Stemming from a family of furniture entrepreneurs, design runs through Sally Walvin’s veins. From teaching art to schoolchildren to a foray in property staging, she has been ‘creating style’ in all sorts of ways for almost as long as she can remember.
These days, as a seasoned stylist and decorator, Sally’s signature approach is all about striking an artful balance between making spaces captivating but not chaotic. Celebrating a decade in business this year, she has recently completed a magnificent oceanfront apartment for clients in Palm Beach, Queensland, which epitomises this visual philosophy.
Sally has kindly offered us a glimpse behind the scenes of one of her latest projects. But first, a little more about the path that led her here.
On early memories of falling in love with design…
Design has always been part of my life as my parents had their own furniture business. Dad was a furniture agent so we had some great pieces at home, which we were taught to care for; I think the love grew from there.
Meanwhile, Mum was incredibly resourceful and really knew how to create a home and that has really stayed with me. I always loved the way she was able to put things together – and still do.
On getting started in the industry…
Before founding ‘Creating Style’ 10 years ago I actually worked in primary education, where I loved incorporating art with the kids and even decorating the classroom.
After that I moved on to interiors as a profession. My brother happens to have a large styling company and they brought me on board to style and install apartment packages. Then, a little later, as my children were growing up, I had more time available and began helping friends decorate their homes too; the business organically grew from there.
Going out on my own felt like a natural next step, especially as my husband has a building company and we have built and renovated several times ourselves. Design is definitely in my blood and I feel really lucky to have turned it into a career.
Sally’s style in a sentence…
Paired back but eclectic and worldly.
Her greatest design lessons…
Go with your gut.
Make the space interesting but not visually overwhelming.
One style rule to live by…
Less is more. Minimalism is not the lack of something, it is the perfect amount of something.
All-time favourite materials to work with…
A mixture of timber, weaves and beautiful fabrics. I love to use the colours of nature.
On seeking and finding inspiration…
It comes from everywhere - my surroundings, travel and the human imagination. I love to get clients involved in this part of the design journey - when you can bounce ideas off one another, other people can offer so much inspiration.
A dream project on the bucket list…
I love styling and decorating in general but a contemporary scheme with hints of coastal references is always a dream project. The Palm Beach apartment I worked on a few months ago was very much a reflection of this.
Tell us more… Can you share the brief for the home?
The family wanted a relaxed, welcoming sanctuary for friends and family to visit. The goal was to create a beautiful, natural, calming oasis. There was so much natural beauty to work with already, it was important to not let it be too visually over the top; instead, we connected the spaces with a soft neutral palette to create an aesthetic flow throughout.
What was the vision behind the design?
The whole concept centred on letting the outside in - so the vision came directly from the environment and the apartment’s close proximity to the ocean.
Your favourite room in the home?
It would have to be the lounge/dining area, which captures the panoramic views of the amazing wrap-around balcony. I also love the textures we introduced to the master retreat.
And lastly, any ultimate hero pieces?
The handcrafted limited-edition Naga Buffet that greets you in the entrance.
Sally Walvin at Creating Style
0416 136 049