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Q&A with art collector Phillipa Atkinson

Article by Simply You

Inside homes: Phillipa Atkinson

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
I am really stimulated by patterns and colour. I’m never worried about throwing things together and challenging things to work.
I enjoy being around things that are visually lively – gardens, artwork, fabric shops, galleries, cities, clothing stores. I am also inspired by my travel experiences and try to bring these memories into my home.

HOW HAVE YOUR TRAVELS INFLUENCED YOUR INTERIOR STYLE?
I am fortunate to have a very generous brother who is a pilot for a major airline. I’ve been on his list of travel companions for years, which has meant I can get on a plane and go to places I would not otherwise have visited. I have been able to have experiences in India, Africa and the Middle East which are off the beaten track. This has stimulated my visual engagement with colours, texture, food and culture and I like to pull these things back into my home to live alongside things that are uniquely New Zealand. So I buy artworks by New Zealand artists that feel like they sit well alongside a rug from Marrakesh or a blanket from the northern parts of India. These mixed and thrown together layers are lovely to be around.

HOW HAS THIS APPROACH TRANSLATED INTO YOUR BEDROOM?
My bedroom is an eclectic mix of things that have meaning to me personally. I have a throw purchased in India, the wall hanging is an Ikat from Indonesia, the rugs are from Turkey and India and I bought a crochet creature from Martel, in France, when I visited long-time Auckland gallery owner Anna Bibby at her B&B. I buy mementos on my travels and combine them with pieces I source from local importers, like Siena in Parnell whose soft Society linens work brilliantly in a restful bedroom space.

WHERE DO YOU BUY YOUR ART?
I have become friends with some wonderful art people in Auckland. Dominic Feuchs from Starkwhite is often in contact with me, tempting me with some amazing new piece or upcoming artist exhibitions. Hamish Coney and the people at Art+Object have brilliant auctions with beautifully printed catalogues and opening nights, which I actively try to attend. Even if I’m not in the market to buy, just seeing all the art in one room is amazing.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ACCESSORIES FOR CREATING A HOMELY ATMOSPHERE?
Candles are important to me. Apart from the light they throw off in a room, there is nothing nicer than coming home to relax after a hectic day and having a richly scented spicy orange and cinnamon fragrance permeating the room. Smith & Caughey’s has an amazing array of homewares from candles and bed throws to linens and, dare I say it, tea towels and the odd apron.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
I am an avid buyer of books and I love surfing the web for inspiration. I’m also constantly visiting art galleries and going into design stores. I don’t just see art as a painting or a sculpture, I see it in textured colour, garden design, glass and all the things that create visual layers.

YOU RECENTLY REDESIGNED YOUR GARDEN, WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
I am really interested in gardens at the moment so I borrowed some books by Australian landscape designer Paul Bangay and together with Auckland-based landscaper Scott Humphreys, I’ve given more structure to the garden which has let more light into the property and really complements the house. The garden now has layers of white and purple and the good old Aussie Westringia low hedging has been great for the citrus trees as it attracts bees. It’s nice to have a lime grown from the garden in a vodka and tonic at the end of the day.

WHAT’S ALWAYS ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
Water, my reading glasses (I love reading a good book and the paper in bed on the weekend), and the Sky remote – I am addicted to Soho channel.

Writer: Catherine Steel
Photographer: Rebekah Robinson

 

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