07.02.20

Tess is the fearless leader and founder behind Smack Bang Designs, a creative agency based in Sydney. We visited her light filled coastal abode to chat about what inspired her to start her own business, curating her home, nurturing herself and other exciting projects that she’s working on.
Tess wears the Column Cami in Vintage White and the High Waist Flare Jean in Stone Blue

How would you describe yourself?

I’m many things - mother, business owner, partner, sister, daughter and hopeless utopian. Creativity, hard work and a fierce drive to do better and be better are some of the parts that make me whole.

You are the Founder and Creative Director of Smack Bang Designs. What inspired you to open your own design studio?

From a very young age I have always been making and creating, turning my wild ideas into works of art. My initial Clag glue and kraft paper addiction evolved with age into a more refined obsession with scrapbooking and later in life turning drawings into digital illustrations and so, a life of graphic design seemed like a sensible choice. Design has been an innate part of me since I could use my hands, and to be honest I’ve never really imagined myself doing anything else. And the working for myself part? Well, that came from a rebelliousness that hates being told what to do.

Outside of Smack Bang, what are you working on at the moment?

The last 15 months of raising my daughter, Dylan, has been huge. I’ve just been focusing on learning how to be someone’s mum - which is a big job. But now that Dylan is a bit older and more independent I’m slowly finding my way back into creative pursuits outside of Smack Bang. My partner and I are currently designing what will be some fairly big renovations to our little seaside home. And as well as that, I’ve been working on our other business Urban Growers and trying to use that as a vehicle to do what we can to mitigate climate change. We’ve got some exciting initiatives underway for the year ahead.

Tell us about your home, how do you go about curating it?

I love my home. I guess you could say I’m a typical Taurean - I live for beautiful spaces, am obsessed with decorating and designing, and can’t relax in my home until it’s sparkling clean. We bought this place about 2 years ago, and it’s very much a work in progress. So far my curation process has been slow and minimal. I love simplicity and despise clutter, so always take my time and ensure what I’m bringing into the space will add value. Each piece has to be something I truly love, that is timeless and that I know I’ll enjoy and use for years to come.

Tess wears the Column Cami in Vintage White and the High Waist Flare in Stone Blue

Do you have a favorite object in your home, one that’s extra special to you?

I would have to say my bed!! It’s been 15 months of very little sleep in our household, so every second I get in bed is a second of absolute gratitude. We recently upgraded to a king to fit in the bubba (and our Kelpie - but don’t tell my mother in law that!). We got the Zara from Totem Road and love that it’s made from sustainably sourced timber, and our delicious linens are from Carlotta and Gee - the most amazing quality.

In what ways do you nurture yourself? Any daily rituals?

Oh, not so many at the moment unfortunately, my life is a little too full. However, every morning starts with the ritual of coffee and incense, and if I can squeeze it in, meditation. Most days I escape for a quick walk and swim at the beach with my dog.

What do you love about your neighborhood, where are your favourite places to go?

We live 1.5 hours south of Sydney in a little suburb that's tucked between the beach and the bush. Down here it’s quiet and I’m largely unmolested by obligations. My favourite place is the beach - it’s my sanity.

Tell us about your everyday essentials, what are your wardrobe staples?

I’m drawn to simple pieces with flattering cuts. Above all, they must be practical, comfortable and easy to throw on. For the most part, I have a ‘capsule wardrobe’ where everything goes together - which is a huge time-saver in a very busy life.

Tess wears the Column Cami in Vintage White and the High Waist Flare Jean in Stone Blue
What are you reading, listening to and watching right now?

I’m reading The Sustainable Diet, by Scott Gooding. Listening to a mix of podcasts including Goop, One Wild Ride, Beyond the Bump and Expanded. And sadly, I haven’t watched anything in so long! Between mum life, running a business, getting enough sleep and spending time with my man, there isn’t much left over for sitting in front of a TV… although I do dream of the day when this can become my reality.

Describe an ideal weekend morning at home

We love our weekend ritual of cooking pancakes at the beach. We try to go to beaches we don’t often visit, see the sunrise and pack enough coffee to drown us all.

To see more of Tess & SmackBang Design:
@tess__robinson
@smackbangdesigns

 

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