Interiors expert Tira Dodd is a self-confessed roadside collection addict with a penchant for upcycling, salvaging, books and quirky chairs. An interior architecture graduate, Tira spends her working week living out her dream helping people transform their home from drab to gorgeous. We sat down with her to talk all things interior design and styling.
What would you say your key strengths are?
I find I can work with almost anyone to create the aesthetic and design attributes they desire in their space. I don’t believe my job is about me telling you what to do but to work with you to create something that you will love.
What’s your favourite design trick?
Using colour, light and placement to change the meaning and mood of a space. In one instance it may feel cramped, dark or incohesive but some design knowledge can reveal something amazing in even the most difficult of interiors.
What is the one piece of advice you give to all your clients?
Oh my gosh I have multiple! But my favourites are probably:
- Don’t be afraid of colour. It is possible to use colour to evoke joy in your interior (and without it looking like a kindergarten painting). The range of colours available are endless, there is sure to be at least a few that not only suit you but enliven your style.
- If you have been working on it on your own for a while, it’s OK to question your selections and decisions, and feel like you’re going around in circles. It’s how you know you’re designing. There is rarely a decision I don’t question at least twice.
What’s your favourite interiors store?
Gumtree. Making over something unused to a loved piece for your home is great fun.
If you could have any item for your home, what would it be?
A bath. Our home was built in the 60s with a small bathroom, so we currently don’t have room for a free-standing bath. I am determined to turn the huge laundry into a second bathroom and luxuriate whenever I get the chance.
How would you describe your personal style?
I am well and truly eclectic! I love an interior that is a curated collection of stories; pieces that display a lifetime of memories, loved ones and experiences. Eclectic interiors tend to break the rules by using ideas from different periods and styles, and inject your personality into the home.
The tricky (and really fun) part is making sure that you still achieve a sense of balance through the blend of old and new, colour, texture and pattern. My clients are always so happy when I come to their home and style their personal things to make it feel like a beautiful display of their personality.
What made you get into this industry?
A love for the creative realm and beautiful spaces sparked my initial interest, and now nothing thrills me more than the transformation of a space and knowing that I can help my clients to achieve a design that they will love.
What do you love most about your job?
The joy I see in people when I’m helping them with their interiors, or when I do a room reveal where my client can’t believe the space is really theirs!
What area of home build/renovation do you think people can afford to scrimp on?
I think this is dependent on the individual and is based on what’s important to them. For some, the kitchen needs to function “well enough” but isn’t a primary concern, therefore it’s not worth investing in stone benchtops. For others, they don’t care what their bedroom looks or feels like because they only sleep there. The areas you decide to be of less importance to you is where you spend less focus and therefore less cash. If you’re building or renovating for sale, then it’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
What area of home build/renovation do you think people should splurge on?
This is the same as the above – it depends on what spaces are important to you. I do think that in Australia, we often focus on our entertainment spaces because we spend so much time in them, we need them to function well, and they are often what we show off to our guests. I would, however, like to see the bedroom a bit higher on the list, as this is often a forgotten space in terms of design. Your bedroom is a sacred space; it’s a place of retreat and rest after a busy day, and there are so many elements of design that can easily transform this space to enhance its effect on your sense of wellbeing.
Who are your all-time favourite designers?
A few interior designers who inspire me are Arent & Pyke, Mim Design, and Decus Interiors.
On the spot:
Light, bright, luminous or dark, stormy and moody? Oh my gosh, all of them! I’m a designer; I can’t pick just one creative avenue, and I definitely can’t pick one mood.
Modern and sleek or eclectic and imperfect? Same as above. They all have their value in the right designed setting.
Wood or tiles? Timber. I am probably a more earthy person but I can never walk past a beautiful tile either… does that make me both again?
Built-in or free-standing? This one I am almost a definite on. Built-in is my preference because I am all about personalisation and your interior functioning for you at an optimal level. But that can also mean free-standing could be better suited to you. For example, if you move your furniture around, need to work with a budget, are renting, or move home often.
Shower or bath? Bath. Because I am a firm believer in taking time for yourself, you deserve (and need) to rest and recharge.
Matching or complementing? Being eclectic, I enjoy playing with the boldness that comes from a great selection of contrasting finishes, it creates depth and experience. At the same time, an analogous palette can be used to create a beautiful sense of calm and movement in very subtle ways which I love.
Feature or ambient lighting? Ambient light to me is the foundation for the lighting design of a room, and from there you should always build. Light is so important, it creates mood, movement and direction. It is a key design element that really needs to be considered right from the conceptual phase of the design.
Modular or separates? Separates. They are more conversational, adaptable and allow for the creation of a designed interior that feels enjoyable to be in. Modulars see you stuck in one way of arrangement, and one style of function, but whatever brings you comfort and joy should always be your number one choice.