You need tiles right? Have you considered you room layout, aesthetics, paint colours and cabinetry? Don’t fret, meet Chris!
Currently building her home in Ocean Grove with builder husband Mark, Chris Wheeler, Interior Decorator, formally a client of TILE junket now team member, wants to help you make the best decisions for your building and renovating projects. Her experience in kitchen and bathroom design coupled with a friendly, easy going approach will have you at ease and feeling confident with your selection.
Tell us a little bit about your background – What path led you to the design industry?
A passion for building and design led me to undertake my studies at RMIT School of Decoration & Design. I went back to study as a mature age student after raising my two children. As I was already working in the industry I wanted to ensure that I was formally qualified to give advice to clients. It was also a personal challenge for me to undertake study as I didn’t go to Uni when I was younger. Even though it took five and a half years to complete my course, it has been one of the best things I have done for myself – it has been such a rewarding experience and personally very satisfying.
What has been your experience in the Industry?
Being a Builder and Cabinetmaker’s wife I have been in the industry for over 30 years. My Dad was also in the Building & Joinery trade so I grew up helping him on building projects and in his joinery business. My husband, Mark and I have built 8 homes for ourselves so each time I am constantly coming up with new ideas. Mark says I am his worst customer as I tend to challenge him with my ideas all the time but between the two of us we make them work – we’re a really great team and bounce ideas of each other. Along the way unfortunately I have lived with and learnt some of the common mistakes that are made in the building and renovation industry so I now find that I love to read plans and place myself in the room to visualise the layout. This way I can ensure that that space will function to its best ability. My husband and I also started a Granite Transformations franchise in Ballarat specialising in kitchen & bathroom benchtops, so I have vast experience in kitchen & bathroom design. I also have my own design company called Live InStyle. I specialise in colour consulting, furniture placement, room design and layout, lighting and furniture selection. My real strengths and passion is in interior architectural design which is sometimes overlooked in the initial planning stages of a project.
Your role as an Interior Decorator is to assist others create their dream spaces, but what is your personal style that you create in your own home?
I’ve had a complete turn around on my personal style in recent years. Most of the homes my husband and I have built over the years have been either Victorian or Federation style which were in Ballarat. Three years ago we sold our business in Ballarat and moved to Ocean Grove for a sea change. Since then our lifestyles have changed and we’ve gone for a more relaxed contemporary style – leaning towards minimalist. I love the integration of iconic furniture pieces from the 60’s and 70’s and how it works with modern design. There are some amazing designers from those era’s whose designs have had a new lease of life.
Above: Trending – iconic pieces mixed with modern design, image via Pinterest
Which designers or creative professionals do you love at the moment?
Patricia Urquiola is an extremely talented designer. We stock a lot of her tiles at work which are amazing. I also love the work of David Hicks. He studied Interior Design at RMIT and now has a team of international architects and designers. I recently went to a business networking dinner where Shaynna Blaze was the guest speaker and it was fascinating to hear about her life and the road to where she is now – it was truly inspiring to listen to her.
Above: Patricia Urquiola and designer tiles (available at TILE junket), image via Pinterest
Where do you get your inspiration from and what design resources would you recommend to readers of this blog?
I tend to get my inspiration from magazines and the internet and observation. If I have an idea, I will Google and Google until I find something that fits with what I’m thinking. I would recommend good quality home magazines that focus on particular rooms ie. Kitchens, Bathrooms etc. Pinterest is addictive but I love it. I can spend hours just pinning!
Where are the places in Geelong you love to shop for homewares and furniture?
Geelong, the Surfcoast & Bellarine has some fabulous furniture & boutique homeware shops. One of my favourites is Living etc in High Street Belmont.
Above: Products from Living Etc
What would be your dream design project?
Someone with an open budget! I would love to work in with an architect and builder from start to finish on a project so that I have an input into architectural design elements. There are a lot of design features that can be incorporated into a building but they need to be done at the right stage.
What can you do for a TILE junket customer attending a CONCEPT CONSULT?
During a Concept Consult the first thing I do is create a client brief – I talk to the customer about their space – what it is used for, the layout of the room, orientation of the room, size etc. The design brief then helps me to understand the client’s style and requirements. Obviously tile selection is the main objective in a concept consult at Tile junket but I also offer advice on room layout, paint colours and cabinetry suggestions. Sometimes people overlook minor things like towel rails and which way doors are hinged so I offer advice on small issues as well if required.
By Hayley Norman
TILE junket showcases the best tiles available in Australia, from around the world, right here in Geelong. Book your complimentary CONCEPT CONSULT with Chris to make the decision process of your project a breeze.