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Eco Styling Tips from Commune, Bondi

A treasure trove of natural, handmade homewares, Commune Bondi started as a passion project by two Bondi locals. Now one of the Eastern Suburb’s go-to stores, founders Loren and Kirstie feature a swoon-worthy collection of unique products created by artisan designers from all over the world. With a peachy, coastal palette, the store is as chic as the homewares it sells – think beautiful ceramic tableware to handprinted textiles and linens, and everything in between. And what’s more, every item is sustainable, and ethically sourced, with its own distinctive story to tell.

We were lucky enough to sit down with the design savvy duo to talk trends, decorating tips, their favourite homeware stores, and how to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. 

"The store is natural, light filled and rustic. Simple but beautiful."

Describe your style in three words

Natural, Worn, Timeless.

What first attracted you to the world of interior design?

Loren: I grew up with a mum who had a good eye and a knack for styling. Mum renovated our home a few times while growing up and I remember going through magazines with pictures of homes in Sante Fe etc. I think that’s where I first started learning about interiors.

Kristie: It turns a house into a home. I had an interest from quite a young age. I used to move things around in our family home and put things in different places, ‘styling’ – I’m sure it drove my mum crazy! I’ve always loved it; it’s a passion. I love playing with different colours, shapes and textures.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Loren: I had just finished renovating our home and found it really hard to source unique handmade hardware/furniture and homewares. So, I approached Kristie with the idea of opening an interiors/fashion store, and we went from there. Our biggest challenge was finding the right space. We didn’t want a shop front that was modern looking, and we needed a lot of light. We finally found our place on Glenayr Avenue. The area was really lacking anything like it and that’s been the general feedback from customers since we opened; finally, a local store that has everything they need – gifts, fashion and furniture, all in their own neighbourhood.

What’s your favourite piece in your home and why?

Loren: My recycled timber island in my kitchen. We sourced the 100-year-old timber from the Bankstown library when it was being renovated.

Kristie: I love our recycled elm timber cabinet; my husband actually chose it himself – I was pretty impressed!

What’s your favourite piece(s) in your store?

That’s hard we have so many beautiful products!
Loren: Our Trapezium Pendant lights from Bisque above our counter. The recycled timber consoles and benches. And all the ceramics we are lucky to showcase from some very talented artisans.

Kristie: All the recycled wood furniture, for sure. We absolutely love finding new artisans to showcase, it’s the highlight of what we do, we get so excited. The time and work that goes into each item makes it so special. I love our rattan chairs and loungers, too.

What’s your most indulgent purchase?

Loren: An original Hugh Holland Print.

Kristie: Our Beni Ourain Rug.

What colours, materials and textures do you love working with the most?

Loren: White and earthy hues. Materials - recycled timber. Textures- anything not smooth. Kristie: Pretty much the same! What Commune is full of :) Small pops of colour but nothing extreme.

Can you give a few tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Start small. We really think if you can just change just one or two aspects of your life to live more sustainable then that’s huge. Whether it’s using a Pottery For the Planet keep cup for your take away coffee/tea, or taking our Kappi wooden keep utensils to eat your take away food – every little bit counts.

Your favourite trend(s)?

In the last few years there has been momentum building for handmade products. With this the Japanese view of Wabi-Sabi – imperfect, impermanent and incomplete – is becoming more and more the model of what customers are looking for. As a society, back in our great grandparents’ and grandparents’ day, they used their hands for everything. From making their own bread to knitting and pottery or growing their own garden. Then there was this huge swing away from that, everything became produced in factories or we got someone else to mend our clothes and tend to our garden. Using our hands to create became obsolete.

Interestingly, today’s generation are finding their hands again, and have a desire to create. And as this happened, consumers became more aware of where their products were coming from, and I think that has added to the momentum of the handmade trend. It’s just so great!

Where do you go for interiors inspiration?

Kristie: Instagram, Pinterest, good ol’ magazines!

Loren: Pinterest and friends’ homes.

What other homeware stores do you shop in?

Loren: Lunatiques and Ice et La for great vintage pieces. And Ironwood for the best recycled timber to make your own furniture. We made our front door from some beautiful weathered old bridge timber from Qld.

Kristie: I find so many cute little stores through Instagram, I love shopping small. I worked in wholesale before Commune and there are so many amazing interior/lifestyle stores around the country. Going into them all, you feel like you’re in their home; you want to support them. It’s so important! I adore Island Luxe in Bangalow. House of Lita in Newcastle is a new cute gem. Locally, I love LuMu Interiors Double Bay & Lived in Coogee.

To you, what makes a home perfect?

Loren: Family.
Kristie: Have to agree. I love a crazy household.

Your top 3 tips for adding style to the home?

Follow your intuition. Make it comfortable and lived in. Take your time, you won’t necessarily find what you’re looking for straight away, so don’t buy because you can’t find anything else, it takes time for a home to become a home.

Where should you spend money and where should you never cut corners?

Never cut corners. If you are in love with an expensive designer piece, either buy it or you can find some amazing vintage pieces for a bargain that will look just as good.