Oh! I am so excited to be sharing this amazing house tour with you all today.
It’s the Melbourne home of artist Paula Mills, who also happens to make up one half of the Sweet William duo. This place is honestly a treasure trove of vintage oddities and flea-market finds. And I just love it. There is so much to see, I could barely cram in all the pictures I have to show. So, let’s get to it…
Tell us about yourself.
Hi my name is Paula Mills, I am a Melbourne-based artist & illustrator and am one half of Sweet William ~ a creative collaboration between myself and my sister, Shelley, who lives in New Zealand. We are both originally from South Africa, have moved around quite a bit and felt the need to connect creatively. We sell art prints and textile art on line at: lovely sweet william and we also have a blog which is a collection of eclectic things that we both love.
Speaking of you blog and shop…What advice can you share with us on getting a business started?
My advice would be to get out there on the world wide web. Blog, flicker, twitter, Face Book, make contacts,comments, keep up to date with it all and use these amazing tools to promote your business. Most of it is free and simply needs the commitment of your time – well worth it.
What kind of home do you live in?
My husband and I have moved 10 times in 12 years across three different continents and are currently in the middle of another move. Therefore most of our homes have been rented and have varied from lovely little Victorians to ugly 80’s blocks. Renting is very challenging and I have found that my belongings are very important to me as they very much make up our home. I have three girls (aged 4, 6 and 8 ) and feel it is important for them to live in a comfortable and creative environment (i.e. pretty messy!)
How would you describe your design style in regards to your home?
Eclectic, vintage, flea market style, bohemian and relaxed.
How has having such a creative career inspired you in decorating?
My creative work draws on quite a lot of nostalgia and childhood memories. This is reflected in my home with vintage finds – I love old interesting things that have a bit of a story and beautiful objects made in a time when things were made to last a lifetime not from the disposable society we currently live in. As I work from home and spend a lot of time at home with my young children, I need to be surrounded by things that inspire me. I love the quote by William Morris; ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’
I love collecting and I see that you do too. What is it that you collect? When did you start collecting and why?
I love the strong, feminine, motherly image of the Madonna and child. When I was pregnant with my first child I was so drawn to the iconic image and started a collection of prints, wall hangings, ornaments, tins, cards and even jewelry which I have added to over the years and with each move. While traveling back to South Africa on a holiday I across the most beautiful African Madonna and child icon which I wish i had bought at the time – it is the one piece missing from my collection. The Madonna and child cushion was the first creative product my sister and I made together, I drew it, my sister sewed it up and embroidered it.
What is your favorite project that you completed, in regards to your home?
In between all the renting we have had the opportunity to own and renovate one home, in South Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of buying an ugly house with good bones and transforming it simply by opening it up and letting light in. We knocked down a few internal walls and painted the wooden floors white, which was the same as having a white canvas on which I could add all my pattern and color.
Thank you so much Paula for the lovely tour of your home. And of course the interview as well. You can visit Paula at the following links…
Blog… Sweet William
Shop… also named Sweet William