1. We would love to know a little bit about you.
Hi, I’m Kate Nixon, I am an Australian stylist, designer and the interiors editor of Australian House & Garden magazine.
I am the founder and director of Studio Kate, my award-winning interior design firm based in Sydney, Australia and the design director of CASA by Kate Nixon, my iconic home boutique which is the retail face of the studio offering custom product and furnishings, open to the public at the same address.
I have one handsome husband of 17yrs (Tim) and two beautiful babes (Henry 7yrs & Agnes 4yrs).
2. Tell us about your big break – that holy shit moment in your career.
I moved to Sydney in 2004 after marrying Tim (who I met learning to fly, he was my instructor, interesting footnote by the by!). One of his colleagues was married to the then Editor of Australian House & Garden magazine and he invited them over for Christmas drinks. She called the next day and asked if I would be interested in food styling. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2006 Tim and I went for our first big European holiday and discovered beautiful Busatti (eight generation Italian fabric artisans) in Anghiari, Tuscany. It was like a choose your own adventure book. Tim had just been accepted into Jetstar with a Christchurch NZ base. Do I 1/ stay in Sydney, open a Busatti store, jump off the cliff and see if we can fly or 2/ move to NZ with Tim, buy a house, start a family, embrace domestic bliss. I took Cindy Crawford’s advice that “you can have it all, just not all at once” and went for 1 and 2 (in that order, luckily I was a child bride, time was on my side and Tim got a Sydney base 6mths later so here I stayed).
3. Where do you get most inspired?
Travelling and in nature. Discovering new cities, places and people, shops, architecture, artisans, water, mountains, coast and country, home and abroad.
4. What is your favourite piece from Atley.co?
The olive leather glasses case (I am a sucker for olive, leather and a glasses case!) and the Tan leather tissue box cover (also a sucker for tan and a pet hate is tissue boxes sitting around without a beautiful cover!)
5. One thing that makes you truly happy?
My loves. Cuddles in bed with one babe in each arm, heart exploding, heaven on earth.
6. How do you deal with work stress?
I write a list and get to work.
7. Name a book or movie everyone should read or watch? And why?
Nancy Meyers ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘It’s Complicated’ – the Queen of warm, inviting, emotive interiors.
8. What annoys you most? And why?
Pressure on kids to perform at school. Do your best (one of our core values) and find what you love. Life is too short and exactly long enough to work hard for your dreams. There is always a way and the most successful any ones work the hardest and love it the most.
9. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?
Little Miss Perfect from my two older sisters. My incessant (cue irritating) striving for perfection started young!!
10. If you could only play one music album for the rest of your life what would it be?
Does SBS Chill count?! If not ‘It’s Complicated’ or ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ – did I mention they also have beautiful soundtracks?!
11. Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?
Our north star is Everyday Joy = Love your work. Smell the roses. Life is good. The future is bright.
And our core values:
- DO AS YOU SAY: Commit. Follow through. Act with integrity. No amount of money can repair a reputation.
- DO YOUR BEST: Work hard. Stay strong. Expect excellence. Over deliver. Listen, care, collaborate and problem solve.
- DON’T BE AFRAID: Try new things. Ask for help. Say the thing. Challenge accepted.
- WORK AS ONE: Team above self. Champion the common good. Help each other. The united front. Be patient and respect each other.
12. How should we handle someone copying our style?
Take it as a compliment. Per Oscar Wilde “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
13. What’s your favourite Friday night tipple?
G&T in my beautiful Waterford Lismore gin balloon with lots of ice, a twist of lemon and a sprig of rosemary from the garden.
14. Name somewhere you would love to live.
Pasadena, California. The home of my all time favourite ‘Father of the Bride I & II’ (hello Nancy Meyers) house which I found in the flesh (yes it really does exist) one fall afternoon in 2003. After my wedding and the birth of my babes, it was one of the great highlights of my life. I think I actually screamed and I’m a very calm kind of person.
15. Finish this sentence – homes have the power to:
Effect everyday joy.
16. What’s your advice for aspiring designers and stylists that you inspire?
Work hard and run your own race. Stick to what you love and trust your gut. The goal is to find your niche and your tribe and love what you do.
17. Why do you feel now (as a community), it is really important to get behind and support locally made?
Lead times! Offering clients an authentic story and the experience of meeting the maker and connecting with the process of creating a piece they will treasure.