Curators, Kate Chetwin’s and Pam Scales’s strength lies in connecting hearts with homes.
Yet the talented duo are the first to admit that they are not interior designers — ‘home curators’ are more alchemists turning the ho-hum into a space of special treasures that feel more like their clients.
Think savvy organisation meets genius inspiration meets home transformation.
“Basically we turn a house into a home with what the client already owns and add to it, organise it, place it, and make it feel really comfortable for them to live in,” says Pam.
Whether it’s getting walls painted or removed by subcontractors, hanging art through to buying furniture and soft furnishings, having a house washed, windows cleaned or garden tidied — they freely admit they do whatever it takes to help make it happen. The busy pair started doing this casually a few years ago for friends and family. It started with helping people move, unpack and position furniture when they moved house.
It was so well-received they formalised the business six months ago after being inspired by a gap in the marketplace which Pam explains has morphed into popular service for time poor clients.
They step in at either end — before someone moves helping them to downsize, de-clutter, reorganise and streamline — or after when they walk into a new house.
“Lots of people think, ‘Where am I going to put everything?’. They need help using what they already have to connect with their new home. That’s where we found our business lies.”
Both are not scared to get stuck in clearing out cupboards. “Kitchens are one of our fortes,” says Kate.
She explains their curation style: “We like lots of different eras, textures, and colours.” They don’t necessarily buy everything new either, adds Pam.
“We like lots of vintage pieces and are right into upcycling. It’s just about being earthy and practical, besides, it’s nice to have that twist of individuality.”
One client had a good array of furniture but she wanted it to look more eclectic. Another moved into a wonderful 1960s home with a brief for Kate and Pam to create an ambiance that felt more lived in and professionally styled. “She’s was a bit stuck on colours and placement.” Pam says.
Their talents are complementary Kate is all about the bigger picture working with colour, texture, proportions and layers.
“A home is not meant to be perfect — there is beauty in creating harmony between the old and the new. I’m probably better with the arranging and placing,” says Pam who spends considerable time doing this.
“It doesn’t happen in five seconds and I need time to look and think and then it just comes together but I do like the eclectic thing.”
Kate agrees: “She’s very intuitive and fiddles around before getting items in just the right place.”
Aside from having ‘the eye’, the pair’s true signature is accurately aligning the décor with the essence of their clients.
For one, they collected items from all sorts of places over a six-week period thinking about what she’d like. The end goal was to turn an existing shelf unit into a vignette display of little treasures. They pulled it off. The client was thrilled and commented that their house felt like a home now.
Another room transformation changed habits and possibly lives after an “amazing mid-century dining suite” was sourced that the client had never thought of. “They were thinking of a modern table and seating given they lived in an ultra-modern townhouse.”
Although it had different timber from the floor, the powerful end result brought a family together. Kate recalls the client saying, “It’s the first time we’ve sat down at the dining table to eat dinner and we do that every night now.”
Words: Sarah Sparks