Carlene Duffy and husband Michael are the dynamic creative team behind Cedar & Suede, a flourishing home consultancy service, and popular home renovation and design blog. Since appearing on the record rating season of Channel Nine’s, The Block Glasshouse,the stylish pair have been in high demand.
Places Magazine caught up with Carlene to chat about her passion for home renovating and to learn a few tricks of the trade.
Have you always been interested in renovating?
Michael and I purchased our first house at 21 years of age.We chipped away at it for about five years before moving on and doing it all again on a much bigger scale. While most people dread the idea of tradies in their home and the noise of construction, I fell in love with it. It means progress and change. I find it energising.
Why do you think you and Michael work so well as a team?
Michael is the king of solving spatial dilemmas and can very easily visualise the best layout solution. Furnishing and styling on the other hand, he doesn't want to know about and that's where I come in. When it comes to colours, materials, furniture layout etc that's my time to shine. Just letting each other do our thing means there are few opportunities to disagree.
How would describe your design style?
Warm, layered, charismatic and inviting. I am definitely a "more is more" kinda gal so I have to reign it in when working for a client. Styling is intuitive and I'm very sensitive to how a space makes me feel. I like to create a space that makes my heart sing and when I feel that fuzziness in my belly I know I can stop, I'm done.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere, and sometimes in the most unlikely places - like a wall mural on the motorway. My go-to's are magazines (Living Etc is my absolute favourite), Instagram, and Pinterest.
What is your favourite room for making over?
The living room. I love a layered space and I feel like there is no limit to how many dimensions you can add to the living room. Because we all enjoy open plan living these days, you can generally appreciate the living room from most parts of the house. I also believe that because the living room generally comes off the kitchen, it should be that fluffy big bear hug you need to contrast the kitchen's hard surfaces and utilitarian nature. I love to create a living room that promotes good conversation between family and friends as well as serious 'slothing.'
If you could only renovate three rooms in a house, which would they be?
Kitchen, bathroom and living room. Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses so it makes sense to renovate these spaces given the opportunity, and in my house (and I think in many houses) the living room is the hub of the home and in many cases where you entertain guests, so it makes complete sense that this space is at its best.
With two young children, where do you find time for renovating, writing and managing your blog, Cedar & Suede?
It takes dedication and good planning. The good news for me is that I can write from anywhere, and I do, which often means I'm writing on planes, at soccer training, in the car at dance class... At home, we have systems in place; in the mornings Michael leaves home super early so I get the kids to where they need to be and then get into my day. I run the household but Michael is the cook. We definitely don't have as much downtime as we should but the upside is I love my job so I can't complain. We would like more time to create more video content for the blog so that's something to work towards this year.