In conversation with Mariah Burton from Folk Studio

“‘Good design’ goes far beyond a cushion or a lamp, these objects, products and spaces we find ourselves in everyday manipulates the way we live – good design is vital. I started Folk due to my innate need to create”.

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When we are younger we dream of what we will be when we grow up. In kindy we draw pictures of us cutting hair, launching into space or putting out fires. At what point did you realise you wanted to be an Interior Designer and can you share a little about your journey?

I grew up in the house my grandpa built; It was the home my mum grew up in too, so it had a lot of history, as well as faults due to its age. I was always determined from a young age to make our home ‘modern’. I used to clean the house to get pocket money and with that pocket money I would go down to the shops and buy homewares. Once I purchased ‘silver handles’ for the kitchen as I wanted to remove the old timber ones (I was only 7 years old). I used to wake up in the middle of the night and move my room around – this meant sitting on the ground and pushing my bed with my legs to the other side of the room; I was always attempting to changes spaces.  I always knew I wanted to be an interior designer because I knew how great it felt to wake up in a space that makes you happier and that is simply why I wanted to do it.

You’ve worked with some of Sydney’s leading design firms, and were given the opportunity to go to New York as a design representative at the 'World Business Forum', where you discussed the social and environmental impacts of modern architecture and interior design. What prompted you to start Folk Studio, and how have you found owning your own practice?

I have had some amazing opportunities due to design. ‘Good design’ goes far beyond a cushion or a lamp, these objects, products and spaces we find ourselves in everyday manipulates the way we live – good design is vital. I started Folk due to my innate need to create. Folk gives me a unique platform to create innovative designs that will indeed, manipulate peoples lives for the better.  

I stumbled upon your studio late last year when browsing pinterest. An image of your Dee Why home popped up and I quickly searched to find more. Can you tell me a little about this project?

The Dee Why project is very special. It’s a great example of how much you can do on a small budget if you get creative. This project was all about supporting local makers, using sustainable practices and sourcing items that exude tranquillity. As mentioned on a recent Instagram post, the Dee Why project colour palette was inspired by Australian flora and fauna; we used the colours you often see on the coastline and in the bush.

From a sneak peak on your website I can see you are working on another residential project and a cafe in Manly. Can you share a little about these upcoming projects?

One of recent projects was a café in Manly. This was special project to take on as it was also my local café. I had been going there religiously for years and then I was asked to take on this project about 5 months ago and I was so nervous! I didn’t just have friends who worked in the café, every local in Manly goes there and wanted to have their say in the design too, so it was certainly a unique situation.

As students we learn about the greats in our industry. Was there a designer that had a particular impact on your practice?

I am always inspired by other designers, but I am usually more inspired and attracted to people that are simply doing incredible things which isn’t always a designer. In terms of interior designers I am loving, I love what my friend Yasmin at Amber Road Interiors is doing; she is a genius.

Inspiration is often cultivated from the most mundane of moments. Walking through a garden, reading a book, listening to music – even showering. Where does your inspiration come from?

I am always inspired by the natural environment. We are so lucky to live in a country that offers so much beauty. I grew up on the beach and still live at the beach, so whenever I need inspiration I just sit there and listen/watch/admire.

Our bedside tables are often a candid reflection of our personalities. Mine is full of creams, sprays and of course my trusty earplugs. What’s on your bedside table?

My bedside table has a photo of my beloved dog baby, palo santo sticks (usually burning before I go to bed) and some lavender oil to help me sleep.

What are you reading at the moment?

Don’t judge me, but I am currently reading the Harry Potter series; I have never read them! I have always been a huge fan of the movies and I refused to read the books when I was younger because my sister was so into them, but I figured now was the best time to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon.

Let’s talk self-care and rituals. How do you like to be present and do you have a morning or evening routine?

I always love a fresh face, so I never wear much makeup. Every morning and evening I use the Sans Ceuticals face cleansing oils and a messy low bun is my go to hair style at the moment. I am known to wear a lot of linen consisting of a lot of earthy tones: neutral, khaki green or burnt oranges. In the evening I usually do a 10-minute face mask whilst I prepare dinner. The night always ends with a good Netflix series, a book and a full belly.

Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you.

So many women inspire me – mostly my female friends and family members. Although, I would say my ultimate idol is Maya Angelou. If you aren’t familiar with her work, I urge everyone to look up ‘Phenomenal Woman’.

Learn more about Mariah Burton