talks : with Andrea Pienaar.
Talking to Andrea is like talking to my sister. Since the day we met it was obvious our sense of humour was completely aligned, which made it a very easy business relationship to foster and later, friendship to maintain. That and we are both the owners of 3 boys! Whaaaaa??? The discussion of Roosters Vs Lambs is both real and ‘frequent’. Maggie Dent. We salute you!
I honestly think it’s because of this dry wit that creating Siba Interiors really found it’s calling. Andrea’s whole ethos really stems from not taking it all so seriously which is to say, it revolves around design that’s accessible and can actually be lived ‘well’ in. You can safely just assume that she’s more than prepared to road test ‘anything’ to ensure that families are actually able to be themselves in their surroundings.
Expect a good old fashioned honest conversation from the very start, a familiar approach - a little bit of a “have we met before” moment perhaps and importantly; a genuine intuition around ‘how’ you live in the space together. If you’re really lucky, she’ll throw in a couple of cheeky one liners. She’s as equally accomplished in that department as this one.
With that in mind, I took the opportunity to throw a coupe of curly ones back in Andrea’s general direction. Here’s how it rolled.
Andrea (pronounced AN-DREYA) - because you’re a little bit of an interior hybrid (half Interior Designer half Stylist) what is it about working in this industry that literally excites you most, and, if you could only choose one of these pathways above permanently which would it be?
TOUGH question Deb! For me, the most exciting part is my private residential work. Being across all the whole design concept from the start and then seeing the finished product and the vision in my head coming to life. Being able to present that is priceless. I also love the people in this industry I get to laisse with who supply the amazing products I pitch to my clients. There is so much creativity and passion in this industry and it’s really rewarding simply being around it.
But I do really love the styling for editorial side of what I do too and If I could do more of that I would!
Maybe it’s the instant gratification aspect because I get to see everything come together at once. It’s also the best way to bring together the products I love in one space and get them out into the world so people can buy them. That’s the real motivation for me, connecting the items people have created (furniture, rugs, art, homewares) to the people who may eventually buy them. The best way to do that is by getting them insitu and getting it all professionally shot.
OK. Let’s talk in real terms here - you have 3 boys like me, so you get first hand how ‘functionality’ is important when actually living in the space. How do you marry together the want for ‘nice things’ from the client (who may or may not have children) without sacrificing the look or budget of the scope of works? (may or may not include tips on cleaning chocolate off velvet!).
I’m a firm believer that you can have nice things and still have children or pets or husbands (wink). In fact I get really animated if I hear someone say they have to buy cheap/lack lustre furniture and homewares because they have kids.
Most of my clients have some restrictions and I always keep this in mind when making selections. And I can say with certainty that the only thing that will happen with a cheaper product is your kids will just be able to trash is quicker than it’s better quality counterpart. I could go on about fabric qualities and furniture manufacturing techniques but I’ll spare you my lecture….for now.
A better quality product is made better and designed to last longer. It’s that simple. We also need to be a lot more mindful of sustainability and make purchases with this in mind. A lot of the companies I use have a much more focused approach to sustainability right from the manufacture to the shipping and the longevity of that product.
The SHENTON PARK RESIDENCE – Andrea’s own home in Perth, WA. Full Renovation and Interior Design Siba Interiors Owner Renovation / Budget $300K Building Style Cottage living with a contemporary twist.
“When we first viewed the house we were like - this is so dysfunctional. The layout was bad and needed to be completely reconfigured to enable our family to live comfortably in the space. We were firm about controlling this renovation ourselves, needing to be fully across all specifications to ensure we got quality where it counts. With our 3 boys testing the space for manual dexterity on the daily, our choices were made with both maximum functionality and longevity in mind” - Andrea
This next question really is testament to just how influential you can be as a designer without seeing it coming at all. After the article below hit the shelves, Andrea and I joked about maybe doing a video called "driving around Shenton Park, with coffee and counting all the new pink doors” . We thought it might be fun way to spend an afternoon (I still maintain - YES!). Between the local Bunnings literally selling out of THAT shade of pink and the image itself (taken by the lovely Clare McFerran of Gathering Light) being shared all over the inter-webs, you start to get the feeling that Andrea is just quietly a little ahead of her time. Anyway, read on - it will make much more sense!
Even though so many people know you for your pink door after your Adore Magazine cover (styled also by Siba Interiors), how would you honestly describe your approach to colour or interior design in general when it comes to working on behalf of a client?
Well firstly; it’s good for people to know that Siba Interiors isn’t just that pink door, but I clearly love inserting colour into the rooms I design - although it doesn’t always have to be in your face or pink. I think it’s easy to be safe and stick to greys and black and whites so I like to show the clients who may be prone to grey (it’s a diagnosable disease) how you can use colour in subtle ways, even if you’re a more monochrome type of person. A great artwork or rug with a little bit of colour and then pick a great throw cushion to compliment, is not too much of a colour commitment. I also try to leave clients with tips on how to use the colour we’ve picked in the future too.
It’s difficult not to be dictated by trend in an industry that is surrounded by visual stimulation and triggers a huge ‘must have’ response - how hard is it NOT to just stick with a particular style that you are comfortable with and keep pushing your own boundaries?
I think we are always prone as humans to stick to what we know or develop a noticeable signature or anchor in how we approach the concept, but I feel lucky to get inspiration from the furniture and homewares providers I use to give me a nudge into different directions. It may be a great new rug that I love and will design a room around that or a new artist using colours I’m not used to working with. Or sometimes my clients have furniture they prefer to keep in a room and I need to design around
I’m going to add that my particular ‘taste’ leans very much toward the ‘eclectic’, slight haphazard, occasionally awkward, but mostly organic side of the design fence so no doubt ‘Seebs’ would have an absolute field day with me.
I finally get Andrea to answer something we discussed many times before, but this time, i got the distinct feeling it had stopped being a maybe. It was good to hear!
Let's fast forward a few years to the Siba Interiors showroom (you’re going to start designing your own lines right??) what will your children be allowed to touch when they visit and how will they have contributed to the design of your product lines (this one is a doozy I know, but go my friend, go!!!).
Nothing….they will touch nothing…you’ve met my kids, they’re filthy maniacs! Just kidding. I am a mother to boys so I’m sure this will contribute to how I would create a product. But I think if anything it has pushed me to be a bit more feminine. I’ve always toyed with one day of having a collaboration or a line of products and I’m sure it will be driven by what I see is needed from for my clients or suppliers. I know the areas I see a gap in when I am making selections so that may end up being the driving force behind me actually doing something in the future.
I loved this one! Thanks Seebs for making it so easy! Andrea has a couple of renovation projects coming to market to this so to get to know Andrea a little better, you can head directly to Siba Interiors, or head to the Neighbourhood to see the person behind the pink door.
Special mention to Clare McFerran from Gathering Light behind the lens.
Author : Deb Whincop started Spreading Roomers over 3 years ago with a vision to bring local design a different voice. She started by adapting her past corporate development and construction experience into a new style of niche business coaching. Now, having gained the trust of the industry she loves, she shares the stories she finds most intriguing that you will likely not read elsewhere. Deb also has 3 boys at home, lives in a ‘bounce house’ (the one that shoulda been flipped but didn’t), owns 2 cats - one questionably thinks himself a dog, and considers interpretive dance a definite ‘skill set’.