Thursday, February 2, 2012

Inspiration Profile: Amanda Holland

Welcome to this week's Inspiration Profile - we have the delightful Amanda Holland of Small Acorns.
For those Wellington born and bred, like myself, you will know that Small Acorns has been a mainstay on the interior and retail scene for as long as I can remember. Small Acorns stock a great range of products (Designers Guild, Orla Kiely, Tivoli, Kartell, Minti to name a few) and to visit is always an enjoyable shopping experience. I proudly brought my first serious home purchase from here with my savings in my late teens - a Designer Guild blanket which I still have and use. So it is a pleasure to have Amanda featured here today. Enjoy.

Amanda Holland

Name: Amanda Holland
What do you do: I am the owner of Small Acorns, a boutique lifestyle store which specialises in everything I love about homes and interiors  - personal treasures, beautiful fabrics and contemporary design, infused with colour, pattern and a touch of eclectic whimsy. I don’t believe in following trends. I believe in personal style, designs that stand the test of time and a room that tells a story. Interiors which evolve organically and have soul. Quite unbelievably, Small Acorns will be 20 years old next year.

Where do you live: Wellington, New Zealand.
What are you working on: The retailer in me is always thinking about ways to improve the store, my next store display and keeping an eye out for treasures and ideas that will hopefully keep our customers as excited as we are. We also have some plans for another online magazine and some more workshops.
The designer in me is working on some lovely client projects as well as things for the store which might provide more of an instant interior quick fix, such as cushions and some fun upcycled furniture pieces. A little of the past updated into the present.

Who/what inspires me: Tricia Guild and the Designers Guild ethos has always been a huge inspiration. Personally I couldn’t live without colour, texture and pattern in my home, as I find it hugely invigorating, uplifting and no-one, but no-one does colour like Designers Guild. Colour doesn’t have to be about bright intense colours either. You have to be selective to make it work. Amongst the jewel bright shades you will always find pale greys, duck egg, lots of white and always a little black. I just can't get my head around what I call, a 'porridge' interior - bland, dull, and uninteresting.
Other inspirations are stylists Liza Giles and Sibella Court, my family, flowers (I love a little florabundance), typography and old signage, vintage modern, clothes, great retailers like Anthropologie, and amazing women like Estee Lauder who have the courage to pursue their dreams and vision.
I work best: Well, it’s a longstanding joke in my family that no-one should try and talk to me before 9am, or at least not until I’ve had my first cup of coffee, so I guess I’m not known as a morning person. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl I think.
What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Look blankly at the computer screen as I’m doing right now. I’ll head for one of my favourite interior books, or magazines, or even immerse myself in a Designers Guild brochure. Just looking at all the little styling details in any of these is usually enough to get things flowing again. I’m a detail person so it’s the little things that I notice first and that often captivate me the most.
The best advice I have been given is: Anyone is capable of achieving whatever they want in life, so long as you are prepared to work hard for it.
My latest discovery is: Realising that my love of old vintage pieces and junk stores, which I have honestly had since I was a teenager at school, is bordering on the obsessive. Actually I’ve probably known this for some time. 
Books that I get inspiration from: I return to Tricia Guild’s books over and over, in particular, Flowers and Inspiration. I also read and re-read Sibella Court’s etcetera etc, and am enjoying her latest book, Nomad very much also. As a fellow magpie collector I love looking at other people’s collections and ideas for displaying them.

Magazines that inspire me: Inside Out, Elle Decoration (UK) and Living etc are three I never miss an issue of.

Blogs that I enjoy: How does one narrow it down? What Katie Ate, The Design Files, Vintage, Pia Jane Bijkerk are all so visually inspiring, and then I have so many other blogs that I enjoy and never miss because I’ve become friends with the blog authors.
My favourite room at home is: Having just lived through and (almost) completed a major home renovation throughout most of 2011, every room at home is a favourite just now, but if I had to single out just one, then ooh, this is hard, maybe my bedroom, or the bathroom, or maybe the living room? The kitchen? I guess this is a sign that I just love it all!

My office is: Sadly neglected because I just don’t get to spend enough time there. (It’s offsite from both the store and home) It’s a shame because I love the space and have filled it with so many personal treasures and inspirations. It’s the ideal ‘room of one’s own’ and I love it.
What am I looking forward to: I always love and look forward to new beginnings and the opportunities that a new year brings. On a personal note I’m looking forward to enjoying my new ‘old’ home, armfuls of dahlias from the garden, the girls going back to school (!!) and helping my clients see their homes afresh. I’m also aiming for a little work life balance this year!
Want to know more about Small Acorns? Check out their website here and Amanda's blog here.
Photographs used with permission from Amanda Holland.


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