“From the light source, the air we breathe, to the materials we touch, they all need to be considered and conscious for me to feel grounded within my home”.
Grounded Rugs are delighted to introduce you to Liz Linforth of Studio Mae, an interior design firm with offices in London and Sydney. Advocating the idea that good design is not only beautiful, but must also enhance well-being and happiness, Studio Mae, have carved out a niche in a new world, where homes have become our ultimate sanctuary and wellness our ultimate goal.
In her account for ‘A Grounded Life’, Liz, shares how she combines scientific research on colour, lighting and material selection to uplift us, how she plans her day thoroughly to include non-negotiable time for meditating and recalibrating, and how changing her perceptions to a very challenging situation resulted in a surprising new opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally.
Please enjoy this mindful and life-affirming account of a very Grounded Life, lived by Liz Linforth.
1.Where do you call home?
Currently, Manly - Sydney, though after living in London for 4 years, home is wherever my husband is.
2.What does ‘home’ mean to you?
The home environment is everything to me; it is where I connect with the ones I love the most, recharge and unwind. I expect a lot from this environment, so it’s incredibly important that it contributes positively to my (growing) family’s well-being. From the light source and the air, we breathe to the materials we touch, they all need to be considered and conscious for me to feel grounded within my home.
3.What are the elements that help you transform a house into your home?
A home tells a story of the people who live there, whereas a house is simply a collection of inanimate objects. It is important that the personal objects that hold sentimental value or reflect a point in time (like travels or adventures) have the opportunity to take centre stage. We do this by encouraging a wholesome minimalist approach to all of our designs, which means a warm and neutral palette combined with a decluttered / minimalist house allowing ‘breathing’ space for the treasured items to really stand out.
4.What creative projects find you most excited and energised?
We still get excited by every project that comes along, mainly because it is an opportunity to teach our clients more about how their home or space can improve their wellbeing. Clients who are engaged and willing to push the boundaries in their thinking towards interior design create an incredible energy that can truly elevate a project. We love that!
5.Which life and/or work projects are you most proud of?
We are just about to complete two incredible projects - one in each hemisphere, Mosman-Sydney and Notting Hill, London. I’m so proud of each of these projects as they are the perfect reflection of what Studio Mae is all about. The designs on the surface may appear to be completely different, however they are both based in the same fundamental principles of wellness. I love showing clients how they can still express their individual style whilst creating a home that is calm and wholesome.
6.Could you share with us some personal insights into a challenging time in your life?
Like most people 2020 was a really challenging time. Personally, I was still living in London and developing Studio Mae when a simple surgery turned into a life altering saga. A botched operation in France meant I needed a follow-up procedure in London - that was until my surgeon came down with Covid. The pandemic in London seemed to be going from bad to worse so we made a quick decision to fly back to Australia that day with every intention of returning. Whilst recuperating in Sydney we saw that the UK was spiralling downwards and made the decision to remain in Australia for good. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to the lives we had made there, and professionally it meant physically leaving my business partner while we were just getting momentum, to start Studio Mae Australia. It was an extremely challenging and stressful year. With that said, a situation like that can unearth amazing opportunities. Our positivity and perseverance through all of that has resulted in Studio Mae confidently running in both cities.
7.What did you learn about yourself throughout this challenge?
It’s very humbling to learn that you are not invincible and can’t ‘do it all’ on your own. I was in such a fortunate situation to have an incredibly supportive family, husband and business partner that made this huge transition in life possible.
8.What type of activities or rituals do you instil to help you remain Grounded?
Running your own business can often mean that we stray away from the very principles we teach. I’ve found the best way to centre myself is to actually combine my need to be highly organised with grounded practices. For example, I plan my workday down to the half hr, though within that I include time to meditate in the morning and ‘rest’ in the afternoons. I think by scheduling this time in I give myself permission to take a deep breath and re-centre. My business partner and I also put wellness at the very centre of how we work - even when we’re so far apart. We have a strong daily meditation practice at work and ensure we create a sense of community across the time zones. We also believe in mental health days where we remind each other of how important we are and ensure we bring balance and flexibility to our working lives.
9.What is the best life advice you have been given?
Being honest means humility and humiliation. We need to have a sense of humility when we are giving our honest opinion to people and accept that when we are honest with ourselves and admit fault, we need to be prepared to feel a sense of humiliation. Honesty is at the core of what we do. We want Studio Mae to earn attention by working honestly with all our clients, and to work with honest suppliers who are transparent about their own work ethics, materials and products too. We also believe in the power of sharing and collaborating. True happiness comes from sharing our discoveries and wisdom with others and, in an industry that can sometimes guard its treasures, we feel that sharing our insights in healthy interiors can only make for a better world.
10. Favourite travel destination for Grounding yourself:
Iceland is one trip that definitely stands out. I was completely in awe of the varied landscape, from the powerful geysers, mythical fjords and (sadly) melting glaciers. I couldn’t help but feel so compelled by Mother Nature and this very fine balance of strength yet fragility. Spending just 72hrs in nature has been proven to increase our immune system by 30%, so after a couple of weeks in Iceland I left feeling completely restored and grounded.
11. One city must-do travel tip:
Be sure to pack as much wine as possible if you are travelling to Reykjavik as it is extremely expensive there.