Katarina Kroslakova claims her design mantra is “more is more and then when it’s too much, add some more”. It’s an ethos the publisher and editor-in-chief of T Australia (the local edition of The New York Times style magazine) embraces in her Sydney home, as well as in her magnificent wardrobe and in the rituals she enjoys throughout her day – many of which involve her favourite scents.
There is, for example, her penchant for travelling with a small scented candle. “It’s the first thing that gets whipped out and lit as I unpack. I find the flame very calming, warming and comforting, and the scent always reminds me of home.”
Here, she shares more about her rituals, her travels and her style at home.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your home and your interiors aesthetic?
I am lucky enough to have two homes, in two different states. They’re both very different, but with enough elements to maintain a sense of continuity and familiarity, especially for our two young boys, Pasquale and Valentino. One home is in Canberra, in the inner city hipster suburb of Braddon, and it’s architect-designed by my husband, who strongly believes less is more. It’s a heritage-listed 1930s home which was essentially gutted from the inside and now is an extremely elegant mix of textures, open spaces, finishes – think brass, thick marble, French oak timber.
Then, as Exhibit B, we have our Sydney home in Randwick, which is a clear example of my design mantra: more is more and then when it’s too much, add some more. I’m all about layering, organised chaos, colour, over-the-top everything. My husband sees a speck of dust as being obtrusive, whereas I’d just cover it with a piece of Lego and call it décor.
What are some of the most treasured objects in your home?
I have a pretty magnificent wardrobe, and I don’t mean that in a fickle, superficial way – my items of clothing are mementos from trips, or experiences, or achievements. I have a shirt once worn by Prince, a vintage Valentino dress once worn by Elizabeth Taylor. Family photos and the 720 million kids’ drawings are up there too, of course – I’m a sucker for nostalgia. And my Yamaha piano. First and only instrument I ever had and it’s like my fifth limb.
You’ve travelled extensively over the years. How do you like to bring mementos or souvenirs of your travels into your home?
I’m an extremely practical, pragmatic and impatient person. I like mementos to be used frequently – I’m not one of those people who can just put nice things on the shelf and look at them. So whatever I choose to bring home, I want to love and use everyday – whether it’s a photo frame, a tote bag, a vase, a necklace, a bowl, a book, a coffee cup. I love the tactility of mementos, to me it makes the memories much more potent.
How do you like to use scent in your home?
I’m addicted to scent. I adore fragrance, candles, perfume, smells. While I do collect shoes and handbags, I also collect perfumes, and the whole olfactory world is a passion and hobby of mine. Scent is part of every hour of my day.
In the morning, I open all the windows, doors, louvres, everything. Fresh air streams in, in all seasons, I don’t care if it’s minus 20 outside. Then, after that incredible burst of fresh oxygen, I lightly spray some room scent in every single room, and our whole home feels new. A quick spritz again through the day is the best pick me up. Towards dusk, candles are essential, whether we take them outside for entertaining with friends, or keep them on the mantelpiece to bring intimacy and warmth into the house. I choose a few signature scents and mix them up, depending on the power of their essential oils.
How does scent complement your interior style?
For us, as a family, scent is far more than just something that’s used at a cosmetic, surface level. Candles and familiar scents are actually a key to keeping our nomadic lives a bit more grounded. Keeping whichever home we’re in smelling the same has been an essential way of letting the boys know they’re still in their family home, wherever they may be.
Which products from the Lumira range are you most enjoying at the moment?
Scented journals add such elegance to my day. Balinese Ylang Ylang Hand Wash has been my go-to during lockdown, as I dream of soon returning to this magical island paradise. Tuscan Fig Perfume Oil is always in my handbag. In warmer months, the Paradiso del Sole Room Spray is an incredibly refreshing way to spruce up the whole house.
What are you most looking forward to for the coming year?
Laughter and smiling. I am incredibly positive and optimistic about the year ahead. We have such tremendous plans for the T brand in Australia, and our custom publishing division is growing like crazy. I look forward to catching up and giggling hysterically with my girlfriends and enjoying long lunches with my family where they are forced to laugh uncomfortably at my inappropriate jokes. But of course the only thing I really need is the good health and happiness of my close ones – as long as I have that, it’s bound to be a good year.
Written by Michelle Bateman