“Don’t go into business with friends.” It’s the oldest advice in the book, and thankfully, advice that was worth ignoring for Titia Huggard and Caroline Lawton of Six Pieces Interior Design, when they merged their individual design practices five years ago.
After 28 years of friendship the duo didn’t listen to the naysayers, and instead trusted that they knew each other well enough to know they would always put their friendship first. As a result, their partnership has gone from strength to strength and the respect and connection they have for each other means they communicate well and work to resolve any on the job issues swiftly and efficiently. The ease in which they balance their business is inspiring, each bringing their unique strengths to the partnership.
“Titia is like her favourite bird the Kookaburra and rises very early. She finds this time in solitude her most creative and productive. I think of her as the lighthouse keeper, constantly keeping her eye on the bay,” says Caroline, “whereas I am more of a night owl, and enjoy the quiet of the house when the rest of the family are resting and utilise this time for my creative space.”
Their design ethos is clear. They merge their passion for creating beautiful spaces that reflect the people that live within them whilst encompassing a deep respect for the environment. This means using sustainable products and sourcing local artisans and suppliers wherever possible for materials and inspiration. The result is a transformation of their clients’ wish lists into dreamscapes that blend into their surrounds and showcase the very best of architecture and design.
As we start to emerge from lock down, we caught up with Caroline and Titia about lessons learnt through this period, the importance of getting sh*t done and how having the time to pause has shaped their vision for their future selves…
What is your day job and what does it normally look like?
We are fortunate to have both a home office and a studio in the Eastern suburbs, however a typical day sees us driving all over town when we are not working hard on client concepts in the studio. We are continually visiting our clients, job sites and our suppliers to source keep up to date with trends and new products.
What was lock down like for you?
Well between us we have six children, two partners and three dogs. Many clients ask where our business name came from, and it is from our six children.
Whilst it has been a challenge we are definitely taking the positives out of being able to spend time with our children. Both our daughters now have purple hair!
How was your work impacted?
We made an early call that we would manage our clients remotely, and they were all very understanding. By making the call some time ago to prioritise local manufacturing we were fortunate to still be able to source products for our projects.
Once you have the conversation with your clients about the unsustainable elements of fast furniture, they actually get it. Titia and I have always had a strong focus on treating the environment with respect and definitely include this passion in our day to day activities.
Your tips for keeping Covid-19 anxiety at bay?
Well as long as the sun is rising and the birds are singing, we must be thankful for what we have. The world has changed and we must adapt to keep everyone safe.
Routine, healthy eating, exercise and continuing to plan for the future of our business all helps.
We are trying to only check in once a day to not be overwhelmed with statistics. We would rather spend our energy on what we can do for the environment and our business moving forward.
Three items in your trolley?
Between us our list is Will Stud Cheese, Oranges, St Ali coffee beans, La Banderita Flour Tortillas, and local honey from our friend’s hive.
Something you’ll never take for granted again?
Meeting with our “Lady Village” with always gives us loads of laughs and fun times.
Going to the beach, not having to keep a distance from everyone.
Face to face contact with our clients.
Have you used this time to up-skill/clean out cupboards or learn a new hobby?
Titia is painting her house, I’m getting even more stuck into my garden planning a veggie patch and planting out my nature strip.
My son and I are making bird and possum boxes which is a project we have been wanting to do for ages. And my pantry is completely clean!
Caroline’s favourite book is Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut Junior and she is enjoying listening to a podcast ‘Costing the Earth’.
Titia is enjoying reading ‘The nowhere child’ by Melbourne author Christian White and listening to a podcast ‘A Pandemic of Possibility’.
Three women you admire and why?
Jane Goodall – Caroline’s favourite woman of all time. Her dedication to the Chimpanzees and nature is just the most admirable life choice I have ever seen.
Catherine Hamlin – Titia has great admiration for all that Catherine achieved in her 96 years of working with women both in Australia and Africa.
Vivienne Westwood – we both love and admire her for being true to her creative spirit always.
What is your super power and what do you use it for?
Both our super powers are GETTING SHIT DONE! No matter what the time frame, the challenge, the circumstance or the road blocks we always rise to the occasion and make it happen.
If you could choose one place to visit in the next 12 months, where would it be and why?
Well most recently we had decided we wanted to travel to New York on a sourcing trip next year, but let’s just wait and see what the world brings.
If someone wrote a book about you, what would the one-line synopsis be?
The title would be ‘Creating a different place’ which covers design and the environment.
We at Noise co. agree, it’s a title that perfectly encapsulates this design duo! For more information on Six Pieces and their projects follow them on Instagram @sixpieces or visit www.sixpieces.com.au