Unemployment can offer unexpected opportunities especially to a young girl from the Mornington Peninsula whose employment options at the time were limited to becoming an Air Hostess or a Wife. After a failed attempt at becoming a stewardess – Noela didn’t have sea legs – she returned to Melbourne and looked for a new direction.
Looking into a Government scheme designed to teach new skills to young unemployed people, Noela Coffey opted for an Interior Design course. Given her artistic interests and creative flair she says it seemed to be be easy option.
“I guess at that age I thought interior design was the easiest option, but I haven’t looked back since”
Now the Managing Director of Mageia Design, Noela says her design aesthetic reflects a sense of elegance and sophistication, luxury without too much opulence. Her motto “Less is More” sums up her approach to designing interiors and she attracted attention from leading magazines and high-end clients. Noela has been featured in Country Home Ideas, Luxury Homes, Trend Ideas, Modern Home Design and more. Her work showcases chic residential and stylish commercial interiors designed from her base in Sydney.
Typical of her ‘modern meets smart’ approach is an elegant home in Putney that has clean lines and exudes warmth. Whilst concrete, steel and glass abound, the highly polished timber floors, warm neutrals and abundant natural light enhance the flowing floorplan and bring cohesion to the interiors.
Mageia Design is a collaborative business with an in-house team of designers and a French stylist with whom Noela works closely. She says there will always be the need to work with Architects, which Mageia Design does very successfully.
With a library of products continuously up-dated by suppliers, Mageia Design can keep alert to new trends but is never unduly influenced by them. Noela says clients often have a strong sense of the outcome they want, not necessarily the time or ability to create it themselves.
“An interior designer must try to reflect the personality of their residential clients whereas with commercial projects the appeal is to a wider audience on a larger scale. In some ways I can be more ‘out there’ with commercial projects”, says Noela
Whilst functionality and aesthetic requirements must be met, Noela likes the challenges that can take an interior designer to the next level. One of Noela’s clients had a three-storey foyer with a glass lift-well that required a water catchment for an indoor water feature. A pond on the ground level came as the solution and Noela suggested hand-blown lit lilies floating in the water and the end result looked just stunning.
For Noela, interior design is about achieving the client’s vision, not just about what is immediately available. Her approach is to listen and advise but ultimately to provide an elegant interior that fits her client’s tastes. For a Jackson Landing penthouse the owners wanted to incorporate both Greek and Japanese tastes to represent their respective heritages. Mageia Design satisfied both with an elegant pairing of neutrals in blush and sea foam blue representing the importance of the sea to both cultures.
Noela maintains the kitchen and bathrooms often ‘sell’ a house so her advice is to design them with practicality and appeal to the widest cross-section of purchasers. As the larger cost-factors in a home, buyers need to see themselves in that space. She says monochromatic or minimalist styling can be offset with personal touches which can then be altered or removed.
Creating the Interior YOU want
“It’s important that homeowners understand what they want or have a sense of direction to a particular style” says Noela. “Working with an interior designer doesn’t mean taking on their tastes, it means creating the most comfortable and stylish result that is YOUR taste”.
Creating mood boards, using pictures you like from magazines, pins from Pinterest and ideas books from Houzz can help clients to send their vision to their designer.
Trends for 2016
As with fashion, homeowners should stay true to their loves and lifestyles and not get overly influenced by the trends. However, Noela says there are some interesting colour trends for 2016.
Stronger colours are making a comeback. Dulux has announced that it’s 2016 Colour of The Year is ‘Cherished Gold’ so expect to see more yellows, mustards and greys. International expert Benjamin Moore has announced that the top hue for 2016 will be white – so the absence of colour, with corresponding colours of pale yellow, vibrant rouge, rich plums, deep ceruleans, and a dynamic palette of new colours on the rise being bright navy, dark indigo, teal and tropical green.
Styling a Home for Sale
Don’t discount how important hiring a stylist or interior designer can be to help style your home for sale. Noela suggests thinking about paint colours or rendering to smarten up a home, painting wooden cupboards white or even having a professional arrange furniture, position artworks and add accessories… and suggest what to take OUT, when your home is for sale.
Personalising Your Home
“Ultimately, you must love being in your own home. Your home should say something about you, be it eclectic pieces collected from travels, loved gifts and cherished heirlooms. Your designer will help you achieve this balance and harmony”.
For more beautiful interiors and design ideas, visit mageiadesign.com.au and see more of Noela’s work, including her new furniture range.
Listen to my interview with Noela Coffey from Mageia Design as heard on my 88.9FM Fashion + Home show.
Do you favour chic and sophisticated interiors? Have you ever worked with an interior designer? What were the results? Would you do it again?