With people spending more time at home than ever before, Kate Hardy of Mosman’s Cloth + Stone is perfectly positioned to give the inside scoop on future design trends in Mosman and beyond. From a growing demand for integrated living/work zones to an increased connection with nature through soothing outdoor spaces, we chat about design as we enter 2022.
Hi Kate, thanks for taking time to chat today.
When it comes to interiors, is there such a thing as Mosman style?
With so many Federation and heritage listed homes in the area, the style in Mosman tends to be classic and traditional without sacrificing contemporary conveniences and the needs of modern family life. There are also a number of exquisite contemporary homes designed by well-known architects such as Luigi Rosselli, Smart Studio and Weir Phillips, which add diversity and energy to the area, as well as being an inspiring part of the streetscape and Mosman story.
Any upcoming design trends for Mosman and beyond, that people should know about?
After the last couple of years, people are wanting to spend more time at home with loved ones and pets, which means more focus on creating warm, inviting homes with flexible, family-friendly layouts, space for entertaining and room for guests to stay.
Materials and colours that promote nurturing, comfort and calm are increasingly in demand, such as earthy tones and natural textures that provide a connection with nature. People are steering away from man-made/synthetic materials and cold, linear spaces and opting for more natural, free flowing spaces that connect inside and out.
The name Cloth + Stone indicates your preference for natural materials. How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Yes, the name Cloth + Stone is a definite hint. We love working with natural materials such as stone, timber, linen and wool for their inherent durability, sustainability and timeless appeal.
Our design aesthetic is classic with a contemporary edge. We have a passion for creating thoughtful, livable, unique homes for our clients whilst referencing the home’s architecture.
Wherever possible, we encourage our clients to buy locally made products to support Australian craftspeople and the manufacturing industry in general. Sourcing and designing beautiful pieces made in Australia provides great satisfaction – from hearing the maker’s stories and inspiration, to the superior quality service and after care provided.
What do you see as the future for residential design in Sydney?
With more people working from home on a permanent basis, there’s an increased need for a comprehensive study/work space within the home. Previously this was seen as a ‘nice to have’ feature, but is now considered an essential. We are also seeing more requests for integrating study spaces into kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms in order to provide options for multiple work zones.
We have all felt the importance of connecting with nature to enhance our sense of wellbeing and quality of life, which has meant that people are seeking to create living spaces that link with the outdoors. That includes creating better access to the garden, opening up doorways, bringing in more natural light and fresh air and ensuring that outdoor spaces are a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Home will continue to be a sanctuary going forward for some time to come.
Federation houses are an iconic feature of the Mosman streetscape, do you enjoy working with heritage homes?
Having grown up in a 300-year-old home in North Yorkshire, I have always loved the feeling of living in an older house with its sense of history and that each owner is a temporary custodian of the property. Our family home was essentially a farmhouse so was not sophisticated in its design but the deep solid walls, expressed beams and ancient plaster walls were incredibly tactile and comforting.
Australian Federation homes are more elegant with great character and sculptural architectural features which I find enchanting. I am passionate about both protecting and celebrating this heritage to create elegant yet relaxed homes for the changing way we live.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your background and how that influenced you to become an interior designer?
My mother was a great inspiration for me. She was very creative in both the garden and the home, there was rarely a time when she wasn’t sewing curtains and cushions or planting out the borders in her beautiful English cottage garden. Together with my father she opened the garden to the National Garden Scheme and appeared in Country Life Magazine. She also ran a small textile business, so there was always colour, pattern and texture around me. As a teenager I would spend hours drawing floor plans for houses and I loved visiting stately homes, but somehow didn’t explore design as a career until much later.
My family moved to the lower north shore in 2000 and eventually I started working at an antique store in Mosman. That ignited my interest in furniture and fabrics, and from there I studied interior design and created Cloth + Stone Designs in 2016.
What inspires you as a designer?
I am inspired by beauty in all its forms, from Italian Renaissance architecture, to modern art and European and Australian gardens. Travel is a big source of feeding my creativity and something I hope to get back into next year.
Two years ago, I had the joy of visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain which was an incredible experience. Often, it’s the vast amount of detail that goes into a building, flower or artwork that makes it appear to exist with effortless ease. This is a feature we bring to our interior designs - the sense that every aspect has been considered.
What do you strive for when creating a space?
We aim to firstly develop a deep understanding of each client’s lifestyle, needs and aesthetics, resulting in interiors that are considered, personal, beautiful, comfortable and add value to their lives and homes.
We also strive for our clients to have a positive renovation process by providing peace of mind from concept to completion. Using an interior designer for a renovation or refurbishment adds real value to the process and end result. We guide our clients through the selection of products, fittings and finishes, which can be overwhelming for a new home owner.
What is the key element you need in a chic living room?
Comfort is the most important aspect in a living space and each person’s needs differ. It can be a squashy sofa to curl up in, a high back chair for reading or a soft wool rug to build lego on. In addition, the perfect mix of colours and textures that reflect your personality and style and some special timber or stone pieces for warmth and elegance.
One final question, what do you love about living and working in Mosman?
I love the community, easy location and natural surroundings including beaches, harbour and national parklands. I also cherish the village atmosphere of Mosman with its small, local businesses including butchers, bakers, fruit and vegetables and coffee shops which create such a vibrant centre to the town. There are some fantastic coffee shops and great cafes providing healthy food, including Bloom at Mosman and Cali Press which we frequent regularly.
As I love the area and already lived here, it seemed natural to set up my business here. There is a great diversity of properties in this area and so much natural beauty to harness. Each project is different to the last, so there are always fresh ideas and situations to work through with our clients to create beautiful homes.
Thanks Kate, I appreciate your insight and look forward to seeing more of your work in Mosman and beyond.
For more information about Cloth + Stone, check the website or follow Kate and her team on Instagram.