Decor, Interviews, Travel

a girl to know | decor + travel

Olivia Sparks, A girl to know


Have you ever been fortunate enough to meet someone whose energy and enthusiasm overwhelms you?  Where you can feel it, even if you’re not in the same room as them?  You can just tell that they have something to offer the world…

Olivia Sparks and I found each other via twitter and I’ve been inspired by her style, energy and good looks ever since.  Olivia is a stylist of interiors, fashion, food and lifestyle who resides outside Melbourne, Australia.

Olivia’s specialty is identifying and creating exquisite imagery, and unique decorative settings that best represent her impressive clients.  As you can see from some of her work shown below, her styling choices seem to tell a perfect story.

This quintessential Australian girl answered some “splendid living” questions for me about what is going on in Australian design and what to visit when we travel to Oz.

Thank you Olivia.  Your work and way of living is a true inspiration.


What path brought you to life styling (which I’m pretty sure might be the coolest job on earth!)?


The career path of styling was ultimately a hidden treasure for me. After years of working in the corporate arena, followed by studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a Diploma of Interior Design & Decoration, then followed by years of work experience shadowing and assisting some of Australia’s finest stylists, my career progression to a stylist finally made sense!  All the things I loved, all my strengths, in one role!  I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to explore and arrive at a very happy career destination, with so many possibilities in store. Everybody has permission to dream!

Olivia Sparks, A Girl to Know Olivia Sparks, A Girl to Know

Any tips for styling our home for an upcoming dinner party (and looking good when the friends arrive?)


Your home is your sanctuary, a reflection of you, your space to dream, create, function and play, so take pride as it is important and does make the difference to your every day.  Make the space somewhere you like to retreat to after all that life expects from us, choose a favourite theme, colour, or object for example and build on it from there to create your desired look.  When entertaining, a beautifully set dinner table sets the scene perfectly, and is so very inviting. An abundance of flowers in vases placed loosely along the centre of the table (low in height) is lovely with tealight candles woven between. Linen napery and a large charger plate for each setting is also a wonderful base palette. Should you use white china to serve, maybe bring in a coloured dessert plate for a hint of fun towards the end! Of course, depending on the occasion, thematic decorations always enhance the vibe and can be a great topic of conversation or amusement during the course of the evening.

Relating to being suitably attired prior to hosting your dinner party, ensure you are dressed at least an hour before your event, to ensure you are relaxed and set for smiles! Glamerous yet comfortable is always good, possibly a sweet dress? Your choice of clothing in which you feel best is essential, with a touch of gloss, perfume and jewels will win every time!

Finally, kick start the evening with bubbles served in frosted champagne glasses, your guests will be sure to be impressed!

Dining Room, A girl to knowA girl to knowA girl to know chic

Inexpensive decorating trick from the styling biz?


If one is prepared to be crafty, the sky is the limit for inexpensive decorating! A few key suggestions…

– Using old bottles/jars as vases.

– Succulents in vases make for wonderful inexpensive indoor flowers which you do not need to replace regularly.

– Collecting assorted antique plates, cups and saucers for your dinner table setting creates interest.

– Selecting or making double-sided throws/bedspreads, and/or cushions, which you can alternate depending on your mood or occasion.

– Restoring furniture and painting with block colours can create a wonderful room accent.
As always, ‘less is more’ the key.

cecyj food decor


Interior designer or stylist you admire?


Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic,  Tricia Guild, founder of Designers Guild, Sibella Court, founder of The Society Inc,  Glen Proebstel and Donna Hay.


cecy j decor style

What defines Melbourne’s home style and what’s hot in home décor with the locals?


Hero artwork;  Bold use of pattern and colour;  historic reference;  Statement lighting;  Iconic furniture;  Innovative use of materials (layers);  Sustainability (lots of rustic timber!);  Indoor gardens…  Ultimately bringing an eclectic mix of objects together to create a beautiful aesthetic and emotional connection for all whom interact with the space.


Let’s talk Melbourne, Australia, Where should we sightsee?


Federation Square – Melbourne CBDMt Buller -Alpine Region and Lorne – Great Ocean Road.



Best spot for architectural inspiration in Melbourne?


Collins Street is a major street in the Melbourne central business district and runs approximately east to west.  It is notable as Melbourne’s traditional main street and best known street, is often regarded as Australia’s premier street, with some of the country’s finest Victorian era buildings.  The ‘Paris end’ (Eastern end) is a part of Marvellous Melbourne mythology.  Although modern development has destroyed some of the European flavour of the top-end of Collins Street, it still retains its uptown status with its designer boutiques and cafes.  The length of Collins Street between Elizabeth and King Streets has long been the financial heart of Melbourne.


What’s next? Where should we…


CecyJ travel tips

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Olivia’s amazing logo designed by!

Share my love of easy elegance and finds from around the globe that are simply fabulous?  Ready to make your place a space that you adore?  I’d love to help make your house a home.  cecy j is currently accepting new interior projects.  Let’s chat