For Jess Bandiera, partnering with her mother to form the award-winning Verandah House design firm was a natural fit. Jess had long watched her mother, Judy Elliott, one of Brisbane’s foremost interior designers, lead the way in the industry and create beautiful homes and spaces. Judy’s design style is the cultivation of 25 years of experience and focuses on timelessness and classic elements that contribute to an enduring aesthetic.
Together with Jess, they work on both residential and commercial projects and bring to them a distinctive infusion of both old and new, along with new American classic inspiration. This includes neutral colour palettes with pops of fresh colours like blue, an appreciation for the natural architectural elements of a space, and an eye for detail lending to a cultivated, lived-in look and feel.
Both have won awards and consistently been recognized for their work, and they continue to deliver excellence to all of their projects, starting with the very first client meeting and continuing through the installation phase.
We sat down with Judy and Jess to discover more about what defines their style, and how they continue to bring a fresh vision and passion to each of their projects.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and how did you get started with your design business?
JUDY: My passion for decorating started when I was in my mid 20’s, at the time we had a successful building company, we used our own homes as a portfolio of our work, the interiors were often admired and featured in home magazines, clients would then ask if I could do their interiors and hence I fell into a career of design.
JESS: Growing up with a creative mum and dad who owned a building company at the time was when I knew I wanted to be in design. I was constantly exposed to beautiful homes and interiors and loved seeing the whole creative process come together. When I decided I wanted to be an interior designer, I studied full time for a year and then Jude and I set up the company from home at first and it just grew from there.
2. Do you and your Mum take on specific roles in the design process?
We work on all projects together from meeting with the client right through to installation of our projects. We are both involved in the entire process, however I work with the project management team to support the execution of all our projects and Judy tends to manage the creative side of the business.
3. What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of our job is dealing with the project management side, we work tirelessly perfecting our systems but in our industry, there are so many variables, such as delays in fabric, furniture shipping delays, freighting damages, faulty products and human error, can create havoc to meeting deadlines on installation day. We often say problem solving is a big part of the business of design.
4. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
Our style would be best described as classic, timeless design with a modern sensibility, we want our interiors to look great in years to come, we avoid trends where possible and focus more on bespoke finishes, customizing our interiors so they are unique and stand the test of time. Whether it’s a country ranch, a modern city apartment, a beach house or a classic style interior, we tend to still have a distinct style that represents our brand and design aesthetic.
5. Who are other interior designers you admire?
Oh that’s tough because we admire so many designers but what comes to mind:
- Bunny Williams
- William Yeoward
- John De Bastiani
- Charlotte Moss
- Phoebe Howard
- Suzanne Kasler
- Barbarra Barry
- Paul Moschino
6. What inspires you?
Blue is in our Dutch heritage so it will always be a colour that inspires our work but lately we are also drawn back to neutrals especially in homes with strong architectural details, timbers back in joinery, stone, warmer whites and aged metals, antiques mixed with modern elements, layered interiors, throws draped behind sofas, a collected lived in look.
7. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
A bedroom chair or writing desk is always the perfect compliment to the bedroom as it makes the space feel like a room that can be enjoyed anytime of the day
8. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
A rug, whether a textured sisal or a one-off silk Persian rug really completes a space.
Both Judy and Jess work not only on full-scale, timeless design projects for their clients, but they spend their time away from work cherishing their own homes. They’ve worked to create homes that very much reflect their professional project objectives, making them their sanctuary. They also focus on their other creative passions, ranging from photography to visiting local farmer’s markets, all of which undoubtedly have an influence on their work as well, and their understanding of how important a home is to their clients.
Also a few personal questions: (We loved this bit ;-))
What else are you passionate about besides your work?
Judy: My home, I can happily spend hours just tinkering away, styling and just enjoying being at home. I hope over the next few years to slow down to focus on my passion for gardening and photography, even maybe write a book.
JESS: What she said!! I guess what mum has passed down to me is to love & treasure my home, it’s my absolute sanctuary, every week I go to the Farmer’s Markets to pick up a fresh bunch of flowers and I’m constantly buying new décor books to stack on my coffee table. Home is where the heart is and there’s nothing I love more than a lazy Sunday at home with my family.
What is your most treasured belonging?
JUDY: My most treasure belongings are my vintage set of indigo books given to me by my son Nick, I will treasure them always. My antique French perfume bottles and heart shape rocks that my family have helped me collect over years from beach holidays.
JESS: My Christmas decorations as they have been handed down and collected over time, I am incredibly sentimental so my books and gifts given by my mum are often my most treasured possessions.
What's one thing people may not know about you?
JUDY: That when I get knocked down, I dust myself off and get on with it!
JESS: That I’m quite a spiritual person
In 10 years I'd like to be ....
JUDY: Living at my farm in Byron Bay, tackling my bucket list, creating memories with my family, enjoying the simpler things in life and maybe writing my second book.
JESS: Living by the water, importing fine furniture from France, travelling for work and I’d love to have a lifestyle television show one day, just saying!
What can't you live without?
JUDY: My books
JESS: My precious little pooch Milko