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Creative Ali Whittle sits on her bed in her Sydney home

This historic home has been reinvented with pops of pastels and brightly-hued trinkets.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

The Colourful Three-Storey Sydney Terrace of Creative Ali Whittle

This historic home has been reinvented with pops of pastels and brightly-hued trinkets.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour digital creator Ali Whittle's colourful terrace home in Sydney's east.

As is the story with most artistic types, Ali Whittle knew from an early age that she would enter into a creative field professionally. As someone who loves writing, pop culture, and the idea of a fast-paced working environment, she was quick to decide at 14 that she wanted to work in magazines. Fast forward to now and Ali has lived this dream and is currently working as a digital content creator and influencer.

While studying, Ali worked in PR and undertook fashion magazine internships in Sydney before being offered a full-time position. She worked in magazines for six years with her final stint being the deputy editor role at WHO Magazine. Now, the creative is her own boss.

It's unsurprising that the home of a creative and her architect partner have purchased a beautiful house. The pair have plans to renovate this three-storey terrace in the future, but even as of now it's filled with stylish furniture and art that bring the historic property to life.

Ali Whittle sitting on her velvet couch

Ali is drawn to colour and this is widely reflected in her decor choices. The interior's overall look is fun and kaleidoscopic, yet perfectly sophisticated. "I love colour, beautiful trinkets, making my space special and unique," she says. A terracotta-toned rug anchors the living area which features chic Sarah Ellison seating, vibrant Dowel Jones side tables, and a playful artwork by Manyjilyjarra artist Doreen Chapman. The main bedroom upstairs is sunny and bright thanks to the high ceilings, Limoncello linen, and a charming balcony that floods the space with natural light.

Perhaps the most striking area of the home however is the kitchen where the joinery has been swathed in a deep seafoam green and as is complemented by timber countertops. "We spend a lot more time cooking in this kitchen than in our previous places as it’s a really comfortable, nice space to prepare food in. It gets amazing morning light too," she shares.

We spoke to Ali about what creatively inspires her, the process behind how she's styled her home, and her favourite pieces within.

Hi Ali! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?

I make content – specifically images and images for brands and just for fun. I’m currently working on a new venture though. It’s early days, but something I’ve been exploring over summer and I’m really excited to launch in the next few months.

How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?

I’m a really visual person. I love colour, beautiful trinkets, making my space special and unique. Making helps me tie all that together, the self expression of it all helps me feel free. I really love working for myself. I’ve always been independent and driven so the sense of autonomy I have with my day, the flexibility, the privilege I get being able to work from home, is really in line with who I am. So making helps me be me! It always has.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

While I was studying I worked a bit in PR, had some internships in fashion and also in magazines in Sydney. I’m originally from Geelong and had been living in Melbourne while studying, but after interning in Sydney at some magazines I was offered a full-time position so I moved to Sydney. That was nearly 8 years ago now. I then worked in magazines for 6 years and my last position before leaving to work for myself was as the Deputy Editor of WHO Magazine.

From about 14 years old I knew I wanted to work in magazines, I loved writing, pop culture, creative fast-paced environments so it was very exciting and surreal when that worked out. But over time my dreams and goals changed. I now absolutely love working for myself and all that comes with it.

Communication is key. Trust your gut and do your best to always listen to it.

- Ali Whittle

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?

Communication is key. Trust your gut and do your best to always listen to it. It’s rarely, if ever wrong! If you ever get an inkling about something or that little voice in your head says something, pay attention to it. Don’t ignore it. The times I’ve ignored my gut or not communicated clearly is when things can backfire or blow up.

Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

Be present, efficient, take initiative, be thoughtful, and kindness is always appreciated and remembered. Work hard to think outside the box and try your best not to procrastinate – getting started is the hardest part so just start!

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

We moved in at the end of July in 2021, mid Sydney lockdown.

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

We’d been looking to buy for nearly a year. My husband Angus is an architect so he had very specific requirements and I quickly worked out what worked for me. We’d just lost an auction one Saturday morning and I noticed we could squeeze in one last inspection that day so on a whim we visited this place. As soon as I walked in I had a very good feeling. It felt familiar and so special.

The location is perfect. It feels like we live in a rainforest in the middle of nowhere, but we’re so close to everything. By that Tuesday our offer was accepted and it was ours. We couldn’t believe it. We still feel so lucky and we love everything about it. It keeps getting better and better.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

So far we’ve just done a bunch of painting. Our bedroom had a bright green feature wall and our dining room had a grey feature wall and the rest of house was painted a pale blue/grey. So we’re just slowly making our way through each room making all the walls white.

We have plans to do proper renovations. Some we’ll do this year (the bathrooms) and other things we’ll do over time (certain things to the kitchen, carpet etc). We’re in no rush because it’s nice to just live in the space and really work out what’s needed but it’s very fun to plan and create a vision. The previous owners lived here for 30 years. They made wonderful choices throughout that time and really looked after the place.

What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?

We waited until we moved in to make all our big interior choices and furniture decisions. How it generally works is I source all our home things, show Angus my selections and he generally likes my choices! Angus has the plans modelled for our house so any furniture pieces I love he makes sure they fit. I’m very spur of the moment and would never measure things so this is very practical and helpful.

In terms of styling, I don’t have a process or specific style I’m drawn too but I just pick things I like, that stand out to me, that are beautiful, well made, comfortable and practical but unique and fun. I’m very drawn to colour.

A bed with limoncello linen sheets and balcony doors

Build Your Own Bundle with Limoncello.

A cosy bedroom with yellow linen sheets, bedside table and built in shelf in the wall with objects
Close up of yellow linen sheets, art books and objects

Having bedding that looks beautiful and is well made is something I take real pride in.

- Ali Whittle

What are your favourite pieces in the home?

I love our dining table, it’s a vintage piece I saw on Instagram via @lwvhome the weekend we moved in. It was such an easy decision, it fits perfectly.I love a piece of art we have above our couch, by Doreen Chapman. I absolutely love her work. My best friend who lives in London gave me a special piece of pottery she made and I treasure that. I also love our quirky side tables from Dowel Jones.

Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?

Plenty! I’m currently waiting on a beautiful Italian 1970s armchair by Giancarlo Piretti, it’s currently being reupholstered in white boucle from CCSS.

We’re going to build banquette seating in our dining area as well as a new pendant light for that area. Some more art, new beds, wall sconces; the list goes on. I think I’ll forever be looking, adding and tweaking because it’s what I love to do.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

I’m not good at picking favourites! I love our living and dining space. We spend lots of time in here entertaining with friends, or just having dinner together, watching TV, reading, playing with our cats, enjoying the fire in winter – whatever it may be. It’s the space that is the most ‘done’ in the house and beautiful light streams through it in the afternoon too.

I also love our kitchen and my little office space. We spend a lot more time cooking in this kitchen than in our previous places as it’s a really comfortable, nice space to prepare food in. It gets amazing morning light too.

For more from Ali follow her @aliwhittle_

Photography by Benito Martin, Styling by Sami Simper.

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