Kiwi expat Tara Angus lives and breathes interior design. Style director Louise Hilsz visits her incredible home in Melbourne to get the inside scoop on her very stylish life.
It's hard not to be envious of Tara Angus's lifestyle. The design guru works at Space Furniture in contract sales by day and parties hard in her adopted home town of Melbourne by night. We catch up with her at her Collingwood apartment between cocktails at some seriously swanky rooftop bars to find out how you can steal her style...
What made you move to Melbourne from Auckland, NZ?
Truth be told, I had one too many reds one Sunday evening and booked a one-way ticket, but the idea of moving to a bigger, brighter city had been on my mind since I spent five months in Turkey and travelling around Europe.
What do you love about Melbourne?
Melbourne is a lot like Auckland in many ways but the city's architectural history, diversity, ‘in your face’ street culture has a real rawness to it. Melbourne's inhabitants have a much more unapologetic individual style and the constant change in the cityscape really appeals to me. The streets are in constant flux with bars and restaurants opening and closing each day, it really is a social playground for the privileged Peter Pans of my generation.
Where do you live and work?
I live on Smith Street in Collingwood and work in contract sales at Space Furniture inRichmond.
What’s a typical working day for you?
It starts early, often after a late one the night before. I walk from Collingwood to Richmond, where I work out for 45 minutes at the gym. Exercise is my way of dealing with stress. I can feel the vibration of emails on my phone coming in full force. It is always a furniture sales proposal (one of many I have started that week) and I am constantly trying to meet deadlines. I am often on the road visiting my clients' studios or presenting to interior teams. No day is the same.
What’s your career high to date?
Having lunch with Dutch designer and architectural, interior expert Marcel Wanders. It was such a privilege, but I have no selfie to prove it. My pride would not allow me to ask for one, which is also one of my biggest career regrets.
What advice would you give other women wanting to work overseas?
Do it! I have lots of successful girlfriends and wonder why they haven't made the leap to a bigger pond. There are so many career opportunities for hard-working, talented women in this city.
What do you love most about working in the interior design industry?
The brands I work with and my clients. We share the same love for interior pieces and the designers who create them, so it doesn’t really feel like work. My colleagues and clients have become friends.
What trends do you love right now?
Progressive luxury meets creative excellence – the trend forged by Patricia Urquiola, a Spanish architect and interior designer. Her influence on contemporary design will never disappear, she has left massive footprint on some of the biggest brands.
Who are your favourite local and international designers?
Local to me is still NZ. Resident is a collective of like-minded designers, such as Simon James, Tim Rundle, Chris Martin and Scott Bridgens, who are making massive waves internationally. How could that not make you burst with Kiwi pride? They are ones to watch now and in the coming years. In Australia, SP01 is producing some amazing pieces for a relatively new brand. Internationally, it’s too hard to name one. Italian brand Edra and Brazil's Campana brothers would be my all-time favourites. The pieces they produce aren’t just functional, they’re sculptural in their own right.
Angus’s open-plan living and dining area in her Collingwood apartment
How would you describe your personal interior style?
Unexpected – I like what I like. My home is so unlike many of the proposals I work on. There’s no themed colour palette. It’s more of an archive and collection of pieces I make work.
What are your favourite interior stores in Melbourne?
Castorina & Co and Cappocchi – these are the stores I want to be able to shop in when I grow up! – and of course Space. It houses the brands I always fawned over and wanted to own as spatial design student. Back then, I never would have dreamed I’d own an Edra Vermelha chair. I feel pretty lucky to have one.
Where do you shop for vintage buys?
Melbourne it a true reflection of the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Antiques bazaars are everywhere. Today everyone has cottoned on to vintage style and prices aren’t quite as good as they used to be. In saying that, there are some amazing buys still to be had. I like Hunted Antiques in Kilsyth, Chapel St Bazaar, Smith St Bazaar and Vintage Garage in Preston.
What do you think makes a great interior?
Individuality and fearlessness. Ownership in setting trends, not following them.
What are your most treasured possessions?
Everything in my home. If I were to lose all my possessions tomorrow, my most valued things would be the memories they hold. That’s probably why I find it so hard to let anything go.
What do you always have on your bedside table?
My JWDA Lamp. It’s hands down the best nightlight an adult could ever own.
Angus in her bedroom with her JWDA lamp and collectables
What does beauty mean to you?
Confidence to be who you really want to be and wearing it well. Generic-ness is the worst foundation you can wear.
What is your one beauty indulgence?
Botox. I started preventative Botox at 28 and I am really happy I invested in that plan.
What do you always have in your beauty bag?
Alpha-H skincare products. I use the Balancing Moisturiser and Gentle Exfoliant every day.
Angus’s home is full of individual pieces she has collected on her travels
Favourite rooftop bar?
Siglo – nothing beats the taste of a fine French rosé and the smell of an expensive cigar.
Best bar for a romantic drink?
Murmur Piano Bar before 8pm.
Best wine bar?
The Moon on Stanley Street, Collingwood.
Best tapas bar?
Bar Tini at MoVida in Hosier Lane.
Where would you go if it was your last night in Melbourne?
MurmurPiano Bar, Warburton Lane, after 8pm.
Angus’s favourite places to eat and drink in Melbourne
The BeautyEQ team travelled to Melbourne with thanks to Visit Melbourne.