For Melbourne residential designer Camilla Molders, her interest in sketching floorplans was piqued at an early age, as she would spend hours drawing castles with elaborate moats. It was years later, however, that she realised she wanted to turn her talents into a career. While she spent hours with her mother in fabric stores as a child, it wasn’t until she started working for a textile company she started to see the beginnings of a budding career for herself in design.
That love for fabrics and textiles remains a pivotal part of her aesthetic today, as do bold colours and an emphasis on both creativity and practicality.
Camilla spends time with her clients getting to know them and their space, so she can approach each project in a fully individualised way that makes her work so special. She also works hard to focus on being environmentally responsible, and she’s been recognised for her eco-friendly efforts and sourcing of green materials in her projects.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?
As a child I was often dragged along to showrooms where my mother would select fabrics and pieces for our own home. I have a particular memory of my sister & I trying to make a cubby house out of a large pile of kilim rugs! (obviously the rug supplier wasn’t as enthusiastic about that adventure as we were!) Despite the exposure I wasn’t actually aware that interior design was a profession until I found myself working for a well known textile importer (Wardlaw - no longer exist sadly) straight out of high school. It was at Wardlaw where I discovered my passion for textiles and my job was to put schemes together for leading architects and designers.
While working full time at Wardlaw I attended RMIT night school where I learned the formal teachings of design.
My own business was born many years later when the opportunity presented itself & I took the leap of faith & just ‘started’. I have never looked back!
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
The reality of being a designer is that the creative side is less than 10% of the job! Most of the time is spent on logistics, paper trails & project management - without which nothing happens. I wear all the hats & oversee everything! Which as you can imagine when you have lots on the go is quite a task - but I do love it!
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
To be honest I have only just come to realise that I DO have a style and aesthetic! I've been hearing myself say over the years that my style is adaptable and it is all about the tastes and individual style of the clients who I am working with on their home, and my job is to channel that. However I recently put a presentation together that included several images of my work from different projects over the years and my style suddenly became quite clear to me!
Whereas I am adaptable and I don't have a preferred tick the box style - but I see that I do have an aesthetic that is tactile, colourful and with bold touches. Every project is heavily influenced by the client's tastes and the architecture of the home - I am not designing spaces for ME to live in, its about the clients. So I spend time getting to know them IN their space & very quickly their design begins to evolve. Seeing my clients in their finished homes is a really lovely feeling - they just fit perfectly! I consider it such a privilege to assist in their home transformation!
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?
Of course the inimitable Kelly Wearstler. I first became aware of her work many years ago when i stumbled across her newly released first book in a book store. It was a bit of a life moment for me as it was the first time I remember using a designer whose work was SO brave, original, interesting and unlike anything I had seen at the time! Keep in mind this was back in 2004 - well before Instagram and designers portfolios online! I would’ve spent countless hours pouring over every little detail in that book!
At the moment I can't stop looking at images of work by English firm Collet Zarzycki and one apartment in particular from their folio ‘Lateral apartment’ It's full of colour and interesting pieces beautifully put together and I wouldn’t change a thing about it! I’d live there!
I'm drawn to designers who aren’t afraid to be a little different and whose work is varied.
5. What inspires you?
Colour and textiles are what truly inspire me & make my heart skip a beat!
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
Being a fabric girl, I do love an upholstered bedhead. It;s a piece that brings substance to the room and has purpose and sets the scene. It's is a piece where you can be quite bold or subdued with the design and fabric selection and it can be worked into the scheme.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
A rug really grounds the space. It can be the element that brings the whole design together, be subtle or be bold! I love rugs and regularly design my own for my projects. My sculptured rugs are something I am very proud of and hope to do something more with them down the track so that they are available to more than just my clients.
8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?
They are all like my babies in a way! But a couple that will always carry a special place is the Middle Park warehouse where I worked closely with the client to create a space I'm really proud of. Every millimetre in that space has a function and purpose and we had to come up with lots of clever solutions to make it all come together and look like it's always been there!
Also the Kew house we completed where we worked very closely with the architect on the project Adie Courtney. It was a fun and satisfying project with clients who were very trusting and wanted to create their forever home. We created spaces that will age well with the family and have a lot of bespoke pieces that I designed specifically like furniture, rugs.
It's very satisfying to visit these projects a few years after we’ve finished and see their owners so happily living within and that the spaces are standing up so perfectly to the daily rigour of life!
Let's Get Personal .......
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work? Collecting art. I don't have anything of particular monetary value, but I am building a collection of interesting pieces that inspire me.
2. What is your most treasured belonging? A painting I bought at a pivotal life moment. It signifies independence and it's something I can stare at for hours on end!
3. What's one thing people may not know about you? I'm an excellent reverse parker.
4. In 10 years I'd like to be .... Working on beautiful homes -still!
5. What can't you live without? Colour. Colours can change my mood instantly and constantly inspire me. Mother nature - the ultimate colourist certainly knows what she is doing & I often look to her for inspiration!