We delve into the art of elevating interiors, by levelling up our living spaces with a few key pieces that alleviate a complete redesign.
Spence & Lyda director Fiona Lyda knows fine craftsmanship when she sees it. As Sydney’s eminent design emporium, the showroom is filled with globally renowned designer brands, all with a common thread: quality. Through Fiona’s expert eye, we explore the craft of elevating our spaces through carefully curated home furnishings, that bring new joy to existing spaces.
Exceptional craftsmanship has always been a passion for Spence & Lyda founder and director, Fiona Lyda. Pre-dating Spence & Lyda’s 25 year standing in the design industry, Fiona’s design career began in fashion with the launch of her own label and on to costume design across both big and small screen.
As a self-confessed maximalist and with a keen eye for style, Fiona is a strong advocate for storied brands. “Storytelling has always driven me,” Fiona says. “There are many products out there worthy of notice but those made by individuals that embody the love and time put into them, resonate with me regardless of the period they were created,” she adds.
Residing in Sydney’s northern beaches, Fiona has a strong affinity for design that adds meaning to the everyday living experience. She believes in prioritising lasting quality with our everyday items to interact with them in a more pleasurable way. “While trends capture the expression of the time, in an age of overproduction, I prefer to source based on soul,” Fiona says. “Those items deliver the most value for me, and I’ve been in the industry long enough to see how they are appreciated over time.”
Spence & Lyda Founder & Director, Fiona Lyda
One of the most powerful ways to refine a room is with lighting. Fiona maintains, “Lighting is a most effective way to transform a space. Beyond the function of illumination, many lights are also sculptural design objects.” In this way, Fiona says they deliver both a functional and aesthetic investment. A combination of pendants, floor lamps and wall sconces are Fiona’s key lighting recommendations.
“Among my favourite pendants, and actually installed over my own dining table is the Broche from DCW,” Fiona says. “The designer Eric Dormael is also a sculptor, allowing the cast brass to be appreciated as both a work of art, as well as a light.” Fiona likes to layer intimacy and softness with standard lamps or floor lamps. She says this isn’t just to enhance the mood but to also optimise the versatility of the space. “Wall sconces have become the brushstroke of light that really frames a space beautifully,” she adds.
Drawn to luscious textiles and rich colours, Fiona says soft furnishings are some of the smallest investments you can make to create an impact well above the outlay. “For this reason, they’re a favourite with stylists, who we’ve seen make magic with a few simple cushions and throws,” she explains.
The other point to note with soft furnishings and textiles is their relationship with light. “Watching that interplay adds a wonderful element to an interior,” Fiona says. “The light captures the differences in the fibres and woven textures, adding exponentially to the visual appeal; especially with jacquard weaves. With printed fabrics, the visual is all about the pattern, but it is with jacquard that the magic happens.”
As a firm believer in quality, Fiona recommends cushions with down and feather filling. “Cushions should be for snuggling in to, not just for dressing the sofa,” adding, “the Missoni Home cushions bring an instant Italian flair to any space.”
For Fiona, a throw that is large enough to cover your toes is essential. She believes it should be designed for living, not purely decorative. “And robust enough that your child or pet can snuggle with you without fear of ruining it,” she adds. Fiona recommends the knitted intricacy and mastery of the K3 throw by Kenzo Takada or the Case Studies Merino wool throws.
Fiona also suggests a high-quality floor rug. “Rugs that have a pleasing texture to bury our toes in are a luxury not to be underestimated,” she says. “Flatweaves have their place, but the pleasure is all in the wool.”
statement soft furnishings:
Fiona believes no interior story is ever really finished. “As we evolve, our spaces change with us. Home accessories offer a beautiful way to honour stories over time,” Fiona reflects. This is why she says Spence & Lyda has always invested in the pursuit of pieces that showcase outstanding craftsmanship, beauty and meaning.
As accessories are deeply personal pieces, Fiona suggests considering your daily rituals and elevating them with items that bring sensory pleasure. “For this reason, I always recommend tableware that is beautiful to the eyes and to the touch,” she says. “I love vases that serve as both a sculpture or a vessel for your blooms supply,” she adds. Conversely, Fiona believes there is immense value in non-functional accessories; art and decorative items for pure aesthetic delight.
Fiona recommends Ann Demeulemeester or Sergio Hermann for their standout cutlery and crockery; Georg Jensen homewares, barware and dining pieces for their timeless elegance; and the Boucle and Knokke lights which also masquerade as brass sculptures.
As a firm believer, our homes are not just for show, Fiona understands we need them to feel just as indulgent as they appear. By adding the right, quality elements reflective of our individual lifestyles she says we can build powerful moments of pleasure and meaning in our homes, with good design. “I derive real joy from the things I’ve collected that enrich my every day,” she adds.