Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Creative Souls

We are incredibly fortunate in this part of the world to be surrounded by some very talented and creative souls.  Maureen McLean is one of these people.  She lives in Federal, a pocket of paradise just inland from Byron Bay, with her husband Stephen and her miniature poodle, Billy.  Maureen sources and refurbishes preloved furniture and antiques.  Her business, Boheme Decor operates out of one of my most favourite stores of all, Lazybones in Bangalow. And despite her full days, she recently welcomed us into her home to have a peek at her treasures and to chat about her life.

How long have you lived in this area and how has your life changed since moving here?
We moved to the area 10 years ago.  Life is very different here.  In Sydney I always worked for someone else.  Here, I wanted to do something creative.  Something that was mine… that I loved doing.  

How have you changed the house?
We didn’t change the house a great deal.  We bought it in Queensland, had it brought down on a truck in 3 pieces and put it back together.  When we saw it we climbed up into it with a ladder.  We wanted 11ft ceilings, verandahs and French doors.  This house was simple but we could see the potential.
We re-roofed it.  Put on new verandas and dropped the eaves.  Ripped out the old kitchen and bathroom.  It’s a hundred year old Colonial house.  We did a lot of the work ourselves.  We painted the entire place – inside with Antique USA and outside – Rosette.  Stephen needed a bit of convincing about the pink but he loves it now.  We loved doing it.  But we didn’t realize the magnitude of the job.  We were thrilled with the adventure. 

What advice would you give people thinking about making a big change or taking on such a project?
I would consider doing it again.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But you have to have time.  You can’t be rushed.  And there was only the 2 of us.  We lived out of one bedroom

What/who are your influences?
I love the coming together of 2 styles – the period of the English in India.  The French in Vietnam.  I love the tradition mixed with the tropics.  I’m inspired by the 19thCentury – Deco, Rococo mixed with the rustic, tropical combination.

What were you hoping to achieve with the decorating?
I think a rustic elegance.  I think the Asian, rustic feel takes the edge off the traditional. 
I wanted it to be relaxing, comfortable.  People enjoy being here  When there are beautiful pieces around – vases, lightfittings… it makes people stop and relax.  It’s a very relaxed lifestyle here.

What is your favourite room/area in the house?
We do spend a lot of time on the verandah.

What does a typical day hold for you?
I spend a lot of time shopping for pieces.  I fly to auctions in Sydney.  I used to drive the truck down and bring it all back myself.   Not any more.  

You live in paradise.  Where do you go when you need a break?
Recently we went fishing in Bermagui.  We had a great time.  Last yr we went around                      Tasmania. 

Where is your favourite place to shop?
 I absolutely adore country antiques in Newrybar.  And I love Strangetrader in Byron.

And the winner is..............
While we're on the topic of beautiful things, the winner of the Las Ninas Textiles oilcloth is.....
Polka Dot Bandit.   If you can send your address details to us at we'll pop it in the post.  Congratulations!

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