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Eclectic Elegance with Lucy Montgomery

As a stylist, designer and the interior design editor of Belle magazine, Sydney-based Lucy Montgomery has an aesthetic touch that can only be envied. We spoke to Lucy about launching her eponymous label of home accessories and effortlessly mixing her signature Mediterranean-inspired style with beautiful handcrafted pieces.

Photography by Dave Wheeler

What was the first piece of design that really mattered to you?

A wrought-iron bed frame that belonged to my grandmother.

Describe your signature aesthetic in three words.

Timeless. Considered. Collected.

Lamps designed by Lucy Montgomery

How has the Australian design scene changed during your tenure as interior design editor at Belle?

I think the value of beautifully designed spaces has become more universally accepted in Australia during the last decade. Whether it’s a restaurant, bar, shop or home, people understand that the aesthetic, spatial and material choices made by an interior designer can shape their experience of a space. The number of talented and successful design practices working in Australia today is a testament to this. And as Australians have embraced design, it’s created more space for experimentation. There is now a desire for original, artistic and idiosyncratic interiors that are layered with unexpected objects, bespoke finishes and references to obscure or eclectic styles from different cultural traditions and moments in history. This definitely informed my collection.

Pillows designed by Lucy Montgomery
Pillow designed by Lucy Montgomery

We were excited to see you launch your namesake home accessories label! What prompted you to branch out into design?

I was constantly sourcing accessories for Belle photoshoots as well as private clients and would always seek out beautiful table lamps and cushions to complete a residential scheme and make it feel liveable as well as layered and interesting. The collection grew out of the challenges I often encountered when sourcing these elements and my desire to create elegant, original pieces that would complement the incredible art, furniture and interiors that I was working with as a stylist.

Lamp designed by Lucy Montgomery
Lamps designed by Lucy Montgomery
Tell us a bit about the collection. What references did you have on your mood board when you were designing?

My ongoing mood boards consistently feature landmark Mediterranean hotels such as Le Sirenuse [in Positano] and the design work of sculptor Alberto Giacometti. The collection comprises a trio of table lamps as well as a range of cushions and textiles, all handcrafted in Sydney by local artisans and tradespeople. The lamp bases are handmade with plaster, which has a beautiful chalky patina. It’s a wonderfully nuanced material that simultaneously exudes gravitas and grace, especially given the silhouettes of the bases, which hark back to Mediterranean earthenware from antiquity but still feel modern. The bases can be mixed and matched with a range of custom linen shades, so the finished product is very bespoke and adaptable to a variety of interior schemes. My cushion range features a signature hand-painted stripe, which I developed with a textile artist and this is printed on Belgian linen.

What is your favorite piece? Does it have a story behind it?

The ‘Del Rio’ lamp was my first design. It’s named after a Spanish mission-style apartment building near my parents’ home in Elizabeth Bay. Translating to ‘by the water’, the name references the collection’s Mediterranean influence.

Dining room table and chairs
Featured in the August/September 2020 issue of Belle.

In the past year, you welcomed a baby daughter into the world! As a company that’s 90% women, we’re curious – how are you finding the work/life balance? Especially right now, when a lot of us are working from home?

Having a baby and launching a collection in the last year has certainly kept me out of trouble! As the collection is all locally made, we were fortunate enough to not experience delays in production due to COVID. But this meant that my work didn’t really stop so Grace came with me almost everywhere. I had to master breastfeeding on the go! My husband Sam is currently on a month’s primary carer’s leave so it has allowed me to launch the collection and also put time aside each day for sourcing, shoots and client meetings. I am also very fortunate that my parents live around the corner from us and have helped us with the juggle.

"When things work well and also look beautiful, they elevate the everyday."

Foyer in Lucy Montgomery's home
Living room in Lucy Montgomery's home
Featured in the August/September 2020 issue of Belle.

What have you discovered is essential to your own living space?

Natural light.

When it comes to modern family living, what are your tips for striking a balance between functional elements and more aesthetic design details?

We live in an apartment, so we try to be selective with our things. I love the idea of design pieces that have been crafted using traditional techniques and natural materials, taking a functional object and making it beautiful, sculptural and arresting. When things work well and also look beautiful, they elevate the everyday.

Kitchen of Lucy Montgomery's home
Bedroom of Lucy Montgomery's home
Featured in the August/September 2020 issue of Belle.

Sometimes it can be easier to buy what is cheap or convenient. What are your reasons for investing in quality pieces with real longevity?

My rule of thumb when working with clients is to invest in pieces that you love and want around for a long time. People are also becoming increasingly mindful of how their shopping habits and daily lives are impacting the environment. Quality pieces with a patina that is soft to touch and appealing to look at will stand the test of time.

Finally, we can’t help but ask – what’s your favorite Armadillo rug to have underfoot?

I am a huge fan of the Agra rug in Oyster.

Lucy Montgomery

Follow Lucy Montgomery on Instagram.

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