Ooh it is a bit exciting interviewing Diane Bergeron - she seems a bit famous! Having said that, I think anyone who moves from NYC to Melbourne is pretty much a celebrity. :)
Diane Bergeron is an incredible interior designer with over 20 years experience in her field. After many years building a stellar reputation whilst based in New York, Diane moved to Melbourne with her Australian partner and their children, and launched her interior design consultancy here. It wasn't long before she established a local following and the Australian press caught on - Diane Bergeron Interiors has since been featured in numerous publications including Vogue Living, Belle, Inside Out, Australian House & Garden and Australian Home Beautiful.
Diane says her design philosophy is based on 'timeless elegance and bold self-expression'. I would say that's spot on! As you can see by the fabulous collection of images here, Diane's work is classic and restrained in many ways, yet very brave when it comes to colour! To me it's an elegant decorating style that seems distinctly 'American' - reminiscent of all those fab celebrity homes in the Hamptons you often see in international mags!
Massive thanks to Diane for her time with this interview and all the great pics! More of her wonderful projects and creative inspiration can be seen on her website and blog - I particularly love this cute feature!
Tell us a little about your career background - what path led to interior design initially, and what prompted the move from the US to Melbouurne?
Growing up in Massachusetts in a family of seven, my bedroom was my sanctuary. As a teen, I created my own makeshift furniture, and wallpapered my own room. After studying painting and sculpture, I returned to my preferred medium: Interiors.
My design career continued after relocating from New York to Melbourne. My Australian husband wanted to return here to raise our two daughters. I love living in Melbourne and am thrilled by the response I’ve had to my work. When we first arrived we found a raw space two-story warehouse in Collingwood to renovate and call home.
In doing so, I found that some of the fabrics, wallpapers and rugs that I liked to use were not yet available here in Australia. So I decided to open a showroom introducing ranges such as Quadrille & Madeline Weinrib.
Last year, I relinquished the lines to Ascraft as the interior design side of the business was growing rapidly; making it impossible to focus on both the showroom and client work.
With over 20 years experience in the design industry I imagine you have lots of favourite projects, but can you name one or two you have really loved working on in recent years? (Would love to see pics of those you mention if possible!) Would love to know where the homes were and why these projects were particularly satisfying.
It’s thrilling to be able to say that my favourite projects are the most recent. The first is a family beach house in Balnarring. I collaborated with the architect to create an amazing retreat for an extended family.
The other one is a young couple’s first home in Brighton. The challenge was to create a glamorous environment while taking into account the practical needs of a family with three children under the age of five. These projects were both satisfying to work on as the clients granted me total creative control. (Unfortunately these projects were completed just in time for Christmas, and haven’t been photographed yet).
How would you describe your decorating style? Do you think there is a distinct different between an ‘American’ style of home decoration compared to a typically ‘Australian’ look?
My style is a blend of old-world glamour and chic modern comfort.
I consider my client’s lifestyle needs to create a home that is stylish, relaxed, comfortable and personal. I don’t follow trends, but prefer to give old classics a new life; keeping the looks fresh and timeless. Each project is completely different, I source the perfect elements the world over to achieve a home with a soul.
I think that American and Australian decorating styles are quite different. In Australia, where architects do much of the interior design / decorating, the approach is more structured and rule based. Where as in America it’s more fluid, not so serious.
Can you give us a little insight into how Diane Bergeron Interiors operates day to day? Do you have staff or regular contractors who assist you? Do you work from an office or home studio?
We’re currently in the process of restructuring, after shifting our focus entirely back to interior design. To keep my vision intact, all creative decisions are made by me personally. Our extra help is hired on a contract basis as needed.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
I’m up by five most mornings; to make my business calls to America before going into the office. Thankfully, we have an office in Collingwood; walking distance from home. A typical day for me involves site visits, design reviews, putting together design submissions and meetings with clients, architects and contractors.
Which other designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?
Can you list for us 5 resources across any media you turn to when in need of a bolt of creative inspiration for a new brief or new project?
What would be your dream creative project?
My dream project would be total creative freedom to decorate & design a boutique hotel.
What are you looking forward to?
In the New Year we will be photographing projects completed over the past few years for an up-coming book and starting on a few very exciting commercial projects.
You favourite fossicking spots in Melbourne for furniture and home accessories?
What and where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?
Late night dinner at The Gertrude Street Enoteca.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Spending time with my family at our country house in Gippsland.
Melbourne’s best kept secret?
The café in Fitzroy Gardens.