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Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Natalie Walton

A Moment With | Natalie Walton

Natalie Walton loves classic and thoughtful design - the kind that stands the test of time. Her beautifully edited store Imprint House, is a collection of ethically sourced homeware products - a collection which pays homage to her design ethos. Natalie has recently moved to the enchanting Yarramalong Valley in NSW, with her husband and four young children - a special place where they can run free, explore and believe in magic.

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Hi Natalie, tell us about your journey to where you are now? I’ve always been a writer, never far from writing about the creative world. I started out working as a news reporter, however, in the evenings I was completing my Masters of Journalism and producing documentaries. When I changed jobs to work on a medical newspaper I was given a section to edit about doctor's interesting lives out of surgery hours - from writing books to studying music. It was when I worked at Real Living magazine that my interest in writing and creativity finally came together. During that time I started to style decorating features and continue to style people’s homes. Most recently, I’ve launched a shop called Imprint House.

 Natalie Walton's beautiful home in the country. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

Natalie Walton's beautiful home in the country. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

When was your love for design first realised? My surrounds have always been important to me. I think part of it comes from my mum, who has always created beautiful and inviting homes. 

“I’ve always been a keen observer - soaking up whatever I see.”

Even before I started working at Real Living magazine, interiors were an important part of my life. In fact, I almost dropped out of university to study interior design when I was 17. It’s interesting I’ve found my way back all these years later. 

 A corner of Natalie's home in the Yarrayong Valley. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

A corner of Natalie's home in the Yarrayong Valley. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

How did the idea for Imprint House first come about? About 18 months ago my family and I decided to make a big move - from the inner-city to the country. At the time I was pregnant with our fourth child, and we were keen to live a simpler life. As I was packing up our home, I realised the items I had held onto longest were simple, timeless pieces. They had been put to good use in a range of our homes - from a beachside apartment in Bondi, to a Victorian terrace in Darlington and now a cedar cabin in the Yarramalong Valley. Many of these items I'd also take along to photo shoots, they were often missing in the homes I visited - simple yet classic pieces.

“A beautiful linen tea towel, a handblown glass vase, a soft sheepskin rug - these are the layers that make a home.”
 
 For Natalie, moving from the inner-city to the country has led to a simpler life for herself and her young family. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

For Natalie, moving from the inner-city to the country has led to a simpler life for herself and her young family. Styling - Natalie Walton. Photo - Chris Warnes.

“My greatest indulgence is living here, in a cedar cabin in the Yarramalong Valley on 26 acres, so our children can run free and believe in magic.”
 
 The beautiful curated  Imprint House . Photo - Natalie Walton.

The beautiful curated Imprint House. Photo - Natalie Walton.

What do you love most about your profession? The variety. Ultimately though, I love home-making in every way - designing, styling, creating my own home, and even maintaining it.

“I love the look and feel of a clean and tidy space. It feels ripe with possibilities.” 
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What does design mean to you? Design is a way to enhance our lives in all respects; beauty with purpose.

What's the best lesson learnt since starting the business? I’ve learnt a lot about myself - that integrity is important to me. There really are no limits any more to starting your own business, other than perhaps having some courage. You can sell anything, and create any sort of business. It’s never been easier than to buy products from around the world.

“I was only interested in starting a shop if it made a difference in some way - if it was able to enhance people’s lives.” 

We try to source fair trade products when we can and products that will last for years. It’s important to me that we're not adding to what can sometimes be a throwaway culture.    

How would you describe the Imprint House aesthetic? Beautiful and timeless.

“I love creating environments that can engage the eye while creating a sense of serenity. I am drawn to pieces that can help create this feeling.”

Where can we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Every Saturday morning starts with a family cleaning session at home. We tidy all the rooms and vacuum. Everyone gets involved, and it’s been one of the best things we’ve done for our family. So many good lessons being learnt.

What are you loving right now? Georgia O’Keeffe - I recently saw the Making Modernism exhibition at the AGNSW and bought a book on the homes she created in New Mexico.

“I’ve always admired women who live life on their own terms.”

At Home - A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson - I listen to a lot of audiobooks when I travel to and from Sydney for photo shoots. This one was fascinating.

Morocco - I recently travelled there for a book I’m working on, which will be out early next year. The last time I visited was about 15 years ago - when I arrived back home, I told my husband I wanted to move there!

Meditation - I've had some major deadlines recently for the book and every morning I sit down and meditate for 20 minutes to not only clear my mind but help me focus throughout the day. It really makes a difference.

Quitting sugar - As someone who has always been a bit of a sugar addict, this has transformed my life. I tried to do this about six years ago shortly after my daughter was born, but at the time, it was too hard. However, this time around I am two months in and have so much more clarity in my mind, and much more energy too!

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What’s in store for you this year? The problem with working in magazines, and now books, is that my head is already in 2018. The start of the year has been huge and I’m looking forward to consolidating a little - which in my world means we are going to renovate a stone lodge on our property so we can offer it as guest accommodation. We’re also hoping to design some of our own products for Imprint House too. Stay tuned!

Thank you Natalie! | Imprint House @imprinthouse

+ Imprint House is offering My Design Alley readers a 15% discount on all online orders. Just enter ALLEY15 at checkout - offer expires Wednesday 6th of September, 2017.

+ All additional imagery styled and photographed by Natalie Walton.


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