Keepin’ it Real

Last Friday I once again had the pleasure of teaching a Styling 101 workshop at the Melbourne campus of The International School of Colour and Design (ISCD) – this time it was in conjunction with one of Australia’s most popular interior design rags, Real Living Magazine and was therefore called “The School of Real Living’ – something they run both at the Sydney campus and here in Melbourne.

My 52 students (and I) were lucky enough to have Deborah Bibby – Real Living’s creator and editor – there to introduce me and to hang out throughout the workshop. I was just as thrilled to meet Deb as the students were. I discovered Real Living magazine 4 years ago when I moved to Melbourne and it has always resonated with me. In fact, when I was still finding my feet just months after arriving in Australia, I found Deb’s email address in the magazine and sent her a gutsy email titled ‘NY –Milan Designer now in Melbourne!’. She kindly replied within minutes – expressing great interest in shooting my apartment for the magazine (it has yet to happen but what’s the rush?).

‘Real Living’ – as it is aptly named, is an interiors and decorating magazine that features real – fuss free – creative stylish homes and practacle design advise. It does not feature the mega properties of some of its competitors where everything is shiny, polished and out of reach to most – but the real homes of real people of style. Or as Deb herself puts it “Real Living offers a less intimidating approach to decorating. We help the reader on their decorating journey, giving them confidence. We deconstruct great rooms explaining why they work, making decorating affordable, accessible and fun.”

Real Living is Deb’s love child – she started the magazine 11 years ago and it now has a readership of over 155,000. The magazine is a lot like her personality – friendly, stylish and approachable – which is why I like it so much. Real Living speaks to me because their philosophy is my philosophy – Interior design and decoration need not be fussy or uptight, it doesn’t need to be expensive to be beautiful. It can be relaxed – eclectic – DIY – and Real. It’s all about keepin’ it real.