This episode of Father Rabbit at Home takes us across the ditch to the beautiful home of Kelly and Josh Muller in Lennox Head. We're lucky to have a peek inside their gorgeous, newly built home while chatting about their career in marketing, balancing home and work life with young kids, and what makes a house a home.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your home, and who you live with?
My name's Kelly and together with my husband Josh and our two daughters Sunny (almost 7) and Ari (3), we live on Bundjalung Land in Lennox Head, NSW. Josh and I are both originally from Aotearoa and while our connection to our country runs deep, Lennox is home for us now. It's such a beautiful little beachside community and we are so happy to be here. We spent six years in Sydney prior and have now been in Lennox for five where we are hugely proud to have just finished our first home build (I say 'finished' loosely as we're just tackling the landscaping and pool and waiting on a few pieces of furniture to arrive. Building a home, we've learned, means it's never quite done!)
Do you have a personal home or style philosophy?
Our lives are beautifully chaotic - two young kids, our own business and lots of extra-curricular activities - so when it comes to our home, Josh and I are very similar in that we like things simple and uncluttered.
Our home was concepted with a white base that we could then bring warmth to through solid oak, soft furnishings and artwork.
What are some of your favourite items in your home, sentimental or otherwise?
When building our home, we planned out what furniture we'd be taking as well as where it would go as we had to sign off on the smallest of details including things like where power points would go. Because of this, it meant we could be really specific with what we were taking and what we needed (or wanted) to buy. Because of this, I feel like I'm attached to everything but a few standout pieces include:
Our Pony Braid Jute Rug by Nodi - we have concrete floors in our living room and our rug helped to create a space where the family comes together. We always thought we'd spend more time in the TV room and our 'main living room' would be used more by the adults but the kids love to chat to us while we're cooking or show us their latest dance moves and the 100% natural, super soft fibres are a great base for them to roll around on. It really softens the room and has created a space we all like to hang out in.
Our Samsung Family Hub smart fridge is less sentimental but something I absolutely love! Not only is it nice and big to fit everything we need, it displays our family calendars, has a whiteboard where we write our shopping lists and weekly meal plans, syncs to our Spotify and so much more. Being organised helps me to find calm in the chaos and having our week laid out in front of me, in a place I see every morning, is both comforting and efficient! I do also love that I can have adored photos on display - we have always been a 'stick your photos to the fridge' kind of family but this feels much more chic!
On a smaller and more sentimental scale, I love our Marae book by Muru & Robin Walters (from Father Rabbit) - it's such a treasured piece. A reminder of home, a connection to the whenua and it includes Josh's marae, Whakamaharatanga.
Our growing art collection is also one of my favourite things. We have printed photos by friends Rambo Estrada, Tane Coffin and Richard Hodder, the most divine original piece by my dear friend Meg Gallagher and an adored piece by Lauren Freestone. I'm still waiting to purchase a piece from Nikau Hindin and I'd love Sophia Minson's, Hine Nui Te Po. We love to support both friends and New Zealand artists.
Do you have a favourite space or room in your home?
We really considered our Northern aspect when we were finalising our floor plan and we wanted to maximise the natural light. We added almost a full wall of sliding doors and knew this would make the space bright but I didn't realise just how much. I love standing in the kitchen drinking my morning coffee and just soaking up the sun that streams in the entire length of the kitchen / dining / living space. It makes me so happy!
In your eyes, what makes a house a home?
The people in it! Josh and I have lived in 12 houses together throughout the past 13 years and what mattered most was that we were in them together. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved with our build, and I love our home (and the fact we don't have to move again anytime soon), but what truly makes it a home is that my whānau are in it with me too.
Can you tell us a bit about your career in marketing? Where did it begin, and where are you now?
Short story, I studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and English at Vic Uni in Wellington. I always wanted to be a writer - I think perhaps I still do - and thought I would work as a journalist to fulfil that ambition. I ended up in Sydney after uni and kind of fell into PR. From there, I worked in PR, Marketing, Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy roles across fashion and beauty brands before going on maternity leave to have my first daughter. I then helped to launch P.E Nation when Sunny was just four months old and that 'small' consulting role turned into two years of managing PR and marketing for the brand which in turn, launched my consultancy. I now own and run KMC, a modern marketing agency, in which Josh works across digital advertising. We work with a handful of incredible brands (including Father Rabbit!) predominantly in the fashion and lifestyle spaces.
I also co-founded Bonny Co, a bit of a passion project right now and something that requires more attention than I can currently offer to it.
I recently did a podcast with Super Creative which tells the long story.
Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you avoid creative burnout?
I am mostly inspired by the people around me. Great conversations, shared knowledge and experiences. Working for myself, from home, can be lonely at times but to combat that, I try to ensure I'm chatting with friends and peers within the industry often.
To avoid creative burnout, I try to get outside and I am lucky to live in a place that encourages a connection with nature. Lennox has the most beautiful coastal walk and beach right on our doorstep so whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed, I throw on my runners, put on some loud music and run the walkway. I read a quote recently that really resonated with me - "Rest is important. You can't be productive 24/7." I know that might seem obvious, but when you run your own business, it's very hard to be 'unavailable'.
What are some ways you keep the balance between your home and work life?
I don't think I do!!! It is all intertwined and I've found the best way to manage this is to accept it and humanise it.
When I am with my daughters, I try to switch off completely, but there are times this isn't possible. If I have to do something on my phone, I will show and explain what I am doing as our girls think anyone on their phones are just watching Netflix or YouTube (!!!) Now they understand that I can check emails, pay bills, book them in for sports or activities, buy their lunch for school the next day...the list goes on!
With work, I usually finish at 3pm when we pick the girls up and spend time as a family and then I will work again in the evenings. I love my clients and my work and I love my family, so I learned to be really clear with expectations. I try my best never to miss a deadline, all the while ensuring my clients understand I don't always work 9-5. Most of our clients are parents and business owners so they get it because they're doing the juggle too!
It also helps that Josh and I very much share the load at home and have a calendar in place so we know who's cooking dinner, who's doing pick ups, who's doing after school activities, etc. I don't think it's 'balance' as such, it's just about finding a rhythm that supports our family and business.
Quick fire favourites:
Book: Most recently, Auē by Becky Manawatu. An absolute must read!
Food: Japanese or Mexican. No specific meal but both cuisines in general.
Beauty products: Opti Eye Crystal by Cosmedix, Real World Hand Cream and Kawakawa Balm by Aotea.
City: Too many to choose from! I love Melbourne for its food, Sydney for my friends and familiarity, Mount Maunganui for the connection to my heart, Lennox (while not really a city) because it's home, New York because it's NEW YORK and again, not a city but Kauai in Hawaii - my spirit home.
Podcasts: Right now, How I Built This by Guy Raz and Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.
Photography by Natalie McComas.
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