An Australian interior design icon, Shaynna Blaze has been a leading figure in the industry for the last decade. Not only is she an award winning interior designer but she is also a hugely successful television personality, presenting several of the most popular interior programmes on Australian television. She talks to The LuxPad about Australian interior style and why Cate Blanchett would be her dream client….
How did you first get into the interior industry and what keeps you there today?
I started my first full time design job at twenty, straight out of college and I had the responsibility of designing showrooms around the country. It was a huge responsibility that was at times very daunting but gave me the best decision making skills that has filtered into the rest of my career. There are so many things about the industry that keeps me here. I feel we are at the most exciting times with a broad access to materials and design not governed by a particular style. The biggest reward in this industry is seeing first-hand how much you can change people’s lives for the better by improving their environment.
Last year you won the coveted Favorite Female Personality category at the ASTRA Awards – were you surprised and how did you feel?
I was dumbfounded! Working on Selling Houses Australia is hard work and about being part of such an incredible team is what the show is all about. To to be singled is a huge honor but I know I am only up there because of the on screen dynamics of Andrew, Charlie and myself.
You have had great success with many of the TV shows that you work on, including Selling Houses Australia, which holds the record as the highest rated series in subscription television history for season eight – what do you think is the secret to success?
Australia is obsessed with real estate and renovations and people can watch one episode to get a full makeover of a house and follow a family’s story. People can see a little of themselves, or someone they know in the home-owners and I think the human element of the show has a lot to do with its success. We have a great team and all of us seriously love what we do and that definitely transpires within the show.
What are your top three tips for transitional interior style to keep your home looking good through the seasons?
1) The key is work out your own personal style first to get the right basics for you to build on.
2) Have a base color palette that gives you flexibility with changing trends. Most would assume that would be a neutral base but to me it is all about warm and cool and whether you love white and grey or cream and stone as a base to build you colors on.
3) Embrace change – I hear so many times ‘how can I safe-guard my home from being dated’. Interiors move and change quicker than they ever have before so be open to simple things like changing your cushions and artwork to get a lift in your home.
How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
Confident; I am not afraid of bold colors, taking risks but most of all my style says, ‘this is who I am’. You can’t create that type of style without making mistakes and experimenting and I hope my style keeps developing. My favourite room at the moment is my powder room at my studio; it is decadent, over the top and puts a huge smile on the faces of everyone who walks in the room. Why do they smile? Because it’s not safe.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Never assume someone knows who you are.
How would you describe the stereotypical ‘Australian’ interior style – do you think there is one?
There is a contrasted worldwide view of Australian style that we either live on the beach or tough it out in the harsh desert environment. Australia is not only a melting pot of landscapes but cultures that have all brought their own influence of food, lifestyle and architecture. The best thing about Australian style is how eclectic and broad it is.
If you could work on the interior design for any celebrity’s home in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to work on the home of Cate Blanchett. She is a chameleon and close to an enigma but at the same time exudes a wholesome base with a protective focus on her family. It would be the ultimate challenge of surprise, exuberance and constraint.
What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday?
I can honestly say Sundays are like a distant luxury these days as I tend to be filming or catching up on paperwork. But if I could have my Sundays back I would stay in my Pj’s until midday, read the weekend newspapers while sipping endless pots of tea. Then go to a winery or restaurant with a few friends and stay there till they move you on as they get ready for dinner service.
What’s next for you and where do you see yourself in five years?
I am bringing out a lighting range in the next couple of months to complement my furniture, rug and art range which is very exciting. I have a couple of huge design jobs on the go and we are about to start filming the next series of Selling Houses Australia and The Block so that is 2015 sorted! In five years I see myself working on my own design show to help people in their homes, rather than selling them and having a full line of interior products that are available internationally. There is so much scope in this industry to be able to tackle many areas of design that in five years I see myself as never being bored.