The Aje Report explores curated spaces in a time where we all sought the solace of staying in. New Zealand native and mother of two, Kate Fowler invites Aje to her dreamy, light-filled Sydney home in our first Insiders at Home series.
Tell us about your background
I was born in England, we were based there because my Dad toured Europe as a pro- golfer, then moved to New Zealand, our motherland, to be closer to family at around 8 years old. So grateful to get to have that sort of “barefoot” childhood, it wouldn’t have been the same in England. I studied International Business and Marketing at university and went on to work in advertising as an account manager. I’d spent a little time working in Sydney, then after an extended stint travelling I ended up in Sydney more permanently. Such a special place to live and raise children - glad I’m not too far my beloved New Zealand too.
Describe a typical day
Morning cuddles and shenanigans. Saachi is up first and (with a bit of her auntie’s influence) now asks to do a workout most mornings!! We create a bit of breakfast mess, a brief dance/sing and head outside to start the day with a walk or scoot. On the whole my two children play really well together so once home I’d often just pull a mat and some activities outside and see what happens - they got really ensconced in making “worlds” out of sticks/leaves/rocks to populate with their favourite toys. Alexa’s school had shared a phenomenal range of activities too so that kept us busy and laughing when we needed inspiration.
What changed for you routine-wise, and how have you kept spirits up during the past few months?
With no preschool our routine changed a bit, but parent’s of young children are a bit more used to being in the home a fair bit. Keeping our spirits up wasn’t all that hard with two little people around! They bring so much presence and energy to whatever they do - and that’s pretty infectious. Getting outside early on was a big one for us. Incorporating movement throughout the day really helped us to blow out the cobwebs and refocus. Lots of FaceTimes with family and friends too.
Your home is softly open lit with eclectic yet considered touches throughout, and really heroes indoor-outdoor living. How would you best describe your interior aesthetic?
The house is quite beachy in character - my aesthetic is probably a little more off kilter than usual expressions of that but that has made the process even more fun. I am a bit of a collector I guess - I am drawn to things that feel like they have a story, made by hand and often pre-loved. I’ve really tried to only bring things I truly love into the house - so it has come together slowly but that way it feels joyful and has real warmth to it.
Did you feel there was a certain joy to slowing down?
We really relished the slower starts to our days and the extra time together - plus the seamlessness of not using a car for days on end! With two little ones it’s not exactly slower paced per se but there is certainly a whole lot of joy (full disclaimer: plus the occasional tantrum!)
Will you now integrate any of these new learnings or habits into the future?
I think to tone down scheduling in general - you start to realise how much magic happens just beyond boredom - that we need a bit of space to create and grow. So I will be staying mindful of what we commit to so we can still make that space to enjoy being at home together - not to just be out for the sake of it.
Embracing your children’s illustrations and open plan play areas feature throughout your home. Do you have a favourite hobby you share together every day/week?
We have a “making box” with lots of old containers and bits and bobs that we bring out and they tape or tie together to make things. A saviour on a rainy day. It’s amazing to see what they come up with - inventions have included invisible mermaid goggles, a unicorn baby factory and a torch hat to light the dark for a beloved soft toy. We really love our nature walks at [Sydney’s] Cooper Park and Parsley Bay too.
Kate wears the Rebellion Tweed Blazer and Trouser (arriving July)
How or when have you curated all your interior pieces or art?
Little by little! When I go looking for something specific I find it rarely presents itself immediately (a bit fussy perhaps?!) so I think patience is key. I’ve picked a lot up from second hand markets like Lunatiques and Mitchell Road and I loved the ones in Bowral as well as a bunch of beautiful pieces from Fourth Street Home. The Vault and Tamsin Johnson also provide endless inspiration. And there are a bunch of instagram accounts selling secondhand furniture that I follow including Curated Spaces and Jolie Laide which makes the job a little easier - I love the hunt but the ground you need to cover between auctions and stores is a bit tricky sometimes with toddlers in tow.
Describe self-care and your version of winding down
A good night’s sleep! I’ve recently started running and to my surprise am absolutely loving it - it’s not exactly a wind-down but it is a real form of release and meditation.
What are you reading or listening to right now?
Like a lot of people right now I’ve been reflecting on my privilege and taking time to educate myself on the long history and painful realities of racism abroad and here at home so I can be a better ally. There are so many great resources being shared, at the moment I am reading ‘Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe and ‘Why I’m not Talking to White People about Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Listening to Kadhja Bonet quite a bit and the late great Bill Withers - the girls are super into Queen and Nina Simone at the moment which is a nice change from the Frozen soundtrack!
What’s next for you, personally or professionally?
It’s been a while since I’ve been in the work force so I am up-skilling a little and looking at how I could grow my love of collecting and curating into a venture that is useful and fulfilling.
Kate wears the Rebellion Button Shirt and Panelled Trouser (arriving July)
What details are you drawn to when dressing up?
A beautiful shoe is always a very good start! It depends on the occasion but hero piece of jewellery or an interesting shape or texture is something I always gravitate to.