The Style Segment with Aimee McKechnie of Curated + Made Made and The Shore at Gerringong

This month on The Style Segment we were fortunate enough to chat to Aimee McKechnie, Founder and Creative Director of Interior Design and Styling studio Curated + Made, and proud owner of the highly coveted boutique holiday property The Shore at Gerringong. Located on the stunning South Coast of New South Wales, this Insta famous property takes barefoot luxury to the next level on the shores of Werri Beach.

Amy: Tell us a bit about yourself…

Aimee: My official title is Role Juggler, with two different businesses that have competing demands, as well as being a mum to a 13 and 16 year olds. I’m the Founder and Creative Director of Curated + Made which is an Interior Design and Styling studio, and also the founder and host of The Shore at Gerringong, a luxury holiday property on the NSW South Coast.

Amy: Where and how did your interiors journey begin?

Aimee: I’ve always held an interest in Interior Design and even did work experience in high school (many years ago) with an interior design studio. Somewhere along the way I decided to study Commerce instead, and moved in Event Management. After 15 years working in corporate events, and following the birth of my two children, it was finally the right time to study Interior Design. Curated + Made was founded in 2014 and has evolved over the past 10 years into a legitimate business rather than just the hobby I thought it might be. Yay!

Amy: What services does Curated + Made offer?

Aimee: Our focus is solely on residential interiors, so we offer Interior Design and Styling, as well as Property Styling and prepping homes for sale. We can assist with everything from floorpan and layout, joinery design, specification of fixtures and fittings, right through to the final layer of decoration and styling.

Amy: You’re the proud owner of the stunning, and somewhat famous holiday rental The Shore at Gerringong. Tell us the story behind this luxurious coastal oasis and what it means to you.

Aimee: The beautiful northern light and raked ceiling sold me on the first inspection of the property, as well as the large north facing balcony. Combined with the ocean and mountain views, it didn’t really matter what the internals looked like, I just knew it had great bones and we could create something special. We’d been looking in and around Gerringong for a few years, so knew the location was perfect.

I wanted somewhere to spend time with family and friends, away from never ending to-do lists and closer to the ocean. My goal was to just have an oasis of calm that we could retreat to with the kids, chill out, make memories and walk on the beach every morning.

I also have a bit of an obsession with new and interesting holiday destinations though, so always try to steer our holidays toward somewhere that has a really considered fit-out. Which is the main reason The Shore was born – I wanted to offer that same kind of interesting experience to others for their getaways but really elevate it, so guests didn’t ever feel like they were staying in someone’s weekender.

Amy: Do you have a favourite space in The Shore?

Aimee: There are so many spaces and nooks it’s hard to choose one. The living space with its cathedral, shiplap ceiling is definitely a hero though. It really makes the upstairs living area and balcony so much more interesting and unique as well as allowing the northern sun to stream through.

I also love that each bedroom is its own oasis, with an ensuite and views. It means you can easily have 4 or 5 couples staying and everyone has their own space to retreat to, which I definitely rate as a priority when I go on holiday myself.

Amy: Which would you say is your most favourite project to date?

Aimee: I’ve recently completed a decoration/styling project in Summer Hill for a corporate couple and their two teenagers which was incredible to work on. The renovation had already been completed and the client is a building designer – so I had the perfect base to work from. We furnished the entire house with plenty of custom pieces and commissioned artwork that really reflected their personalities. They gave me creative licence to introduce colour and interesting pieces that typically clients tend to shy away from. Definitely my ideal client!

Amy: What does a typical day in the life of Aimee McKechnie look like?

Aimee: As I’m sure with every designer, each day is different. It’s a fairly early start Monday – Thursday with the alarm set for 5.30am to get the kids sorted, do some exercise and be at my desk by around 8am. My main goal each week is to try to be efficient with my time and have allocated blocks for desk based work and blocks for client meetings or visiting suppliers. I wrap up at 4pm to collect the kids from the bus and become a taxi driver for after school sport at least four afternoons each week. Once a week I drag myself out of bed closer to 4.30am so I can drive to Gerringong and check on The Shore. I make sure everything is ticking along there maintenance wise, perhaps meet with local suppliers or trades if there’s been an issue. Then I’ll visit any projects that are south of Sydney if needed.

I’ve been working from home for the past 10 years but will be moving to a dedicated studio in April which I’m VERY excited about. Watch this space for a photoshoot location that you’ll be able to hire on the lower north shore!

Amy: What design trends are you loving right now?

Aimee: I’m very happy that colour is making a comeback, especially deep tones like olive green and terracotta. Stone is also being used more by furniture suppliers – whether its topping a buffet or table. With the changes to engineered stone I think we’ll see people getting more creative with their bench tops as well. And in terms of floorpans, I think we’ll see a shift to less open plan living which is exciting (and much more functional).

Amy: How would you describe your own personal design style?

Aimee: The Curated + Made line is ‘timeless design for laidback living’ which is definitely a reflection of how I like to steer each project overall. But my personal style is perhaps a little bolder than what’s on many of my clients wish lists. Personally I place a big emphasis on unique pieces by local craftsmen and I definitely don’t follow trends. Everything needs to be functional, but never boring in my own space. The Shore is a great example of what I would do for a client and it works beautifully for a holiday property, but it’s very different to my home.

Amy: How do you stay creatively inspired?

Aimee: Travel is definitely top of the list. Another career choice would have been travel agent! Staying in different locations and countries, and going to different restaurants is always super inspiring. Art galleries are fantastic as well and I try to go to exhibitions when I can, whether it’s a small local show or something like the Archibald. And a showroom day every few months with another designer/work wife keeps me in the loop with new products or ranges from suppliers.

Amy: What advice do you have for people wanting to get into, or starting out, in interior design?

Aimee: Working in showrooms is underrated. Kitchen, tile, furniture, fabric showrooms – even a part time job while your studying will arm you with knowledge. People seem to want to skip to working for an interior design studio or go out on their own straight after graduating, but product knowledge is key. Spend the time to gather as much knowledge as you can.

Amy: What are your favourite pieces from the Huntley + Co range?

Aimee: So many options, but I have a thing for armchairs so I’d choose the Beckett Occasional Chair in Olive Boucle, paired with the Tino side table.


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