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Alison Leeder’s home office is the ‘pink’ of perfection

05 Dec 2019

When interior designer Alison Leeder moved into her 1950s house in Melbourne in late 2017, she had her sights set on tackling her home office first. Wanting a functional office with plenty of bench space and storage, she decided to completely gut the room to allow for a new built-in desk, cabinetry and shelving.


As an expert in interiors, creating a unique space with lots of colour and light was of the utmost importance. She also saw the renovation as an opportunity to show her clients how to think outside the box when it comes to colour.


“The office colour scheme was developed around the green vintage lamp taking centre stage on the desk,” Alison says. “I knew I wanted pink in the palette but finding the right pink was integral to the office looking sophisticated and not too girly or juvenile.”


Not one to gravitate towards pastel tones, Alison instead went for pinks that would be punchy and crisp, choosing a custom made half strength of Resene Deep Blush on the desk and cupboard front detailing, and Resene Cabaret on the overhead shelving and cupboard fronts. The bright tones have made the interior fresh, fun and frisky. As an added bonus, the colours also tie in with Alison’s business brand colours.


We spoke with Alison about her interior design journey, her office vision and her top advice to budding renovators.


Tell us a bit about your journey. What brought you to pursue a career in interior design and start your own business?


“I’ve always been interested in homes and decoration, I would quite often sketch houses and floor plans as a child.  I grew up in a family that would regularly visit display homes, so I feel like the decision was made for me!  I was one of the few kids at school who knew from a young age what I wanted to do. After working in different roles within the interior design industry for many years, I suppose I got tired of working for other people and knew my potential was not being realised working for others. I think I’m a bit different from other designers as I absolutely love bright colours and bold patterns so I’m hoping over time I will find like-minded clients.”


What are your favourite kinds of spaces or rooms to work on?


“I love working on rooms where multiple design considerations need to be met such as a living room or home office. You need to take into account joinery designs, lighting, furniture, window furnishings and general ambience. I love to work on areas where I can introduce wallpaper and coloured paint, so rooms that have decent sized walls.”


Your office is amazing. What led you to choose the Resene colours you used?


“I love pink – it’s a part of my branding and I wanted an incredibly ‘unoffice’ like space! I wanted it to feel fresh and fun and not take itself seriously. The pinks that Resene offer are just so much more varied than other companies with much more depth of colour. I chose what I call the ultimate candy pinks available.”

While the floor of her office will eventually be replaced with engineered timber, Alison decided to paint it in the meantime. “I had some leftover Resene Half Gravel from a previous project that worked perfectly on the flooring. Initially I thought I would need to make it darker, closer to a charcoal, but once it was painted I was happy with the contrast between the floor and cabinetry,” Alison says.

What are your favourite things about your finished office?


“I love the contrast between the green table and lamp and the pink paintwork and wallpaper. Green and pink are a match made in heaven. The green accents help tone down the pink. The thing I love the most about the space is how it feels. It feels fun and happy – I  can look out the window to the garden and not feel trapped in a dreary space.”


Did you run into any challenges during the renovation? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?


“When we stripped the wall back adjacent to the toilet, we found the plumbing from the toilet extended into the study space and was hidden behind a built in cupboard. So that put everything on hold for a few days until we could move the pipes accordingly! It was a pretty straightforward move, which was very lucky.”


Is there anything you would have done differently were you to do the project again?


“In retrospect, I would have added more cupboard storage, perhaps overhead. It’s the nature of this industry that I gather too many samples of products!”


What advice would you give to blog readers who might want to get a similar look?


“Take your time in deciding on the right colours. Make sure the paint colours you choose, you really love.  Consider how the colours will make you feel in the long term. Not every day is going to be a great day, are the colours you choose going to play a part in that?”


What are your top tips for designing a home office, especially things that could easily be overlooked?


“Natural light and lighting are really important in spaces where we spend extended hours. Choose window furnishings that will allow for the maximum amount of light in. Choose lighting that throws warm light but still allows you to see very clearly. Don’t be afraid to introduce more living room like features, such as table/floor lamps and lots of artwork. Who says a home office needs to be serious?! Create a space that makes you smile and you want to work in.”


What do you like about Resene?


“I love the breadth and depth of Resene colours. Other paint companies just don’t have the range that Resene does. From neutrals to brighter tones, you can always find a great colour to work with.”


What Resene colours are among your top current favs?


“My all-time favourite colour is Resene Baltic Sea – it’s just the perfect ultimate deep charcoal. It doesn’t throw blue or green, it’s just a great deep grey. Resene Black White is a great neutral option when you want a white that’s not too white. And I can’t go past Resene Cabaret and Resene Deep Blush for the perfect candy pinks.”

Alison considered her options carefully, before going with a custom made half strength Resene Deep Blush and Resene Cabaret for her home office desk, shelving and cabinetry. “The Resene Deep Blush and Resene Cabaret were pinks that were crisp without any murky grey undertones while not being too intense and overwhelming or too washed out and pale.” The floor is painted Resene Half Gravel and the walls are in Resene Eighth Black White.

The chic green lamp that started it all was colour matched to bring its brilliant hue further into the room through the addition of a small timber side table painted in Resene Blue Stone. “The ability to match the lamp colour perfectly in the paint for the side table was fantastic,” Alison says. The adjacent wall is painted in Resene Eighth Black White and the floor is in Resene Half Gravel.

images Alison Leeder