I’m here to help you make your house a home and a place you’ll love!
As a Mum to two teenage boys, I know all too well how difficult it is to make time for things that are important to you. You just can’t take a day or two off of work to meet with an interior designer that only works 9-5, Monday through Friday.
Not only that, but the words “interior designer” leave a bad taste in your mouth. You don’t want some judgey, beige-loving, “I only get out of bed for a $20,000 design fee,” designer crushing your dreams of the perfect, just-for-you home.
I know exactly how you feel, and I spent years learning how to design and style my home. After all those years of trial and error, reading about and googling as much information as I could, I decided to become what I wish I’d had all those years ago.
Hi, I’m Kim
I’m an interior designer who helps homeowners create the beautiful, organised homes that they really want to live in and can’t wait to come home to.
Through my virtual interior design services, I’ve been spreading the message across the country that you can have a chic, polished, clutter-free home that meets both your schedule and your budget delivered straight to your inbox, and I’ll be with you every step of the way!
When I’m not designing beautiful spaces for beautiful people, I like to hang with my husband and kids, go to the gym (sometimes!), cooking for my ever hungry teenagers and watching UFO documentaries (I know that’s weird, but it’s true).
My journey into interior design started way, way back (yes I’m over 40) when I was just 16 years old. When I was a young and crazy teenager, I thought I wanted to runaway from home. I had a boyfriend at the time, and his grandparents had a granny flat in their backyard – so the plan was for me to move in there.
I was so excited about the thought of having my own little place, that I set to work planning how I would decorate it. Didn’t give a thought to how I was going to actually run away and afford it, but fell in love with the romantic dream anyway.
I drew up a floorplan of this granny flat and even coloured it in with pretty colours. I would keep all the junk mail so that I could collect pictures and prices of all the furniture and decor that I wanted (this was before the days of mobile phones and screenshots). I even added up how much it would cost to buy all of these things and make this granny flat gorgeous. Of course, none of my elaborate plans eventuated. I broke up with the boyfriend and went on with my life – the dream was fun while it lasted!
Fast forward a few years, I ended up working at an import/export company doing admin and at Myers as a retail assistant – not my dream jobs. I met my husband when I was 20 years old and by 23 I had my first baby. My husband was doing well as a contractor in the building industry, so the decision was made that I would stay home with our kids and do his admin work.
During my 18 years of being a stay at home Mum, my husband and I bought, renovated and sold a few properties and my love for all things interior design and decoration was re-ignited. Staying home with my kids was the best thing I’ve ever done, I feel so lucky to be able to do that and I wouldn’t change a thing – but there was always something inside that was drawing me back to interior design. Renovating our homes and helping friends with theirs helped to feed my passion – but I knew that I had more to give.
My First Ugly Duckling
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One of the first properties we bought was an absolute dump of a house, but for some reason (really it was my interior designer intuitive, but I didn’t know it at the time) I saw it’s potential. I looked past the green and pink bedrooms, the 80’s style wood panelled walls, the grandma curtains, the 70’s brown kitchen and bathrooms, even the mouldy carpet that looked and smelt like it had been there for 100 years!
I proudly took my friend to see my ‘new’ house and the first thing she said was “Oh my god Kim, what are you doing? And what is that smell?!” I couldn’t understand that she couldn’t see what I was seeing We didn’t have much money, so my husband and I learnt everything we needed to DIY it, and boy did we get our hands dirty. My neighbour thought that the only clothes I owned were work overalls!
By the time we finished and it was ready to sell, that ugly duckling was now front page of the local newspaper! Each house we did after that became a bit easier, and I had the opportunity to try a different decor style each time – we even sold the furniture to the new owners with the houses
Harp Interiors was Born
The kids were now starting high school and we decided to buy a home that we would stay in until they’d all finished school. What!? No more designing and decorating!? What am I going to do?!
Friends and family had been encouraging me to start my own business for a while, but I thought that I was too old to start something new and to be honest scared that I’d missed the boat. After all, what did I know about starting a business from scratch, especially in this day and age when everything is online! The only experience that I had was helping friends and family and doing all of our renovations – I hadn’t had a ‘real paying’ job for 18 years.
But then I realised that all of what I’d been doing was just unpaid work, like a lot of stay at home Mums. I had lots of experience, and what I lacked in experience, I made up for with passion. I realised that I was always reading all the magazines about designing and decorating, going to all the expos, watching all the renovation shows and spending hours on Instagram and Pinterest – I was obsessed!
My husband and I were done with renovating our homes, and if I changed our furniture and decor one more time, I’m pretty sure my husband and kids would lose their minds – I needed an outlet, a way to use all of this design and decorating energy and passion that I still felt.
Could I really do this? Could I start a business doing what I LOVE? All my kids were in their mid to late teens at this stage and I had the time, so maybe now was my time to do something with my career. I had some experience, I had the passion, and I really felt a strong need to help people with their homes – what I didn’t have was a formal education.
Was I really prepared to go back to school at 40 years old? I took the first step and looked into it. Did you know that to be an interior designer in Australia, you don’t have to have any credentials or formal education behind you to call yourself an Interior Designer – can you believe that!? Well, that didn’t sit well with me – so at 40 years old I went back to school.
My kids thought it was hilarious that Mum had homework to do and assignments to hand in! I did two courses at the same time, so what would’ve taken 2 years only took me one – hey, I was 40, I didn’t think I had time to waste! I’m so glad that I took the time to get the formal education because who knew that there was more to interior design than putting some flowers on table and throwing a few cushions around!
Honestly, it was hard and really challenging, more like learning to be an architect, but as difficult as it was – I was having so much fun and it didn’t feel like work. I was always so excited to start a new assignment and to learn more. That’s when I knew that I was doing what I was meant to do. I’d finish assignments that were not due for another two weeks, because I’d loved doing it so much that I just couldn’t stop.
I knew that I wanted to do it all day everyday, for the rest of my life I learnt so much more than I thought I would or even had to, absolutely had so much fun and had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing designers and women just like me, who could talk about interiors all day! Don’t want to name drop, but I will – one of my teachers was Jenna Dunstan, you would know her as Jenna (Josh and Jenna) from the tv show ‘The Block’.
With a Diploma in Interior Design and a Certificate IV in Interior Decoration in hand, along with my experience in renovating my own homes and having kids of all ages – Harp Interiors was born.
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