I came across Jonathan Fleming during a standard weekend scroll through apartmenttherapy.com. The home he shares with his partner in Sydney was featured in their House Tours section and I was instantly reeled in. Sophisticated, playful, yet somehow harmonious, their apartment is where you want to spend an unhurried day with friends, without fearing spilling on the carpet or defiling the coffee table book display.
When we connected with Jonathan, his friendliness seemed perfectly in match with the warmth of his style. You feel at home with his designs, a curated hodgepodge of textures, complementary tones and subtle prints. The space is complete and you feel right at home in it.
And it’s no surprise given Jono’s portfolio. From cooking and food styling for shows and books, to designing sets for Temple & Webster, and most recently, taking on the role as Style Editor at Inside Out Magazine, his range encompasses every room in the house.
We were hungry to learn about what catches his eye, where to shop for budget home decor and how to create an immersive home office. So we asked!
What’s your design aesthetic and philosophy?
I like to consider myself a ‘curated maximalist.’ As a stylist, I tend to collect and pick up lots of objects and items along my travels. I like to think that it’s all for work, but low key, I’m a bit of a hoarder — call it an occupational hazard.
Everything that is out and on display at home is very considered — chosen and curated to have its place. It’s layered without being fussy, and I love using colour to create mood and balance in the space.
Tell us about your home.
When I first moved in, I had an image of what I wanted it to look like. I referenced lots of minimal, Scandinavian spaces, with minimal styling and soft blush tones. But over the years, and especially influenced by working for magazines, my knowledge of brands and artists expanded, and inevitably my style evolved.
I started to inject colour into my space slowly through artwork, or the stray decor piece, and from there it grew and grew and before I realised it, I had put together a home that truly felt like an expression of my creativity and personality.
When it comes to designing other spaces though, it all depends on the context, who will occupy the space, the location, the over mood, it leaves me with a diverse portfolio but I think the key theme that runs throughout is a detailed and layered space.
If you could choose another place to live in Australia, where would it be?
My partner and I recently came back from a trip to Tasmania and we fell head over heels in love with the entire state. There’s so many incredible pockets all over the island, from beautiful mountain ranges to rugged seaside inlets.
We stayed at Sea Stacks at Bicheno, these incredible dwellings designed by Taylor + Hinds architects and I think it’s inspired us to find our little dream block of land down there now.
Note: Check out Soho’s properties in Bicheno.
What tips would you give on budget styling a home?
Buy local and get thrifty! I love art, decor, and design, it’s an occupational hazard. But you can’t always afford big-ticket items for everything at home. I like to support local design and emerging designers to build a unique collection over time.
“The biggest advice I can give is to get things framed professionally.”
The same goes with art and I like to scour op shops to find the right piece. The biggest advice I can give is to get things framed professionally. It can elevate even the oldest crinkled poster into something cherished and protected, and it’s worth the investment in the long run.
What are your home office must-haves?
The most important thing for a home office is a tidy space. I cannot emphasise this enough, maybe it’s because I do personally struggle with this at times. But decluttering your home office is the biggest advantage to creating a productive space.
However, not everyone has the luxury of a separate home office. I tend to spend a lot of my time working at the dining table with my laptop. When it comes to making that dining table an office, there are a few key ways I approach it.
I like to give my ‘home office’ a different mood when I start the day. I sit down and I light a candle or put on some essential oils, and I have a different playlist of music I put on during ‘work hours’. These little actions, the rituals we undertake can help demarcate the work zone.
Things like bringing a house plant to the table, setting the space up like it is your office in a small way can make all the difference.
And, make sure at the end of the day you pack away everything you can. You want to remove any signs of work and business which will clear your mind and clear the visual clutter that can tend to overwhelm your desk.
What is a luxury household item you can’t live without?
I’m not sure it’s a always counted as a luxury item but I love a good candle at home. I find scent such a powerful mood changer and I don’t save any candles for ‘special occasions’. I like to burn through them, and then swap out for a new scent once one is done.
Maybe that’s what makes them a luxury item, the rate I get through them, it can tend to add up a bit. Some of my favourite bands are Maison Balzac, their Sainte T candle is my go to every time, and Southern Wild Co., a beautiful rural NSW brand that has such unique, varied scents.
How do you choose the right art for each space?
“…art can be special and unique without a hefty price tag.”
I’ve always loved art but used to think it was a bit unobtainable due to the price tag it can come with sometimes. After working as style editor for Inside Out magazine, my world opened up and I was introduced to so many incredible artists.
Over the years, I’ve slowly collected artworks by local Australian artists. It brings colour and life into the home, and it’s been growing piece by piece. In 2020 I launched Palette by Jono Fleming because I found there was a lot of the same type of artwork on the market and I wanted to show that art can be special and feel unique without a hefty price tag. I represent local artists and sell limited edition framed prints, ready to hang in your home.
Thank you, Jonathan!
Want to learn more?
Check out Jono’s work here. If you haven’t found your dream home for Jono to design, we can also help you out in that department.
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