Robyn McKendry, Magnolia Interiors

posted on: Thursday, 24 October 2013

The inimitable Robyn McKendry overseeing Magnolia Interiors

I want it all!

Dreamy bedroom scene

It's pretty clear that Robyn McKendry has great style and a great eye. Her store Magnolia Interiors is a testament to fabulous taste, but after I met her, I can also confirm that she is queen of the quip!

Case in point, when I asked about her favourite flowers: 'Peonies: I need to arrange to die in November so they are available.' Do you drink coffee I ask? 'Not since it became fashionable.' Can she swim considering her son is an Olympic freestyler? 'I have a morbid fear of the water. Frankly, swimming was just a way to keep the boys exhausted.' Hysterical!

A huge traveller, she recently returned home from Manila, but travels to Paris and New York in January every year too. I've never had more unexpected answers than during this interview: it was such a pleasure Robyn! xx

Best coffee and tea? 
I buy a stash of Mariage Freres English Breakfast Tea every time I'm in Paris.

What exercise do you do? 
I used to be a mad runner, I like a good sweat! But I broke my heel and ankle about 10 years ago, so now I hobble a bit. I go to reformer pilates three times a week.

Favourite place/city?
My current favourite is Seville in Spain. We stayed in a great hotel in the old part of the city and when we drove through the tiny laneways we had to pull the car mirrors in to get through which was hysterical!

Style icons?
Tilda Swinton in Jil Sander is divine and Cate Blanchett. They are both strong, interesting, well behaved women. 

Favourite place to eat in Brisbane? In Paris?
I don't have one favourite, I'm always trying the new thing. I'm in a group of ladies who have been meeting for a dozen years now - we get together once a term and go to a new restaurant.

In Paris, we always get the set menu at l'entrecĂ´te. It's truly French - there's definitely no discussion about what you want - you get what you're given! It's always guaranteed to be a good night.

Favourite flowers?
People would expect me to say Magnolia! And it is an evocative, pure, and elusive flower. My favourite though is Peonies.

What is your guilty wardrobe secret?
Shoes! The amount I have is insane. My biggest problem is finding ways to hide them!

What is your guilty pantry secret?
Chilli. My husband and I put it on everything under the guise of its dietary benefits. Hopefully it is speeding up our metabolism!

Where would I find you hanging out in Brisbane? Paris?
Once a week my husband and I have dinner at Fish Co which is great. I also love walking the streets: on a Sunday morning my husband and I will take a long walk and talk.

In Paris, I go to the Clignancourt Markets on a Saturday morning and I always take a photo on the bridge near St Germain. It's always a different scene due to the season and what's happening on the water behind it. Sometimes my kids are in it, sometimes I'm by myself. It's a bit of fun!

Cats or dogs?
I have two cats by default, I had too much wine with lunch one day and came back with them! I'd like to get two Boston Terriers.

Must have interiors item at home?
Antique chopping boards. I have a large collection. I just bought one in Hobart a few weeks ago and then another in Sydney. I actually also like a really neutral palette in my own home. Colour comes from contemporary art on the walls.

Can you cook?
I started cooking when I was in school and I always thought that I would work in food seriously. Now it's just about fast, simple food and we don't have sweet things - I never make any cakes or desserts. My husband has stepped up and does a lot of cooking now and I don't think I want to take the mantle back.

Who do you look to for inspiration?
Mary McDonald from Million Dollar Decorators is very clever. I also love Kit Kemp. I have stayed at all of her hotels and I met her in the lift in her Crosby St Hotel in New York - she was really nice! In Australia, I really like Thomas Hamel's interiors.

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