Our next Stay at Home feature found herself stuck in Sydney alone as Australia closed their borders. Claire Lloyd talks to us about turning an unfavourable situation into an opportunity to renovate her apartment. The Australian designer and author discusses minimalist interiors, simplicity and light, and why she’s been cherishing the quiet moments over lockdown.
We’ve seen on Instagram that you have recently started a renovation project, please can you tell us a little bit more about this project?
My partner, Matthew, and I had been in Australia since September renovating a small fisherman’s shack on the west cost of Tasmania. I was meant to return to my home in Greece to join Matthew at the beginning of March, but due to the travel restrictions I was unable to leave. Without realising it, I had been on the last flight out of Tasmania to Sydney before Australia closed its borders. Once back in Sydney, I decided to renovate our apartment, which was in dire need of a complete overhaul. It still had its original 1950’s bathroom and kitchen, which although very charming, it was time for a change. I sat down, drew up plans and searched the internet for fixtures and fittings. I decided if I was to take on this project that I must go all out and do everything, so walls have come down and the floors, wiring and plumbing are being replaced. I now can't leave until it’s finished. Luckily it's only a small apartment!
How have you designed your home workspace to boost creativity during lockdown?
Before stripping out my apartment I spent some very calm time in it. It is an extremely light, bright place, which is essential to me wherever I am. I love living simply, so the space was quite sparse with just a few things I loved around me. This sort of lifestyle gives me clarity and leaves room for me to create. I decided to use one wall as an inspiration wall, so I printed out some favourite photos I’ve taken and taped them up to help to motivate me.
Please could you share your top tips of how our readers can refresh their homes during this period?
I would just say simplify. Surround yourself with things you love and that give you pleasure, if they don’t or have no use cull them. This is a good time to reorganise cupboards, go through paperwork and give away any clothes you no longer wear. Let as much light into your home as possible, listen to music that moves you and, if you can get your hands on fresh flowers, fill your house with them. Scented candles bring me a lot of joy and I have enough stored away so I can burn them whenever I fancy.
How are you staying inspired whilst at home?
I am doing a bit of drawing and painting, something I haven't done for a long time, and looking through magazines and books for images that move me. I'm lucky to live near the harbour and there are some lovely walks along the shore and into the botanical gardens, nature is a huge inspiration. I am collaborating with two friends on a new exciting project. We are all in different countries and time zones, but everything is still possible with modern technology. I have also increased my Greek lessons, which means more homework!
What have you learnt during this time that you will carry on post-lockdown?
I have learnt that we must be more aware of the environment and that we have a huge responsibility to protect our earth. It has been a special time for me here in Sydney, one I know I will look back and say I was in the right place at the right time. I have really enjoyed the quiet time and would like to keep more of that in my life. I have appreciated my friends and being able to keep in touch with them through technology, but I am looking forward to connecting in person. I will continue drawing and painting and look forward to returning to my new studio in Greece.
What is your lockdown indulgence?
Plenty of chocolate and scented candles!