Step Inside Carmen Hamilton's Ultra-Chic Paddington Terrace
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, creative, beauty expert and perennial cool girl Carmen Hamilton shows us around her Paddington terrace.
Carmen Hamilton’s CHRONICLES OF HER is the OG of Australian fashion blogs. What started as a creative outlet whilst studying at uni soon blossomed into a full-time career as her impeccable personal style and trend forecasts garnered a devout online following.
Constantly adapting to the ever-evolving digital landscape, Carmen creates fashion, beauty and lifestyle content that is at once fresh, elevated at timeless. The kind that doesn’t just tell you what to wear, but instead inspires you to cultivate signatures of your own.
Still, it goes without saying that Carmen has one of the most enviable wardrobes this side of Instagram. That’s not where her polished eye ends, though—the creative has a keen interest in interior design, and her personal palette is made up of beiges, creams and wood, with pops of peach and terracotta interspersed between the warm, natural backdrop. Her terrace in Sydney’s east—which is tucked away on a leafy street in Paddington—is at once understated and elegant.
Throughout the space, show-stopping pieces by Sarah Ellison take centre stage in almost every room—although an impressive art collection vies for equal attention. Works by Caroline Walls, Dina Broadhurst, and Hannah Carrick line the walls, adding depth and creativity to the space.
In the bathroom, a single white anthurium stands in a golden Dinosaur Designs vase, whilst her coveted collection of beauty products double as decor. A perfect balance of simplicity and thoughtfulness, Carmen’s carefully curated space is a true reflection of her style.
Hi Carmen! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I make digital content that aims to educate my audience on how to ‘DIY’ certain fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I’ve always loved making things. When I was seven, I started a hand-beaded jewellery line (which turned out to be pretty decent pocket change for that age!) and I would spend my weekends drawing or doing other arts and crafts. My mind is always churning-out creative ideas—especially when I’m doing something mundane like driving or taking a shower—so I feel like I need to channel that creative energy somehow.
When did you start your business, and how has it evolved since you started Chronicles of Her to the myriad of content you create today?
I started CHRONICLES OF HER in 2011 when blogging just started to take off. At that time, it was normal to post one outfit weekly or even fortnightly! I remember refreshing my favourite blogs every morning to see if there was a new post. We just didn’t have access to as much content back then, so it all felt fresh and exciting. I miss those times a bit! Nowadays, with Instagram, we’re so spoilt with content that it takes a lot for something to stand out and feel really inspiring, so my job of producing content has become a lot more complex.
Apart from a photography course I did just after graduating high school, I’m completely self-taught when it comes to editing. I’ve found myself moving more towards video these days because I love the story-telling element and I feel it allows for a lot of creative expression, but keeping-up with Instagram’s ongoing demand for content makes it challenging.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
It depends on the project, but when coming up with a concept I usually like to familiarise myself with a brief first, and then consider ways it hasn’t been communicated in the past. I don’t see much point in pouring hours into creating content that’s simply re-hashing something that’s already been done or seen before.
Then I’ll look for creative references to spark ideas on how to bring something to life. My go-to places for this are Nowness, i-D, and directors such as Camille Summersvalli and Harley Weir. I also think some of the bigger fashion houses like Burberry are doing interesting things in the video space.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to grow your creative business?
This might sound really boring or cliché, but confidence to do things differently. I try not to be too swayed by what everyone else is doing.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt since you started your business?
Ah, there are so, so many! Having your own business is a constant, very steep learning curve. For me, juggling things and keeping up with the day to day while still looking ahead and keeping my eye on the bigger picture is a big challenge.
My job requires me to wear many hats. I do all of the creative work, as well as the business side of things (reporting, accounts, client meetings etc.), so learning how to be more structured with my time is something I’ve definitely had to learn— but I’ve still got a long way to go!
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
It’s helped me build a thicker skin and care less about external validation, which I guess is ironic when you consider the nature of my job! When you’re putting yourself out there so much, I think it can either go one of two ways depending on how you handle the feedback. It’s so easy to constantly compare yourself to others, but I think for me, it’s actually taught me that the more I can be authentically ‘me’, the more interesting my content and ideas will be.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self/ someone looking to start their own business?
Be very clear on the ‘why’. In my opinion, starting a business just because you think it would be fun to work for yourself or purely for monetary gain is a huge mistake. It’s a full-time, long-term commitment, so you have to really believe in what you’re doing and feel fulfilled in other ways for it to have longevity.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
I recently moved to Paddington, so I’ve actually only been in this home for three months!
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
Since moving to Sydney, I’ve always lived by the beach, so I was ready to try something different. I’ve always loved original terrace houses. They have so much character! Plus, Paddington is one of my favourite suburbs in the east so it just felt right.
Shop Carmen's look with our White Robe, Terracotta Bedding Set, and White Sheet Set.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I love mixing old and new, so adding modern elements, such as my Dina Broadhurst print and Sarah Ellison mirror plinth, to a place like this with its original archways and finishings is what creates the perfect balance in an interior space for me. I don’t feel relaxed when everything feels brand new, so I always incorporate a few vintage pieces I’ve collected along the way, like the two mirrors in my bedroom. I think your space should always feel uniquely yours, not like it’s been pulled straight from Pinterest.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I’ll never say no to more artworks! My roommate Hannah is an amazing artist (the big pink artwork in our lounge room is one of hers) so I would love to add one of these to my collection.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My bedroom, because it’s my place to escape to and it’s also home to my wardrobe. I love the little balcony and the arched windows—I call it Paris-meets-Paddo, ha!
Tell us about your bedroom.
It’s small, but oh so cosy! My bed is my favourite place to be on a rainy day, with soft linen sheets and the balcony doors open. I’ve always been a fan of all-white bed linen, but for this space I wanted to go for something with a little more personality so I incorporated the terracotta sheets to complement the Caroline Walls prints above the bed.
Shop Carmen's look with our White Robe, Terracotta Bedding Set, and White Sheet Set.
What are your top tips for getting a good night’s sleep? Do you have any products you swear by—sleep or beauty-wise you won’t go a night without?
I get the best sleep when I’ve followed some sort of evening routine to wind down before jumping into bed. For me, this is usually my skincare routine. It actually feels like a luxury when I have time to properly cleanse, exfoliate, apply serum accompanied by a little facial massage and then moisturizer.
One of the products I swear by, and has constantly been on high-rotation, is my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. I find this serum really helps my skin’s natural renewal process while I sleep. I’ve tried a lot of serums and this is the one I have kept coming back to for years, particularly when my skin is feeling stressed and tired because it just works. Then, if I’m really indulging I’ll listen to a bedtime meditation. Oh, and good airflow and temperature is key, as is sleeping in something super comfortable!
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Look to others for inspiration but take time to decipher the elements in other spaces that you do and don’t like so you can curate your own vibe. Then, figure out which colour palette most speaks to you and start to source things loosely based around that. Don’t just follow trends or you won’t feel like you’re at home if it doesn’t feel like ‘you’. I like to mix lots of elements such as timber, metals, glass, linen, and other soft furnishings so that no room feels too stiff or serious, but this can be up to personal preference. Ultimately, I’d just say when shopping around for things, if something makes your heart skip a beat when you look at it then it’s going to feel good in your space each and every day.
For more from Carmen, follow her @carmengracehamilton
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