The School of Real Living Masterclass Review


So last week saw me jumping on a train into Circular Quay and The Museum of Sydney (Great venue!!) to attend the The School of Real Living Masterclass.

Put together by the Real Living magazine and sponsored by the department store Myer and ISCD (International School of Colour and Design), the class gave the opportunity to both industry professionals and renovators to get to know more about the design process and how to create great homes.

Comprising of five guest speakers with Q&A sessions after each, each was promising to be a packed day. Oh and did I mention the free lunch?? Yay free lunch LOL!!

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Hannah Tribe

The morning session kicked off with Hannah Tribe of Sydney’s Tribe Studio Architects. 

The ethos behind Tribe Studio is designing houses as portraits of the families who will inhabit the space, using long-lasting, sustainable materials that will age beautifully.
The overall sense I got from Hannah was of a very approachable architect that worked with integrity and who realised the importance of spending time with the families who hired her, to ensure an amazing outcome. And let me tell you there were amazing outcomes. I was particularly taken with the Boone Murray Bungalow in Randwick. Simplistic beauty.

Hannah was a witty and engaging speaker, she spoke about ‘Mullet Design’ i.e. houses with period featured fronts and new modern additions at the back (LOL!!). She also advised the use of dimmable lighting in the bathroom, so you can have bright light for eye brow plucking and dimmed lighting for tooth brushing after too much red wine (more LOL!!)

Caroline Choker

Caroline Choker is one half of the design practice, Acme & Co, the other half of the duo is architect Vince Alafaci.

Caroline used one of their most well-known and spoken about projects in Sydney, ‘The Grounds of Alexandria’ for the basis of her talk and how to apply her four steps of design;

Concept + Point of Difference + Space Planning + Layers

This was a big project, but what an amazing place. Set amongst what was a predominantly industrial area, The Grounds comprises of a cafe, a coffee roasters, private function dining, gardens and now a flower shop.

The approach to the design was to showcase the coffee roasting set up, educating and interacting with the cafe visitors about the field to cup process.
Like the business, the design is made up of layers and is sympathetic in its use of materials and concept to the buildings former industrial heritage.

Busy morning, break for lunch YAY!!!

Peter Quarry

Peter Quarry is a qualified psychologist and more recently a RMIT graduate of Interior Design.

Peter’s witty and engaging talk was on the psychological and emotional problems  that a major renovation project can lead to such as money problems, disagreement  and the pressure of high expectations.

Peter’s motto was “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”, good advice!!!

Peter gave his top five tips on her to avoid ‘Reno-Stress’;

  1. Plan, think, delay – Don’t rush
  2. Have a concept and a shared vision
  3. Allocate roles based on interest and expertise, who will make the decisions. The use of a ‘Veto’ system to resolve conflicts
  4. Stay Calm – expect the unexpected
  5. Avoid ‘Renovation Fatigue’ (you know the bit at the end of a project, WHEN YOU JUST WANT IT FINISH AND OVER WITH!!!! ok, deep breath and calm)
Jacinta Preston

Jacinta Preston is a designer and stylist with a swathe of projects under her belt.

Rocking rooms like a rock star was Jacinta’s themed talk, yeh baby!!

She stressed how every home tells a story about its owners and the importance of making it personal to you with the elements you put in. Staying away from trends is important in achieving this.

Jacinta informed us of the key tools she utilises as a designer to rock a room, including a great slide show of what can be achieved:

  1. Colour – to create mood and sometimes the wow factor
  2. Texture – creates interest, especially when working in a neutral colour palette
  3. Scale – Don’t be afraid to use an oversize statement piece, like a light
  4. Pattern – Could be in the form of fabrics or ceramic tiles, again adds interest
  5. Toys – (here we were shown a Mini converted in to a desk, no more to say 😉

Jacinta encouraged us to break the rules (like a rock star, except the smashing up of hotel rooms and the disposal of TV’s out of windows) to create unique spaces.

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Kelly Ross

Kelly Ross was the final speaker of the day. Tutor at the ISCD and also owner of the styling company The Gentry.

Kelly explained to us the creative journey behind interior design and importance of using your instinct and gut feeling to be individual in your space.

Recognising and exploring your own style were the first key elements in creating your perfect space, being true to your sense of style is more important the following the trends.

She took us through some images she found inspiring, hi lighting the wealth of inspiration around us, beyond the limits of solely using interior design sources.

It was a really good day. Truly informative and empowering with some really knowledgable and engaging speakers.

Oh and if that wasn’t enough, check out the goody bag we received on arrival (love the bag, using it all the time now for errands)

Bag Real Living

Keep an eye out for future classes!!!

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