YOU ARE BRAVE textiles printed fabrics by textile designer Michelle Kistima-Menser

Customer Portrait : Inside Rae’s Beautiful Coastal Home Shaped By Love & Family

Michelle Kistima-MenserComment

This month, I decided I wanted to get to know my customers a little better so I approached one lovely, happy lady and ventured down the south coast from Sydney to a place with a pretty little name … Shell Cove.

This is where my very first newsletter subscriber Rae & her beautiful family, consisting of 3 generations, all live with their adorable little pup Emi. The family of 6 had only just moved into their new home when I arrived and already the place felt and looked like a sanctuary for family and friends to be themselves & enjoy each others company. 

Rae & husband Paul both place a big emphasis on creating a home with warmth … one that values the individuals living in it but also one that inspires happy gatherings, whether that maybe around the huge dining table, watching a show in the TV room or poolside.

Throughout the house there’s a comfortable, relaxed feeling with an obvious influence of the coastal environment. With a classic yet relaxed style of decorating, Rae has an obvious passion for creating her dream family home. I’m just privileged to have been able to see inside their sanctuary & get to know them a little bit better.

Here's what Rae had to say about her family, her beautiful home and how she goes about decorating it ...

Tell us about the area you live in? Why do you choose to live there?

We live on the beautiful NSW South Coast in a suburb called Shell Cove, about 20 mins south of Wollongong. The lifestyle and the cooler climate are great. We have a fantastic work/life balance from living here, we have been forced to slow down and enjoy life because that is just what happens down here. It is so refreshing.

* Image courtesy of Rae

* Image courtesy of Rae

What made you decide to move from the inner suburbs of Sydney?

Our initial reason to move from Sydney to Wollongong was to be closer to Paul’s 3 children. We were spending the bulk of our weekends with the children just traveling in the car, no quality time and Wollongong is halfway between where the children were living and where we were working at the time so we thought hey we should just give this a try and see how it goes and to be honest while we have benefited as a family, Paul and I have had the most benefit I think, we are more relaxed and live a much happier and laid back lifestyle and I think this is reflected in our family as a whole. It is the best thing we could have ever done, we are so happy.

*  Image courtesy of Rae

* Image courtesy of Rae

*  Image courtesy of Rae

* Image courtesy of Rae

Who inspires you the most & why?

My Dad has always been my biggest inspiration, teaching me to be the person I am today. My stepmother Denise was a huge inspiration to me, she was a true homemaker in the true old fashion sense and I loved that about her. She taught me a lot about not just creating a house that looks pretty but a home filled with love and laughter for our family. And my family inspires me on a daily basis, Paul and I love to work together to create a home for our family to be proud of, to relax in and be ourselves in and to create memories for a lifetime.

* Image courtesy of Rae

* Image courtesy of Rae

What inspires your aesthetic & why?

I love The Hamptons/American Classic look I think mainly because it is a timeless and classic look, It never dates. The ocean and the area that we live in are constant inspiration and try to create a classic but relaxed atmosphere at home.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday morning?

Paul and I love to head out for a quiet coffee and take Emi for a walk along one of the local beaches. North Wollongong or Kiama mostly.

Inside Raes Beautiful Coastal Home

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever had to do?

Or something you’ve had to overcome? (In life, work, anywhere?) – 2 things come straight to mind, packing up and moving from Sydney to the South Coast was a big decision and then along with my sister to read my Dad’s Eulogy at his funeral (that was hard)

Where do you like to shop for homewares/gifts?

I love shopping at homewares and furniture shops in the local little towns down here, Haven and Space in Berry is one of my favourites. I have discovered a love for online shopping from places like Zanui, Temple and Webster, even Ebay has been a great place to get some bargains. Places like Freedom are also a favourite for big items.

What are you reading & listening to right now?

Can you recommend any good books, music, exhibitions or places to see? I love to read both fiction and autobiographies. Some of my favourite authors are Barbara Taylor Bradford, Paullina Simons, and Penny Vincennzi. One of my favourite autobiographies was about Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, very interesting! And I am addicted to magazines, any and all home magazines. Music is another great love, anything from classical to jazz to rock and all things in between but I have to say that we listen to a lot of Jazz, I find it so soothing and relaxing. The NGA in Canberra is having an exhibition starting in December, Treasures from The Palace of Versailles, I would love to go and see that.

Rae's Home image by YOU ARE BRAVE

What hobbies/interests do you have?

Cook, read, spend time with family, travel, I have discovered a love for gardening so am trying to learn more about that, forever perfecting our home decorating.

What’s your favourite decorating tip?

I always try to not stick to one specific style or trend, I like what I like and I buy pieces that I love and then work them into our home. I also live by starting with a neutral background and adding texture and colour from there.

* Images courtesy of Rae

A big Thank you to lovely Rae & her family for allowing me an insight into their home & family life :)