Natalie Walton is a writer and interior stylist based in northern NSW. We visited her light-filled home to chat about the launch of her new book, designing an authentic home, and the ways in which she is nurturing herself right now.
Hi Natalie! Tell us about yourself and what you do
I am a writer and interior stylist who lives in the hills above Byron Bay. I have always loved everything to do with the home - I feel that it’s one of our most personal expressions. It is not just for show, but we can create them to enhance how we feel every day.
Can you share with us a bit about your career journey - where did it begin?
I started my work life as a journalist and was deputy editor at Real Living magazine for five years. During that time I began interior styling - both in studios for set builds, and people’s homes. That’s when I found my true path - combining styling people’s homes and writing their stories. Since then I’ve launched a homewares business Imprint House, two books, and most recently a podcast, Imprint.
Congratulations on launching your second book Still: The Slow Home! Can you tell us a bit about the book development process and the inspiration behind this stunning new title?
Thank you for your kind words. Books are a real passion project for me. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to create books. They hold a special place in my heart. My first book This is home: The art of simple living focussed on distilling what makes a place feel like a home. The follow-up title, Still, is about building a pause into our decision-making before we consume. So we can have more clarity about what matters most, and also appreciate what we already have.
What are some of your favourite pieces in your home?
I have some vintage timber lockers that were sourced from France - apparently, they used to store horse’s feed. They are simple but rustic, and I love anything that feels unique and evocative in some way. I love that there is a story behind every piece in my home. I can vividly recall when and why I bought everything - and who I met along the way - the shop owner, the designer, or maker.
When it comes to styling your own space, what materials, textures, and colours are you drawn to?
I love working with a natural palette because it makes me feel calm. I have four young children so they bring the colour and life! Also, I find that when I work within a constrained palette everything mixes easily together. I can move objects around and repurpose them in different ways and everything works. This was a lesson that I learnt from my wardrobe many years ago. I used to wear more colour and patterns before I had children. But I soon got tired of trying to mix and match the right tones. Once I went neutral everything worked together and life became a whole lot easier!
Tell us about your workspace
I work from home and have an office that’s my creative space. Last Christmas my husband built floor-to-ceiling shelves for all of my storage, and a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. Now, that’s love!
Can you share with us your top 3 tips for designing an authentic home?
I think there are three key factors to designing an authentic home. Of course, you need to be true to your own personal style - what really resonates with you. This is a huge topic that I cover in my course The Styling Masterclass. But three other important factors are
Design for your life
This means really consider how you live within the space. It’s one thing to see something inspiring on Instagram or Pinterest, but you’ve got to consider if it’s going to work within your lifestyle and budget. Distill what is it that you like about that idea - is it the colour, shape, or texture? Can you achieve that some other way or in some other object? You might love the idea of a marble benchtop but can’t afford it, or are worried about how it will wear - so maybe you can introduce marble in another way - a marble floating shelf or splashback - or a large marble chopping board or vase, perhaps.
Design for your house
I think it’s important to respond to the existing architecture. My home was built in the 1970s and has high raked ceilings so I need to consider this with the elements I introduce. Here, I have hung over-sized pendants to fill some of the void. However, in my last house, I couldn’t hang pendants as the ceilings were low and so had to opt for wall lights instead.
Design for your environment
If you’re living in the countryside, you don’t want to create a beachy feel or look with your interiors. You need to respond to where you live. But, also, consider what you see beyond your windows. I am surrounded by greenery, which is beautiful, but also quite busy. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve kept my interiors quite simple and neutral - because I don’t want the inside competing with what’s happening outside.
If you have a moment to yourself, what do you like to do?
Go for a walk, meditate, or read a book. I love listening to podcasts too - but often do this while I’m doing the laundry.
What are you reading, watching, and listening to right now?
I’m reading The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. It’s one of those books I’ve wanted to read for years and recently I decided I needed to get back to reading fiction. I want the mental release that you just don’t get when scrolling through Instagram. It has some great quotes, including this one, which feels so relevant right now: “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want. We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”
How do you like to nurture yourself; do you practice any self-care rituals?
I have daily rhythms and rituals that help make me feel calm and focussed on what’s most important. I share all of them in episode 1a of my podcast - How to create more calm in your home. Some of the most important are to go for a walk or do yoga in the morning, and not check my phone first thing. I also like to turn my phone off about an hour before going to bed and read before sleep. When I bookend my days in these ways, I feel I have so much more calm and clarity in my life.