Originally from the UK, Stephanie Jane Rampton moved to Australia with her late husband in 1997, after 13 years working in Hong Kong. She and her husband bought their converted warehouse home in Collingwood in 2004.
After more than a decade here, Stephanie decided to give her much loved home a contemporary update around eighteen months ago – and made some new friends in the process. She started by selecting new oak floorboards for the upstairs rooms, and enlisted a local tradesman, Matt Staples, to lay them. Little did she know she had hired someone who would soon become a dear friend. ‘Both Matt and I studied art in the UK, and soon found we had a lot in common, including a love of Ska and old punk bands!’ Stephanie says.
Stephanie was impressed by the creativity Matt and his team brought to the job, and before long, she had enlisted him to tackle a host of other tasks, including a major kitchen renovation. ‘I’d been considering a new kitchen for a while and decided here was the man for the job’ Stephanie recalls.
Matt designed and built the kitchen using oak and walnut timbers with mild steel worktops, and open shelves hanging from cleverly designed industrial steel brackets. ‘I trusted Matt to be as creative as he liked with all the design aspects, there was no drawn up plan, just scribbles on scraps of paper as we went along – but it worked.’ Stephanie says.
Stephanie thoroughly enjoyed the renovation process, taking great delight in making creative decisions along the way, rather than having a rigid plan from the outset. As an artist, she also relished the chance to collaborate with so many speciality tradespeople – from creative tilers to painters and joiners. ‘One of the pleasures of the whole thing was Matt bringing in tradesmen that he knew and trusted’ she says.
Had she planned in advance for what eventually became a fairly major renovation, Stephanie says she might have considered moving out for a few months. As it turned out, she’s glad she didn’t. ‘Everyone worked well together so there was always a feeling of camaraderie, and lots of laughs’ she says. ‘It was great fun!’
Stephanie is represented by Port Jackson Press in Collingwood, Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop, and Lauriston Press in Kyneton. Her meticulous work is currently on show in a collaborative exhibition entitled ‘Hiraeth’ with Danielle Creenaune at Port Jackson Press, on now until August 4th.