Rural Upbringing meets City Styling

Did you know our Director and Lead Designer Sophie Kost grew up on a farm in the South West of Victoria? This begs the question- how does a rural gal, born and bred in the country, become an interior designer and stylist for some undeniably urban homes including inner city warehouse conversions? We went straight to the source for this one.



I had a truly wonderful, idyllic upbringing near Port Campbell which is on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, somewhat half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide. My family lived and worked on a farm, and I have no doubt that my rural upbringing has hugely informed my city-based styling and decorating studio.


Our upbringing often becomes a roadmap which instinctively guides us in our directions and our endeavours. I often find myself almost subconsciously drawn to projects that lend themselves beautifully to a touch of country. A recent My Beautiful Abode project in Mitcham in Melbourne’s leafy East is a perfect example. The living room of the space had a wall of glass windows looking out onto an undoubtedly rural vista of gums. A beautiful tree-stump table I unearthed at one of my fabulous suppliers was the perfect piece for that space, and it’s gorgeous texture reminded me of ‘home’.


I love the sense of character and history that can be unveiled, discovered or celebrated through interior styling in even the most contemporary of urban settings, a blend of city and country that creates a memorable, beautiful space.


When one has spent their formative years trying not being blown off the Twelve Apostles and across the Southern Ocean, coziness and warmth becomes an essential to design.  Somewhat paradoxically, a feeling of openness and space is something I naturally gravitate towards creating in my designing. I love spaces that have a sense of freshness, relation or basically just ‘unstuffy’ interiors that are reflective of rural living, that are bright and airy. This is achieved through thoughtful consideration of colour, textures and materials, such as timbers, crisp fabrics, and blues and natural hues.


I love to use ‘country’ references to compliment, consolidate and give weight and stability to distinctly urban spaces. Window furnishings are a fabulous way to blend ‘traditional’ with urban and contemporary style, and the use of artwork that celebrates rural landscapes are a beautiful, evocative way to reduce the impact of living in concrete jungle, providing a visual respite and that sense of space and calm that’s symbolic of living away from the urban sprawl.  Some of my favourite photographers are Laura Manariti, Kara Rosenlund and Joanne Piechota and I love placing their beautiful artworks within an urbanised setting such as a warehouse conversion or a renovated inner city terrace, or a contemporary apartment.


Is your home a little too city and too little country? Or vice versa? We’d love to work with you to create a sense of space evocative of a rural landscape.





Creating A Welcoming Home

Our lead designer Sophie was invited to contribute to this article about “Creating a welcoming home”  here is the link to read on;

8 Ways To Increase Your Property Value

Our lead designer, Sophie, was invited to comment on this article about increasing the value of your property.  Here is the link to the article.

A Journey for the Eye

Oh, how we love a vignette here at the My Beautiful Abode studio. Take a wander through our Instagram feed and you’ll see how layered styling is an interior concept that defines our work. Why? We believe that a space with layers adds depth, specificity, personality, texture and interest, creating living vignettes that appear effortless, yet stylish and put together, or as our lead designer Sophie says (verbatim!) well resolved.


When a room is well resolved, the eye goes on a beautiful journey around a room, similar to the visual journey we have when standing in front of a beautiful, interesting picture. Consider a beautifully styled bedroom- from the entrance, the eye would travel to the end of the bed, then up towards the pillows and cushions, then across to a bedside lamp, then back to the headboard or artwork above the bed, across to the opposite bedside table where other details beyond the lamp are noticed, and then back to the end of the bed. It’s a circular journey that most people aren’t aware they are experiencing, and one which gives that sense (or not) of a space that is well resolved, balanced and interesting.


We see our role as interior specialists as creating spaces that are well-resolved, and we identify quickly missing elements that prevent a space from being all that it could. Our approach to layered styling is intentional repetition of colours, or of textures or even finishes such as metallic. Whilst no doubt we adore a beautiful vignette on a tabletop, we go beyond the usual horizontal surface styling to incorporate height and depth with lighting, greenery and artwork. We place the fundamental pieces in a room, and then add pieces to fill the gaps that create a journey for the eye to travel across and through, and create interesting spaces without cluttering.

There’s a fine line between clutter and styling. Our approach is intentional and considered. Every piece has a purpose, and is relevant and appropriate to the space, as after all, people need to live in their homes. The difference, as Sophie says, ‘we’re styling, not plonking.’


Take a peek through our Houzz boards and our Instagram and Facebook pages for examples of our styling approach. Of course, if your home feels less styled, and more ‘plonked’, please get in touch. We’ll transform clutter to seemingly effortless style.

A Touch of Greenery- the essential element

When we work with our clients to create their sanctuary, we have a list of ‘essentials’ that we compile through meeting with clients, viewing the space (s) that are to be designed and decorated, and our client brief which details the function and purposes of the space, existing furniture or artwork to be included, and of course desires and must-avoid-at-all-costs items. From this, we create a lookbook for the space which always, and we mean ALWAYS includes some form of greenery. Why? Because plants are a beautiful and effective way to add an organic element to a space, and move it away from a sense of unrealistic perfectionism.

We absolutely love the use of indoor plants and foliage in a well-considered space.  Of course, there’s the concept of bringing the outdoors in, which is such a huge part of how we live in Australia, but it’s also the textural elements that add depth, height, interest and structure to a room. Basically, we see them as beautiful decorative items that enhances any and every space.


There’s a ton of research about how plants can improve the air quality of a space, but the other reason we love plants in living spaces is because they soften a room, and they change as they grow, evolving as the room evolves. However, it’s not just living plants that add so much to a space- we’re completely and utterly faux-tolerant here at My Beautiful Abode, and we think faux plants are a fabulous option for the commitment-phobics out there, and those who have decidedly black thumbs. We often mix and match faux plants with real in our designs, and of course our trade connections means we have access to the best faux plants available on the market. Here’s something you may not know- the best faux plants aren’t perfect. Rather, they resemble their living counterparts, with ‘sun damage’ and brown tips on the ends of vibrant green foliage evocative of real plants.


Greenery doesn’t need to be restricted to plants though- foliage and flowers are always wonderful additions to a space. A few of us at the My Beautiful Abode studio (OK, mainly Sophie) are fiercely committed to the rescue of foliage, having been known to salvage plants and foliage from demolition sites to give them new life in the home of a lucky client or friend, or to welcome visitors to the studio.


Here’s three tips to including greenery in your home:pot-plants-on-coffee-table


1- don’t be scared to go big- both plants and foliage.

2- protect your floorboards by using appropriate saucers and basins

3- don’t forget to put your plants outside in the rain from time to time for some love and attention.


Are you as besotted with greenery as we are? We’re going to go on a bit of a greenery image sharing binge on our Houzz boards and our Instagram and Facebook pages. Let us know your favourite!


Bunker Down in Style

Winter in Melbourne- some of us at the My Beautiful Abode studio love it, whilst others want to run away to Far North Queensland until mid-October. Sophie, our lead designer is of the former opinion and welcomes any opportunity to be lavish with a throw rug and some cushions with luxurious fabric.


It’s possible to bunker down for winter without feeling as though you’re in a bunker. In fact, Sophie’s recent trip to Denfair 2017* has given her a massive injection of mojo for bunkering down in style, including, dare we say it, creating beautiful, elegant spaces evocative of a … man cave!


Texture comes into it’s own in winter- we’re talking soft, luxe fabric, and rich, deep shades. Colours featured at Denfair were musk pinks leaning into port wine reds and rusts, and navy blue paired with jewel tones such as deep greens, purples and contrasts of metallic gold or brass.


Materials that cozy-up the coldest of days include blonde timber (American oak), leather and concrete, and metallic and gloss surfaces infuse light, joined by light fittings of spheres and circles.


Denfair predicts a distinctly masculine aesthetic, and this is an interior theme that works beautifully across spaces. Cashmere for warming up winter (in dark, moody tones) is ideal to have on hand- after all, you have the season’s full permission to hibernate on the lounge with a favourite series. In keeping with the man cave concept, we recommend Breaking Bad, although Game of Thrones paired with a faux fur throw is also a good option.



We’ll be sharing lots of winter warmer inspiration on our Houzz boards and our Instagram and Facebook pages, but is your space feeling less stylish and more bunker? Please get in touch. We’d love to work with you!


*Want a flashback of last year’s Denfair?

MBA On the Road- bringing city design to regional Victoria


We’ve just returned to the My Beautiful Abode studio after a fantastic, albeit whirlwind trip to Warrnambool in rural Victoria, where we had a design consultation with a beautiful home owner who wanted a little more face-to-face support in creating their dream space than we provide via our online design service.  Our client moved to the regional city just over a year ago, and has struggled with the lack of resources available to her in her new local area, and worked with My Beautiful Abode to design her living and dining room, sourcing appropriate (and gorgeous!) furnishings from our network of manufacturers in Melbourne. When they’re ready for collection, our client is going to meet us at their headquarters with both a trailer and her husband to collect their beautiful new goodies. Whilst she’s with us in Melbourne, we’re also going to do a quick run around some of our favourite haunts (possibly sans husband) for her to pick out some soft furnishings and a few other bits and bobs to complement her new pieces.


Regional cities don’t have the same access to interiors services and stockists that Melbourne design lovers take for granted, and buying trips such as that outlined above, paired with expert design support, offer country-based people a Melbourne design experience. It’s perfect for people with beautiful taste and know exactly what they would like for their home, but are unable to create the look they want with the resources they have locally. It’s a service that’s equally perfect for people who would like the support of an interior designer to create their sanctuary, but such services aren’t available.


Here’s how it works:


  • Sophie, our lead designer, visits you in your home and talks about your space.
  • Sophie goes away and does her research, and comes up with a visual look book, a detailed shopping list and perhaps an itinerary.
  • You come to Melbourne for a personal shopping trip according to the itinerary and off we go shopping, taking advantage of our extensive network of tried and tested manufacturers and suppliers- the vast majority of which give no access to the general public!



  • If you love what Sophie comes up with via her look book (but of course!) we go ahead and preorder everything according to your wishes, you utilise our personal shopping service, and simply await delivery.*


Easy peasy- a Melbourne design experience for people who live in rural and regional Australia! If you’re frustrated by the lack of interior design and decorating options in your local area please get in touch. Currently, this service is limited to the South West of Victoria- clients outside this area may like to explore our e-decorating service.


*Please note, some of our suppliers are unable to deliver outside metropolitan Melbourne, and pick up by client will be necessary. We are able to provide a list of recommended courier companies.

Decorating Ideas: How To Fake Your Way To A Larger Space

We were invited to contribute an article about decorating a small house or apartment.  You can read it here. 

5 Things Every Living Room Needs

We were recently invited to share tips on living room essentials for My Deal.  Follow the link to see more.

Forget the Before and After…

We’ve just spent a lovely afternoon immersed in the analytics of our website, Houzz boards,  Instagram and Facebook pages. Wowsers, you do like a before and after, don’t you? Time and time again, our transformation images and posts perform exceedingly well compared to other keywords and hashtags, second only to behind the scenes posts, which signify the ‘during’ of a before and after transformation process.


Before and afters are dramatic. They’re easy to visualise for your own experience and they tell a distinct story. In fact, around 62%  of new clients found us via our before and afters, and request a similar transformation for their space. However, there’s not so much focus on the transformative ‘during’ that happens between the before and the bedazzling after.












When we hold an initial meeting with a client, either on site at your home or virtually via our e-decorating service, we get to the nitty-gritty of your life and your space- the detail is where we unearth the gold!


We see our role as helping people articulate their vision for a space. We ask about your space as it is currently, how you’d like it to be, how you intend to use it, the feelings you want the space to evoke (energised, relaxed, connected to your family, or a place to connect uninterrupted with the AFL) and any other considerations that need to be taken into account.  We clarify your vision, and then we bring it to life, or give you the tools to do so.


We might also speak with other trades, particularly in the case of a new build or a renovation project, and we come up with a visual look book and a detailed shopping list which will inform everything from flooring, to window treatments, and everything in between. Bottom line, there’s a lot of prep work behind a successful ‘after’, and the more prep we are able to do, the smoother the process.  We don’t dictate your interiors; rather we translate your feelings and desires into the space you may not be able to verbalise. The number one consideration? Trust in the process, and soon you’ll be enjoying your own ‘after.’

Want your own before and after? Please get in touch. We’d love to work with you!





My Beautiful Abode