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Nicolle Sullivan of Cultiver

Going Tonal with Nicolle Sullivan of Cultiver

As founder of linen and homewares brand CULTIVER, Nicolle Sullivan firmly believes in finding enjoyment in the things we use most frequently. Below, she speaks to us from their beautiful new head office about why we should purchase with longevity in mind and the emotive impact of color in the most intimate areas of the home.

Kitchen in the home of Nicolle Sullivan
Kitchen in the home of Nicolle Sullivan

We’d love to hear a bit about your background. What led you to found CULTIVER in 2012?

Starting CULTIVER was a huge career change for me. I was on maternity leave with my first daughter and started thinking about a change from the corporate world. I was an early adopter of online shopping and grew up with an appreciation for quality European textiles, so CULTIVER was my way of bringing those two loves together. While I knew what I liked as a customer, my experience on the other side of an online business was fairly limited to begin with. It’s been a journey of continual learning and surrounding myself with the right people.

Are there any personal values that have guided your business along the way?

My upbringing taught me the value of, and my early career certainly prepared me for, working hard and always learning, which has helped a lot at all stages of the business. I have a strong sense of fairness, which I hope helps me be a better leader/manager and sets the tone for how our business operates, with everyone from suppliers to customers.

Bedroom in the home of Nicolle Sullivan

"Personally, I like a hero color against a more neutral background."

We strongly believe in buying fewer but better things. What are your own reasons for investing in quality, timeless pieces?

As the years go by, I am more and more interested in simplifying and refining, especially the things that are around me every day. If you have less “stuff”, you are able to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of what you have more readily. And it creates less waste, which is better for everyone.

Living room in the home of Nicolle Sullivan

Let’s talk color! Are there any hues that you are personally drawn to? Are you into tonal or contrasting palettes?

I’m all about tonal palettes, I find them very soothing. Tones that reflect those in nature are what I am most drawn to. More recently, I am loving adding some green to my home and wardrobe.

Do you think color has an impact on our mood, energy and emotions?

I think it can play a part, yes. I think people probably experience this in varying intensities. Personally, I like a hero color against a more neutral background, but I know a lot of others feel energized by a brighter mix.

Bedroom in the home of Nicolle Sullivan
Campaign for CULTIVER

How do you think the addition of a small burst of color can completely transform a room? 

It can be a way to draw the eye to a feature, add visual interest, or make it more warm or cool, modern or luxurious looking….so many ways!

Any tips on mixing and matching hues in the bedroom for those of us a bit afraid to experiment?

My advice would be to keep things tonal. I love layering similar colors like the Blush, Fawn and Dusk from our range. Particularly calming for a bedroom, a tonal palette creates texture and interest without being too busy or jarring.

Bed with CULTIVER bed linens
Many of us are taking this time at home to declutter. Can you share any tips on curating a space, or even just a vignette on your bedside table, to ease the mind?

When it comes to your bedside table, less is best. Something natural – whether a plant or fresh flowers – really helps, a lamp to add some height and allow reading in bed, and definitely no electronics. I’ve started charging my phone in another room at night to help break the habit of starting and ending the day looking at it. Finally, a beautiful little dish to add some prettiness but that is also functional as a place to put your jewelry or watch at the end of the day.

Tell us what your own home is like – how would you describe the décor?

It’s a Federation period house so there are some traditional features like dark wooden floors and cornice detailing, which we have balanced with textured rugs from Armadillo and modern furnishings. It’s fairly classic but we have gone bold in a couple of areas – recently painting the kitchen a dark green!

CULTIVER linen fabric swatches
Dining room with Agra rug

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

Art, good lighting and texture through rugs and textiles.

Are there any little luxuries you are indulging in right now?

The extra time feels like a luxury and I am using it to exercise. Also, not holding back on good food and wine.

Finally, we can’t help but ask – what’s your favorite rug from our new Colour Play collection?

Obsessed with the Malawi in Saffron!

Malawi rug in Amber

Follow CULTIVER on Instagram.

Photography by Chris Warnes & Prue Ruscoe.

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