Lia Townsend home tour interview

The grazing table stylist and Stories to Gather founder has decorated her white-on-white home with a beautifully restrained colour palette.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Inside Lia Townsend's Monochrome Apartment in Sydney's Inner West

The grazing table stylist and Stories to Gather founder has decorated her white-on-white home with a beautifully restrained colour palette.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour grazing table enthusiast and founder of Stories to Gather, Lia Townsend's monochrome abode in Sydney's Inner West.

Lia Townsend is a familiar name at Bed Threads. The founder of Stories to Gather, an artisan grazing tables and styling service business, has had her tasty recipes featured in our Put on a Spread series and cookbook which takes you inside the kitchens and dining rooms of some of our favourite home cooks. Her plum crostata with orange and thyme, classic pancakes, delicious chocolate cake, and ultimate cheeseboard have been adored by our readers and recreated in many home kitchens.

Lia grew up in an Australian-Italian household where food brought family and friends together. Long lunches that extended into the evening were a regular event that involved delicious food and stories being shared. This love affair with food and its ability to bring people together inspired her to create her own business where she channels the same warmth and energy into curating grazing tables for events and thoughtful hampers. "Creating a sense of occasion and bringing people together to share food is important to me," she shares with Bed Threads Journal.

There's a true art to creating an impressive tablescape and Lia's divine grazing spreads set the bar high. She uses seasonal produce from epicurean artisans, beautiful floral arrangements, and chic table decor to create with their whimsical and sophisticated settings that are tailored to each occasion. "Each hamper and grazing table has a specific tone and I really love bringing that to life for people to share together," she says.

lia townsend home

One of Lia's incredible cheeseboards on show in her dining space.

Her eye for detail extends to her home's chic interior which utilises a layered, neutral colour palette. "I keep the main pieces in the home neutral so I can style them with different accessories as my style shifts," she says.

The current look is minimal and deftly blends contemporary and classic décor. In the open-plan living and dining room, upholstered seating in the form of a white linen sofa and dining banquette bench keeps things classic and comfortable while contemporary artworks, including a piece by Caroline Walls, add a modern edge. Timber flooring carries throughout the apartment perfectly offsetting the white walls and bringing a sense of warmth to the home.

There's a wonderful feeling of calm in the all-white primary bedroom which features classic wall panelling and pared-back décor. Here, crisp White linen and a beautifully curved bedhead make for a dreamy spot to begin and end the day, while a marble bedside table adds a luxe touch.

We spoke to Lia about her creative process, the single most crucial tool or strategy she's used to further her business, and her interior design choices within her apartment.

Shop Lia Townsend's home edit.

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

It is tricky knowing whether your passion will translate into a successful business. Taking something you love and putting pressure on yourself to make a livelihood from it is not a decision you make lightly. After having my son, my perspective on work changed. If I was going to be leaving him to work it had to be for something that was meaningful and fulfilling to me.

My husband asked me, "If you could do anything, what would it be?" and I responded with "grazing tables". It was that moment of encouragement that gave me the confidence to take the leap of faith and start. I love how food brings family and friends together. It helps us connect with loved ones to create special shared moments.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

It can be so varied depending on what I am working on but there is often something that sparks inspiration. It could be a flavour, an ingredient, a theme, or even a colour. From here I then build and layer different elements.

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

Believing and valuing my skill set has allowed me to build a well-respected and identifiable brand. This has led to collaborations with companies I would still be dreaming about if I hadn't taken the leap of faith to start Stories to Gather.

What's been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your business?

You can't be everything to everyone, despite wearing many hats! Ask for help (and let go a little), and sometimes you need to learn to decline.

What's been the best thing that's happened to you since you started your business?

My own personal growth in my vision and value, and the confidence I have found in myself as I have found my feet. It makes me a better person and mother as I feel fulfilled by having this added dimension 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?

Don’t let you get in your own way. I was the one holding myself back for the fear of failure. Give it a go. You grow and learn and it’s all of the learnings that shape you and your lens on the world. I’m amazed at how all of the different things I have done come together to shape me and my work even when they aren’t directly related.

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

My husband and I purchased "Roodies" (that's what we named our apartment) 8 years ago.

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

We came to view it and wrote it off, then my mother suggested we come back and view it again. We loved the location and imagined it without the mission brown and with our own touches and made an offer.

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

We have been renovating it over the years and the spaces move and shift as we do. Over our time here I have learnt the lesson of patience and to let the space evolve naturally rather than doing everything when you first move in.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

The dining nook. The L-shape bench means we can have four people over for dinner or increase it up to nine. We've created many fond memories over the years of time well spent with loved ones enjoying a meal.

What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?

Stay true to your own style, invest in quality pieces that you love and that will last.

Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?

It’s all a bit too secret at the moment but I’m really excited about my upcoming projects and the dream clients I’m working with.

For more from Lia follow her @stories_to_gather

Photography by Alisha Gore. Styling by Sami Simper.

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