At home with artist and designer, Elli Byrne
We caught up with artist and designer, Elli Byrne, to learn about her approach to styling the quaint and cosy interior of her home: Little Lennox House. Relocated from Grafton by its previous owners, the refurbished Queenslander is now settled in the coastal town of Lennox Head, about 20 minutes south of Byron Bay.
Tell us about your approach to styling Little Lennox House. Is the interior more a reflection of your personal style, or the spirit of the home itself?
When styling our home, I try to find pieces of furniture that I know I will love for many years to come. I love interiors that feel cozy and welcoming. I’m very inspired by @amberinteriors and @mcgeeandco, they mix textured and colours beautifully to create this feeling of ‘home’. It’s hard to to describe this style, but the words farmhouse, coastal and cottage seem to sum it up quite well. I’ve loved this mix of styles for as long as I can remember, and it’s part of the reason I fell in love with our house. The quaint details of the cottage really lean into this cozy feeling. There are a few trends at the moment that tempt me, but I try to remember that these will go out of fashion as quickly as they came in.
How have you curated the furniture and decorative elements of your home? Can you tell us about some of your favourite pieces, and any stories behind them?
Very slowly! It’s been about two years and I still don’t feel like I’ve finished styling the home. I’m one of those people that stews over a purchase for days. There are quite a few pieces of furniture I love in the home, all for different reasons. First, I love our white sideboard in the dining room. When we first moved in, I was trying to cut costs and so I made my partner drive 40 minutes to get an ugly old sideboard from Facebook Marketplace so I could give it a makeover. As I started preparing it for sanding, I opened one of the draws to find an old bag of a suspicious grass-like substance (well past its use-by-date) and an old pair of scissors (you can imagine what they were used for). The funny part is, I LOVE those scissors. I use them everyday haha!
I also love our bedside tables. I had a very specific image in my head of what I wanted: timber bedsides with a draw and a shelf for books. I searched the internet for weeks and couldn’t find anything. Then one day my friend called me and said Hope & May had two bedside tables sitting outside the store on sale. They were perfect! I rushed to get them and now they remind me of my thoughtful best friend.
Have you found that operating your business from your home studio has influenced the way you have styled your space?
I hadn’t thought about that before, and actually I don’t think it has, which is kind of nice because that means I have stayed very true to who I am in decorating the home (my poor partner doesn’t get much say). My office feels like me and it has a pretty similar vibe to the rest of the home. Having my own art and design business means that I often have to ‘put myself out there’. People aren’t just buying a design or artwork, they also want to connect with the maker. Although I find this very vulnerable, it forces me to be honest and true with who I am.
Are there particular materials or colours you’re drawn to, especially being an artist and designer yourself?
I love neutral and soft colours; especially anything earthy and warm in tone. Sage, rust, beige, brown and creamy whites are all featured heavily in our home and in my work.
We love how you’ve styled our Salt Living 100% French linen bedding in your bedroom. What’s your advice for styling a beautiful and welcoming bed?
I was blown away by the quality of Salt Living linen bedding! It’s so luxurious, and the subtle pinstripe pattern is right up my alley. I love to style a bed with lots of cushions. Euros are a must for me, and they need to have a feather or faux feather insert so they look plush and are ‘chop-able’. It’s handy to have neutral coloured euros so you can use them with different linen combinations. I love the pinstripe duvet cover with white euros and a decorative cushion. A big throw at the end of the bed is also great for adding texture and softness to the room.
Have you always preferred sleeping on 100% French linen bedding?
We are actually quite new to linen bedding and I don’t know why we have waited so long! My partner and I love how well it breathes. It also softens with age, which we love.
How would you compare sleeping on 100% French bed linen to linen made from other fabrics?
There is something so luxurious about 100% French linen bedding. It makes no sound when you move in your sleep, whereas our other cotton and polyester sheets are so loud and stiff. I also adore how great linen is for temperature regulation. We live in Lennox Head, so it gets HOT in summer and linen is perfect for that.
What do you love most about your neighbourhood? Do you have any favourite local businesses?
Oh there are so many things to love about Lennox! My favourite would have to be the beautiful headland walks. It’s so much quieter than our neighbouring town Byron Bay. Sometimes you have the beautiful scenic headland walk all to yourself. Aqua blue waters, whales jumping, dolphins swimming. It’s magic. We also have a few really trendy places to eat (a serious hobby of mine). Shelter cafe is our go to spot for brunch or a special dinner date night.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day starts with a big cuddle from my little cavoodle, Albi. I’m a night owl, so I like a slow morning. I take Albi for a walk, and then around 9am, I waft into my office to start the day with some emails. Sometimes I even stay in my pyjamas, because it’s comfiest. I then spend most of the day designing logos for clients or drawing commissions. When I need a break or a change of scenery, I sometimes move outside to our lovely outdoor lounge to work in the sun. Then when my partner comes home, we cook something yummy for dinner and watch trash TV. If I’m super busy, I might work while the TV is on. It’s a lovely life, and it has lots of variety - I get bored easily and am constantly looking for the next design adventure or project.
Do you have any favourite self-care rituals?
I love to give the house a really good tidy on the weekends then light a few candles and enjoy the space while it looks picture perfect. I have a bit of a candle obsession actually, we have about 30 candles around the home at the moment. I also have recently beat the bad habit of biting my nails, so I’m loving nail polish. Again only ever painting my nails rust, sage or beige – to match the house of course!