For designer Amy Spargo, the name of her firm, Maine House Interiors, reflects a lot about her aesthetic and objectives when she’s working on a space. Amy says both the name Maine House and her work are a nod to American architecture and design. Her objective with her projects is to pair unique and sometimes surprising elements of colour and print while sourcing distinctive antiques and handmade items to integrate with high-end designer pieces. Amy is an ardent supporter of local artisans and craftspeople, and she hopes that each of her finished projects reflects the journey of the lives of the people who live there.
For Amy, a love of design started early, particularly as her Mum is also a decorator, and her father the founder of National Tiles.
We had the opportunity to talk to Amy and learn more about what it is that inspires her about classic American design, how her career has progressed, and what sees as essential pieces in a room.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?Interior Design has always been in my blood, with my mother, a talented decorator and my Father founding 'National Tiles' over 35 years ago. When I was a child, our house was filled with stacks of design magazines. Seeing my Mother's work featured on the cover of House and Garden, I was always in awe of how she could effortlessly pull a room together which exuded a lived-in feel.
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?Maine House Interiors is a full service firm, most of my projects call for space planning, joinery design, custom furniture, furnishings and lighting. Working independently and being across all aspects of the design and often being the lead consultant on the project requires a high level of co-ordination so I would have to say the most challenging part of my job would be timing.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?I am drawn to American style, I love their use of colour and pattern and the incredible attention to detail in joinery. I aim to create a ‘ lived-in' interior - an approach I inherited from my Mother - that tells a story of my client’s life. I will always look to find a unique piece, a ‘one off’ treasure that sets each interior apart from the next in the spaces that I create.
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?I love the work of Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Phoebe Howard and her son Andrew, I admire his bold use of colour and pattern. I have also long admired Kit Kemp, particularly for her work on the Firmdale Hotels. Since launching Maine House Interiors I have been inspired by young women in business, particularly mothers. It’s such a challenge balancing motherhood and a career, so I am often in awe of established designers who have managed to do both.
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?All bedrooms should have a great bedside table. Mine is filled with things that mean something to me; photographs of my loved ones, fresh blooms and a small antique tea caddy that houses my smallest treasures. A bedside is the first thing that you see every morning and the last thing you see at night.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?I do love an upholstered ottoman. Coming from a large family of 7 siblings, we are always looking for an extra seat when we get together for special occasions. Our ottoman in often pulled to one side, creating extra seating for a few of the 12 grandchildren. My ottoman (when not in use by little children) is topped with a rattan tray; holding my favourite design books of the moment, a ginger jar filled with flowers and a few trinkets that are robust enough to withstand 'pretend play’ with my two young girls.
8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?My favourite project would have to be the ski lodge that I designed for our family, alongside Architect Peter McIntyre. Peter is a pioneer of Australian Alpine design and it was an honour to work alongside such a talent. My parents purchased the Lodge and immediately entrusted Peter and I to transform the property; not seeing the space again until 6 months later, when they arrived to a new Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Ski Room.
Amy is likely to continue loving nature and finding inspiration in the diversity of the local landscape, as well as from her travels around the world. She also remains committed to creating spaces that echo the lives of the people who will be enjoying them and providing support for artisans, whether it be local or around the world in South Africa.
Let's Get Personal ......
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?
My husband and 2 girls, Hillary, 4 years of age and Primrose, 2 years of age.
2. What is your most treasured belonging?
It would have to be my bamboo and rattan sideboard that was handmade in South Africa. I purchased it whilst we were living in Sydney from a lovely family who had treasured it for over 30 years. I hope to do the same.
3. What's one thing people may not know about you?
I studied Behavioural Science before changing to study Interior Design, it often comes in handy!
4. In 10 years I'd like to be ....
Doing exactly what I am doing now. I can’t imagine doing anything else, I feel very blessed to be able to call my passion, my work.
5. What can't you live without?
My family - I speak to my sisters most days and my mother at least a few times a day. We are all very close and I cherish that bond. Family...and maybe 2 squares of dark chocolate after dinner.