The entrepreneur's home boasts natural tones, sleek design, and a breezy main bedroom.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Inside Frank Body Co-Founder Bree Johnson's Tranquil Inner-City Oasis

The entrepreneur's home boasts natural tones, sleek design, and a breezy main bedroom.

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 frank body co-founder Bree Johnson's soothing retreat in Melbourne's cool inner city suburb Richmond.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a beauty lover who isn't familiar with Australian skincare brand frank body. Adored for its irreverent packaging, naturally-derived ingredients, and–of course–those addictive coffee scrubs, it's the brainchild of five friends whose mission was to make clean skincare fun. Launched in 2013, co-founder Bree Johnson has been instrumental in transforming this once small business into the global beauty empire it is today.

Growing up, Bree had never considered starting her own business. She studied journalism at university and kickstarted her career as an editorial assistant for Broadsheet. It was here that she was inspired by founder Nick Shelton's success in creating a company from the ground up and it opened her eyes to what an entrepreneurial career could look like. "I quickly realised I didn’t want to work for an entrepreneur," she shares with Bed Threads Journal. "I wanted to be one."

This idea led Bree to utilise her copywriting background and create branding agency Willow & Blake to help launch and build brands and their on-going campaigns. Two years later, frank body was born and has since garnered over 800k followers on Instagram. The skincare brand began with a much-loved coffee body scrub and quickly expanded to offering an impressive lineup of beauty products ranging from masks and moisturisers to serums and cleansers.

Bree's home embraces a similar "clean" design ethos that frank body does, boasting a sleek aesthetic and natural tones. Her and her husband chose a textural palette of natural materials from warm concrete, steel, light timber, and linen, all of which not only look great but are sturdy, too–perfect for a growing family. "Our house is made to be lived in so we needed pieces that can withstand a toddler climbing over them with peanut butter hands," she says.

The open-plan kitchen and dining area spills out onto a quaint, vine-filled courtyard area via large bifold doors. This section of the home is ideal for entertaining and allowing natural light and air to enter the interior living spaces. "For furniture we chose quality, timeless pieces with a focus on comfort and functionality," she says. The star of the show here is undeniably the deep turquoise Togo couch that sits within the living area and is the perfect example of comfort meets style.

Soothing blue and green hues prevail in each room, creating harmony between spaces and an overall soothing aesthetic. The breezy main bedroom utilises Mineral and Sage linen to create a tranquil atmosphere and is paired perfectly with the coastal photograph that hangs above. We spoke to Bree about her home's beautiful design, how the act of "making" relates to her personality, and the advice she would give someone looking to start their own business.

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

I make brands, clean skincare, and beautiful babies.

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

Honestly, after becoming a mum and taking maternity leave I’ve really struggled with the question of who I am and re-defining what that looks like when I’m not working or making.

So, to answer your question, ‘making’ and creativity is a huge part of who I am. I’m an eternal optimist with a healthy appetite for risk and strong belief that I can make things better–or at least we should all aim to make things better.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to run your own business?

I definitely wasn’t one of those kids with the lemonade stand who dreamed of having their own business. I studied Journalism and got my first job at Broadsheet as Editorial Assistant. I was lucky enough to be their third full-time employee and watching the founder Nick create this incredible business from the ground up gave me a different perspective on what a career could look like. Willow & Blake was my first business using my copywriting background to turn words into a business. Then frank body followed two years later.

What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?

Risk it for the biscuit. It’s my life motto. You have to keep moving forward trying different things. Don’t follow what other people are doing. Keep reinventing your brand and your business.

Remember that you can run your business however you want.

- Bree Johnson

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your journey with frank?

You can do it all. But not at the same time. Like most business owners, I’ve let my ego and stubborn nature get in the way. I used to believe I had to do everything and nothing I did was ever enough. There was always more I could and should be doing. Knowing when to stop and how to delegate effectively is something I’m forever learning.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started frank?

There are lots of incredible moments: seeing frank in Sephora on the Champs-Elysee, opening our US office, and telling our story at schools and seminars to (hopefully) inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

But the best thing has been doing it with my co-founders, aka my husband and two best friends. We’ve been through a lot together and the fact that we still like each other means they are probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.

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?

Everyone is making it up as they go. The people that look like they have it all figured out are just as lost as you. Ask the stupid question, listen to your gut, and remember that you can run your business however you want. You’re the boss.

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

Nearly six years. We lived in it for 18 months before we renovated. We then moved in with the in-laws for 18 months (no, we didn’t kill each other, yes we are very lucky) while the build happened and now we’ve lived here for two and half glorious years.

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

I fell in love with the ivy-covered facade. I used to park outside this house so I recognised it immediately when it popped up on realestate.com. We walked through just before the auction for the first time and knew it was the one.

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

We worked with Alex Lake at Therefore on a big renovation. We kept the original facade and front four rooms, knocked everything else down and re-built a big modern home.

The front rooms are a modern interpretation of the original period home and the new renovation is modern Australian.

- Bree Johnson

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

We have a Steven John Clark ‘Weirdo’ sculpture on the way and I’m on the hunt for a big piece of art to live in our stairwell.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

My study because it’s a space that’s just for me.

For more from Bree, follow her @bree_take_two @frank.bod and at frankbody.com

Photography by Amelia Stanwix, Styling by Beck Simon.

Discover Bree Johnson's home edit.

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