Finish this sentence – homes have the power to:
Homes have the power to bring you happiness. People in the design industry often say, oh we don’t save lives, which, albeit a bit true, can sometimes dumb down the power that we hold as designers. We may not save lives but we can change them, we can inspire people to live in a beautiful space, which in turn can bring happiness and joy. We spend all day at home, now more than usual, it's a space that is meaningful and can reflect who you are, that’s powerful in it’s own right so homes have the power to bring happiness.
16. What’s your advice for aspiring designers and stylists that you inspire?
Don’t give up. Simple advice but it’s a winner. I’ve had the privilege of trying my hand at so many different avenues design has to offer over my career. I’ve been fired from jobs, I’ve been made redundant, I’ve quit and moved onto different things and each time I don’t think I would have changed a thing, It’s all lead to a bigger and better opportunity! It’s a cutthroat industry and it may seem overwhelming but as I said before, give it a go, and don’t give up, you never know when that next opportunity may present itself.
17. Why do you feel now (as a community), it is really important to get behind and support locally made?
We’ve had a tough couple of years in the world, and locally our small businesses need more support than ever. As a small business owner myself, we rely on support of people to buy locally made and sourced products and it helps boost the opportunities for the next business someone might have. It’s a small tightknit community from stylists to shop owners so we rely on each other to get the word out!
Image Credits Jacqui Turk