Stylish Living with Rachel Donath
Rachel Donath for Rue Rodier, photographed by Laura Andric
The original article can be viewed here
I have long been a fan of Australian interior design: designers down under seem to have a knack for taking the very best elements of European aesthetics and combining them with their relaxed, laid back lifestyle to create inspired, but liveable spaces that feel at once fresh and avant-garde, but also incredibly timeless. One of Australia’s newest interior brands working within this realm is Rachel Donath, who despite not having been around for very long (only three years), has already reached star status.
The Melbourne resident had an established career in marketing, but long harbored a passion for all things interiors. With her 40th birthday fast approaching and an enforced period of downtime thanks to another Covid lockdown, she decided it was now or never and on a whim launched into the interiors industry in 2020. What began as a limited inventory of antique and contemporary design pieces that she began stocking in her garage, quickly burgeoned into a fully-fledged design business after she was asked to source items for a renowned interior designer. Spurred on by the interest and demand, she also started creating furniture and objects (chairs, stools, small tables, lamps and mirrors) in collaboration with local artisans, inspired by design pieces she loved. And so Rachel Donath’s eponymous brand was born.
Today her brand boasts a collection of highly covetable items for the home and her designs have since travelled all over the world. Pieces like her ‘Wave Chair’, which is now instantly recognisable as a Rachel Donath piece, can be spotted in the homes of the world’s most stylish. I for one have had my eye on it for a while, along with the Grace Dining Chair, which would fit perfectly into my space. Having followed her trajectory almost since its beginning, I wanted to chat a little more about how she lives, the interior objects she loves and the things that she can’t live without. I hope you enjoy this interview with Rachel!
How would you describe your home’s style?
I would describe my home as paired back and light filled. I am a slow curator and like to think that every element in my home, whether it’s architectural or within the furniture and objects I have selected, are beautiful in detail and form.
Last item you bought for your home?
The last item I bought is a coffee table book called ‘Australian Abstract’ by Amber Creswell Bell, a beautiful curation of artworks from both well-known and lesser known Australian artists.
What’s on your nightstand?
My kindle, I’m always reading 3 books at once! And the Bohan lamp from my latest collection: it provides the most beautiful ambient light.
Favorite coffee table book?
My all time favorite is Zuber, Two Centuries of Panoramic Wallpaper by Brian Coleman. The color, patterns and imagination in the prints are just phenomenal.
Signature home scent?
Trudon Reggio, I’ve always been drawn to citrus when it comes to scent.
Favorite tabletop items for entertaining?
I have a lovely collection of ceramic serving dishes, many vintage or found in small local shops, which are each unique, hand made and a beautiful backdrop for the food I place in them.
Favorite piece(s) of furniture or treasure in your home?
My dining table. It is a vintage Danish 2 meter oak table with incredible cut out legs. I have never seen anything like it before or since and am just in love with its sculptural silhouette and the fact that it’s so large. The beauty of a round table in my mind is that it has a wonderful ‘elasticity’ to it, you can always squeeze in another 2 chairs for last minute guests and friends.
Handbag essentials you don’t leave home without?
Sunglasses, my phone, a bottle of water and lip balm.
Beauty product you can’t live without?
Favorite cut flowers for displaying in a vase?
I love to find what’s seasonal and bring these fleeting moments into my home. For example, here in Australia, we have about a 2-week window where Smoke Bush is in season, which is one of my favorites.
What’s on your wishlist for your wardrobe?
I am desperate for a pair of Gianvito Rossi’s pumps in black velvet. These are readily available, my problem is my size foot - I am a tiny size 34. I currently have a personal shopper on the case, trying to track down a pair for me, if they exist!
For coffee/tea - we are spoilt for choice here in Melbourne with excellent coffee everywhere. My local is Millstone Patisserie which is a lovely place to sit, enjoy delicious coffee and people watch.
For a glass of wine or cocktail - I’ll be honest and say the best wine and cocktails are often at friends homes. I think what makes them so fabulous is the wonderful company!
For shopping for interiors - I shop online mostly, where geography isn’t a factor. I love 1st Dibs or Auction sites for vintage and antique pieces.
For dining - a local favourite is Ripponlea Food and Wine in Ripponlea Village.
For art & exhibitions - The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) here in Melbourne has an excellent rotation of exhibits, as well as permanent collections that I can view a hundred times over and never get bored. They also do a wonderful kids exhibit, which is also always changing, and a lovely garden with sculptural works and beautiful landscaping. I love bringing my children to the gallery to introduce them to art and culture at a young age.
Visit Rachel Donath’s website here for the collections and more info.