IN CONVERSATION with Taliah Lowry | Byron Beach Abodes

October 04, 2019

IN CONVERSATION with Taliah Lowry | Byron Beach Abodes

Byron Beach Abodes has added two stunning new retreats to its ensemble: The Lodge and The Cabin. As with all of the relaxed luxury getaways that form part of this unmistakable family, both environments balance natural elements with sophisticated luxury - offering all who stay an experience never to forget.

The creative force behind the design and decoration of each abode is Taliah Lowry. Together with her husband Sein, Taliah has now proudly completed 10 accomodation offerings, each one located in this spectacularly beautiful part of the world. Practice makes perfect, and after stepping into Taliah's new retreats it is evident she has honed her ability to blend comfort with personality.

A long-time supporter of The Dharma Door, Taliah has used items from our collection throughout Byron Beach Abodes. We are always inspired by Taliah's original touch, and ability to honour the natural surrounds she and her family so cherish. So we took some time to learn more about her approach, and get her advice for adding natural elements, a rustic colour palette and textiles to our interiors.

You have recently completed a very special new double-project: The Lodge & The Cabin, both situated in a stunning position in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Byron Bay. Taking in views of the lighthouse, the ocean and the region’s unmistakable landscape, the properties are firmly stamped with some of your trademark touches, and also represents something new. How do you describe these properties to others?

I’d describe them as very different to anything else in Byron Bay. The Lodge and The Cabin combine everything we loved about living in New Zealand for a year: the real connection between architecture and nature and the blurred lines between hard surfaces disappearing into their natural surrounds. I loved my time there so much that I honestly wanted to recreate that feeling of living in a mountain cabin in New Zealand right here in Byron.

It’s the joy of being within easy reach of the dynamic of our area, but with a feeling of being alone, private and protected from the hustle and bustle of Byron life.

Every window and verandah – in fact any space that takes the outside view inside – captures the natural surroundings: the ocean, mountains, Julian Rocks, Tallows Beach and more. There’s not a window that looks out to any other house; it’s all about feeling embedded into nature. The open plan design delivers perfect cross ventilation, so the ocean air can flow through from one end to the other. And the best thing? Being immersed in six star luxury and just a five minute walk to the beach! I describe them as pretty special places, that’s for sure.

The Cabin The Dharma Door Byron BayThis is the tenth successful project you have created with your husband Sein. You seem to start a project with a source of inspiration as your base – such as New York’s Bower District for your Bower properties – what was the beginning inspiration for your newest projects?

Every detail was directly inspired by New Zealand’s natural environment. We wanted to recreate the feeling of being in a mountain cabin or lodge, but near the ocean. The earthy materials we’ve used are a reminder of the long, hiking adventures we had in New Zealand. The combination of recycled and natural elements throughout – such as limestone floors and recycled timber cladding – blended with custom-made steel details, lots of linen, ceramics and baskets, creates a sophisticated luxury look with an underlying sense of intrigue.

It was important for us to design both places to not only be the ultimate summer pad, but also the most incredible place to be in winter too. Not many houses are designed for both climates in Byron, and winter is my favourite time of year. We wanted to create the same warm feel we had while living in New Zealand during the middle of winter and we’ve achieved just that.

The Lodge and The Cabin combine sophistication with relaxed, natural elements and honour the surrounding landscape. Can you share more about the art of creating spaces that are both down to earth and luxurious?

Using natural materials such as raw timber and natural stone, with all its texture and imperfections, together with luxury touches such as linen drapery, sheepskins, stunning artisan rugs, Italian crystal handles, quality tapware, lighting and more, creates the perfect balance between rough and natural, soft and luxurious.

Quality throughout is key. It’s not just about quality in materials or furnishings, but also more practical things, such as door hardware, appliances, lighting and every piece of furniture. They all contribute to creating the ultimate luxury experience.

High end finishes combined with raw, natural and textural objects are always included in your approach. Can you share your thoughts on why these elements work so well - both at Byron Beach Abodes and throughout interiors generally?

It works because it creates interest and a warmth and authenticity about your design. It’s about unexpected combinations of old and new - repurposed objects sitting beside brand new, natural textures and raw materials with superbly finished, hand-crafted pieces. It’s an approach that’s not predictable and everyone will have their own unique take on what works for them. As a result, they’ll create their own unique aesthetic. But as I said before, quality has to be a constant to create a sense of sophisticated luxury.

An earthy palette also figures predominantly in your work. Can you share a little about your approach, and why you think it works so well?

An earthy palette creates a canvas where your first imprint need not be your last. I tend to get bored with furnishings or a certain style quite quickly, so starting with an earthy palette gives me the canvas to recreate and change things around and set a different mood whenever I want. I also feel the most comfortable in nature, so natural tones and textures make me feel relaxed. It’s all about the feeling of a space.

Which of your other trademark touches appear in these properties?

Stone, timber, raw steel and an abundance of natural light are all there, as well as custom-made lighting and furniture. I love commissioning bespoke pieces to deliver a uniqueness to every one of our properties. And of course almost every place we have designed has lots of lush drapery. I truly am obsessed with drapery and curtains to soften a space.

Every space has to have a focal point. The fire places in The Lodge and The Cabin are their feature focal points, as well as the recycled timber cladding, cedar spa, and of course those views.

The Cabin Byron BayWhat do you most like about the end result?

The feeling you get when you walk in the door. It’s relaxing and feels like a home, not a display space. It’s beautiful, comfortable and not too formal.

What are your ongoing sources of inspiration?

Nature and travel. Always.

I often don’t have time to look at the latest trends online or in magazines and instead, have learned to trust my instincts. But nature is certainly my biggest inspiration. Sometimes the history of an existing building, its story and character, will provide inspiration too. Rather than completely knocking things down to recreate them, I like to honour the past history of a space, as you’ll see in The Cottage, The Chalet and The Bower.

You have used The Dharma Door’s products to great success throughout Byron Beach Abodes. What drew you to them initially, and why do you think they work so well in each space?

I’ve never been a huge fan of art, perhaps because it’s not my forte. Although I do love vintage art that has a story behind it – particularly of horses or nautical-themed, but often find it difficult to settle on art for a wall as it can make such a big impact on a space.

I fell in love with The Dharma Door wall hangings because they added a level of texture and intrigue, but in a subtle form. The pieces blend in and add a layer of beauty, texture, and culture to a space.

I also just loved meeting Shannon and Mick all those years ago and thought whatever they did I wanted to support them. Sometimes it’s the people you meet and the passion they have for what they create that makes me want the product even more. It just turns out that I love the product and versatility of their creations just as much as I love the people and the ethos behind the brand. A real win-win!

The Cabin Byron BayYou have spoken about blank walls being ‘an open invitation to show off your creative smarts.’ Can you elaborate on this, and share how you have adorned blank walls throughout Byron Beach Abodes?

Lots of highly textured wall hangings and mandalas from The Dharma Door, of course; always mirrors – from free-standing to delicate vintage mirrors clustered together to create a delightful piece of reflective art; vintage posters; tiny cameo paintings; treasures collected from my travels or that I’ve found digging through second hand shops closer to home; something repurposed, such as an old weather-beaten oar now used as a hanging rail; a collection of hats or artisan string bags; beautiful shelves made from recycled timber; trails of greenery snaking along a wall. Really, the possibilities are endless. If a piece captures your eye, find a place for it on your wall so you can enjoy it all the time.

How does the use of woven texture and the layering of fabrics contribute to your interiors?

Layered texturing brings a depth, a quiet romanticism and a sense of luxury to my interiors. I love using woven textures that have been created and crafted by artisans from all over the world. Their centuries-old cultures often represent the uniqueness of the skills of individual villages and have been crafted the same way, using the same techniques, for generations. They’re not mass produced in a factory. To me this is what makes it special. It not only adds to the feeling and the story of a space, but often helps carry a trade or craft into the next generation. Nothing is more luxurious than that!

I love combining textures too: soft blankets, hand-woven rugs, lush drapery and sheepskin. It’s the perfect marriage of rough and soft, old and new, modern and ancient.

The Lodge Byron BayAnd finally, you have often spoken about your appreciation for the Fair Trade nature of The Dharma Door products, and are well known for your contribution to your local community. Can you talk a little more about this and share why you think it is important to consider where our home adornments originate from?

It’s too easy these days to be seduced by what’s readily available and their often very appealing price tags without considering the real cost to produce the things that have taken our eye. And to be honest, it’s hard to be vigilant and informed about every single purchase we make, but we are committed to making the best choices possible at every turn.

We want to know how things are made, where they are made and who makes them. We don’t want to use products that pollute the planet, are not recyclable or are made in sweat factories. We want to use products that have a fit with our ethos of sustainability for the planet and kindness towards the people who create them. We need to go back to basics and honour the past; nurture cultures old and new; be an invested part of our community; and do our best to nourish our planet to ensure it thrives for our kids, their kids and generations to come. It’s what we believe and we know it’s what’s behind The Dharma Door too.

 

VIEW TALIAH'S SELECTIONS

 

PHOTOGRAPHY Jessie Prince
Images supplied by Byron Beach Abodes & The Dharma Door


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