Interior Designer, Mel Gubbin, has had a hand in creating some of Byron Bay’s most iconic destinations including the Spell Design boutique and headquarters, luxury accommodation including Le Viti at Newrybar, The Beach House East Coast Bay, The Villa General as well as residential homes for some of Byron’s most high profile local clients (the identity of whom she keeps discreetly under wraps).
Her interior business, Avenue Twenty Two, launched just four years ago, has become synonymous with pared back contemporary coastal luxury, combining her love of earthy tones with luxury finishes.
In her account for A Grounded Life, Mel shares how her move from the city to the coast has enhanced her work life as well as her personal life, how the collection of treasured mementos from travel and special life experiences create warmth and personality within a space, and how important it is to find time to recharge in nature and reconnect with friends.
Please enjoy this very succinct and stylish account of a very Grounded Life, lived by Mel Gubbin.
1. Where do you call home?
Home is just north of the hustle of Byron Bay. We laid down roots in an area we could enjoy all the aspects of the beautiful Northern Rivers region, whilst appreciating a slightly slower pace of home life than some of the more popular tourist areas of the coastline.
2. What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Currently home means a 5 year long renovation of our house by the ocean. As the business has grown and commitments filled our spare time, our humble abode has always sat patiently at the very end of my to-do list.
Home though really is my safe space where I can kick my shoes off, throw on my daggy clothes, and swing open my doors to have friends drop in. It is also where I will always find my partner Jason and fur baby Buddy accompanied by the tonne of beach sand carried throughout the house by them both.
3. What are the elements that help you transform a house into your home?
I love collecting personal pieces from travel and experiences. Pieces of décor or furniture that hold a special memory instantly warm a space and create connection. When starting out with the bones of a space though, soft window treatments, luxe floor rugs and warm ambient lighting tick all my boxes for creating an inviting space.
4. What creative projects find you most excited and energised?
When a client can hand you a space/project and trust in you and your vision, I find that so refreshing and invigorating. A clients approach to a project can really impact on the energy of those involved and the end result.
5. Which life and/or work projects are you most proud of?
Most proud of our move from city to coast 8 years ago and setting up our life here around Byron Bay. It was a leap of faith and the best decision we’ve made for our lifestyle and careers.
I have been humbled at the level of clientele that have invited me to work with them. I have been fortunate to work on a wide range of projects, I share snippets of some, but a lot of the time I like to respect the privacy of my clients and their spaces and leave it to them to open the door to their home with images and insights if they so wish. That’s my client’s safe space and something that’s important to me.
6. Could you share with us some personal insights into a challenging time in your life?
It is certainly ongoing, but in recent years I have struggled to maintain a healthy work/personal life balance. Moving into 2021, I am making it a priority to take better care of myself and allow myself the same liberties I would extend to clients with boundaries and promoting some self care. I have always expected a lot of myself (more than I would ever of any one else) so it is something I am working at levelling out, so that people in all aspects of my life are receiving the best version of me!
7. What did you learn about yourself throughout this challenge?
No one expects you to do it all.
8. What type of activities or rituals do you instil to help you remain Grounded?
Morning coffee away from my laptop, afternoon beach walks which have a no phone rule, and then a close group of girlfriends to call you out on your crazy and keep you level.
9. What is the best life advice you have been given?
Learn what you want.
Don’t say yes because you’re afraid to say no.
10. Favourite travel destination for Grounding yourself:
It sounds very cliché, but honestly it is the ocean. There is something very humbling about how vast and powerful it is, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world, even when sometimes your ‘things’ can feel overwhelming. It helps to settle me and gives me perspective. Second to that, being with my niece and nephew who live interstate – I’m obsessed with them and regular life is pushed aside when we get time together.
11. One city must-do travel tip:
We have seen a lot of changes over the past 12 months and perhaps going forward my thoughts might change on this city, but to date, New York City has been one of my favourite city destinations. Before your trip, research the best restaurants or food experiences in the areas you are visiting! There are so many amazing food trucks, cafés, basement bars and hole-in-the-wall hidden secrets to discover. Plan ahead, make bookings and keep a to-taste list!