People ask me often …Why the hell are you an interior designer?

It’s a really good question.
I have this unnatural- some would say connection / fascination with space and the immediate environment. It speaks to me, or in my case, yells at me. I thought for a very long time I was a weirdo.

Design for me, is a constructed language, luckily for me one that developed naturally. And I’ve found, there are few people who speak it well.

My name is Jane Thomson, I’m a Sydney based interior designer (you have guessed that!). And I simply adore what I do.

Space has always confronted, challenged and delighted me. The impact a space, its experience, and how it impinges on people is truly earth shattering. It is that wow or whoa!!!!.. moment, when you walk into an environment.

I don’t know why I have this “innate” attraction, but the connection with space and its environs had for me, a very early childhood connection. The joyfulness and warmth of the right space can still overwhelm me – as a child it could bring me to tears.

My father, whom I adore, is an Architect, my mother was also an interior designer. So this apple hasn’t fallen far from this tree.

My siblings and I, whom were very lucky kids, grew up in some simply awesomely designed spaces, designed and curated by dad and mum.

My fabulous Dad, Architect Len Downie image circa 1963

Dad designed our first home. A beautiful “mid-century” 1960’s bungalow [channelling Pettit & Sevitt] on the north shore of Sydney. It was a beautiful single-story testament to thoughtful living. Far cry from the 1950’s inspired tile and brick boxes springing up elsewhere in Sydney suburbs.

Our place was in essence a “white out” White washed boncrete brick walls inside and out, with the exception of creosote stained window, beams and door sections, white wool shag pile carpet( very yeah baby!) with quarry tiles and timber stairs down to the living spaces. The only splash of colour that deigned to enter our home was this fabulous 1950’s 6 seater couch, which is still going strong. (take that Ikea!)

Mum cleverly covered it in this stunning peacock green “tweed” in linen and wool.. This bad boy just popped in the space. A huge white coffee table was the room’s centrepiece. And Mum, the design doyenne, a frustrated artist, bringing judiciously adorned it with beautifully carved timber trays and bits and bobs. Sounds pretty on trend now doesn’t it?

An enormous floor to ceiling fireplace [yes …you guessed it a white washed brick number] ni width approximately 3000 metres wide, with a built in cantilevered timber “seat” dividing our living and dining room with generous Walkways either side. French doors to both rooms opening out on to a stunning north facing courtyard, complemented Dad’s design.

Dad’s cutting edge design gifted our house with “great bones” & “less was more” .  Mum was a natural when it came to interiors.  Bedrooms were understated.

Bathrooms were a mix of glass mosaic tiles in Peacock green white and metallic bronze. Totally timeless and which still stand the test of time today. Dad designed simple, bespoke complimentary vanities.

My incredibly talented and beautiful mum interior designer Liz Downie

From the front to the back door our house was a considered by the neighbourhood a stunning collaboration curated by mum and dad. It was a stark contrast to our neighbourhood.

It was in my opinion worthy of design awards for a suburban home, compared to some of my friend’s domiciles. Which were an assault on my young sensibilities. Ugly bugly café curtains hung haphazardly above kitchen sinks. Chaotic bric a brac strewn willy nilly throughout these poor kids’ homes. Chenille bedspreads, I knew at a young age were just wrong!

So you can understand my thought that I may have been a weirdo!

So the kicker is…travelling with my parents in the back of Dad’s baby poo coloured Peugeot (no Holdens or Ford in our family),  I found as a kid, the trip to Bankstown to visit my grandparents as depressing It was such a stark contrast to the trees and bush of our leafy green and “waspish” suburb.