A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of Natalie Walton visiting the showroom during the pre-launch of our now current collection for the upcoming summer. Why? Well, it just so happened to tie in nicely with her recently published book, This Is Home - The Art of Simple Living: a swoon-worthy coffee table hardback. The subject matter was perfect, as was the timing.
It’s not one of those books that just sits there looking pretty (though it certainly does); it more likely will end up well-thumbed with dog-eared pages, as it would be leafed through so many times. It is an insightful, personal collection of stories from around the world of people living simply. Something we most certainly aspire to.
We asked Natalie a few questions following the release of her first book:
Where do you call home? What made you decide to move away from the city?
Almost three years ago we decided to have a treechange. The move was inspired after staying on an Italian organic farm just outside of Verona. We saw the children running around the property and enjoying the freedom of space. We also realised that we no longer needed to be based in the city. This is the generation of digital nomads, after all.
How did the idea for the book come about?
For many years I’ve worked as an interior stylist for magazines. During the course of this time I’ve visited hundreds of homes, and yet only a small percentage actually felt like a home. Many were highly designed but lacked soul and some were stylish but didn’t feel genuine. The book This is Home was an in-depth exploration of what actually makes a place feel like a home, and some of the results even surprised me!
With a writing background, had you always hoped to write your own book?
Yes, it really has always been one of my dreams. But for many years I thought I would write a book of fiction. However, the real world fascinated me - how we live, the identities we forge and the paths we take in our lives. All of these ideas are writ large in our homes.
We love to travel and explore the world. What’s your favourite destination, and why?
It’s hard to pin it down to one place. I’ve travelled to many amazing countries. Part of my heart will always be in Africa - it has a magical touch. Italy will always be special - for many years I learnt Italian as a language. Similarly, France is where I spent many memorable holidays as a child with my family. And more recently Morocco has left a mark. How could I choose?!
-Photography by Chris Warnes
We understand you travelled for your book, how many countries did you visit?
We photographed homes in seven countries on four continents - travelling from Australia to LA, New York, London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Italy, France and Morocco.
What do you do to relax?
I try to start as many mornings as possible with yoga and meditation. That is my quiet time. It helps give clarity and focus to my days.
For anyone aspiring to live more simply, what are your top tips?
Focus on what you value - don’t worry about how others are living their lives, focus on what’s important to you. Also, prioritise your time according to what you value, and put your most important tasks first. And take time out when you can. It’s so important to gain clarity on the life you want to live.
This is an edited extract from This Is Home by Natalie Walton published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $55 and is available in stores nationally.