It's a brave new world out there. For the time being, we're spending more time at home and less time at Bounce, running through fountains at Scienceworks and digging for dinosaur bones at the Melbourne Museum. We're evolving and our kids are too, so we look to create from the comfort of our own homes, seeking to be inspired by the smaller, simpler things to keep our kids (and our own minds) active and imaginative all day long.
With this in mind, we spoke to Nicole Davis and Ashleigh Pyke, founders of Melbourne-born jnr.life, the cult play mat brand with a design centric philosophy that can be spotted in some of the style-set's most covetable homes, for their tips on creating constructive, chic and comfortable spaces at home.
How was jnr.life born?
jnr.life was born from a desire for thoughtful, family-friendly products that complement design-conscious interiors. We are committed to creating uncomplicated, useful essentials for junior life that nurture the imagination and encourage play without forsaking a stylish sensibility suited to grown-up environments.
How do you share your style inspo? Do you have a jnr.life pinterest?
We should probably be using Pinterest, given the amount of direct sharing that happens between us! Between our IG, FB, iMessage, WhatsApp and email accounts – we share things we love with each other at least 10 times per hour.
We love the colourful but on-trend tones of Jnr.Life, can you talk us through your moodboard and where you draw inspiration from? Any favourite brands/ designers/ instagram accounts?
You’re right – we definitely prefer a clean, minimal palette with pops of colour in soft furnishings, (cue our oversized bold playmats!)
We’ve always been driven by a philosophy of creating pieces that we can envisage in our own homes where we and our children live. Utility and durability at our core.
We’re inspired by restrained and simplified design, brought to life through bold, rich expression, shapes & colours and beautiful and of course functional materials. We’ve always loved the work of the European textile houses – it’s their use of bold colour and technology to present fabrication and future design trends.
We look international design trade fairs for all inspiration and the en point cues from from Milan design fair to Maison and objet. What we gain from these is a key insight into colour, form and design which impacts product directions. We are really inspired to other direct-to-consumer brands such as the Arrivals NYC. The rise of the celebrity interior designers such as Kelly Wearster has also been formative in making sure our product direction is adapted from aspirational to commercial for everyone to be happy at home.
Nikki’s background in trend forecasting and development has meant we anticipate detailed future trends more accurately and we can endeavour to increase our speed to market and make better informed product and range investment decisions.
The Australian lifestyle concept has also always been paramount – it was really important for us to create a product that could also live with us indoors and outdoors. We worked for a long time with our suppliers to ensure that we could create a product that was constructed from a material that was durable enough to withstand the sticky fingers and spills of kids, but also the great outdoors. And that’s what we’ve done!
What does a happy home life mean to you?
Flow flow flow!
Ensuring that all the parts (partner, children, extended family, domestic life, work, general wellbeing) stay moving at the same pace … flow.
Ensuring this happens is like a symphony. A tonne of good organisation, planning and communication. That is absolute key, with our respective partners, and of course between each other. Also knowing when we need help - we are (all) super women, well 99% of the time. We can’t do it alone.
Flow also can’t exist without iCal invites, Monday WIPs and our daily morning coffees and chicken sandwiches. This is our fuel - once we’ve dosed up on this we have the tools for ‘flow’. But with an undertone of knowing that there’ll always be something to interrupt ... but a general belief that it exists in some form is enough for us.
When decorating a nursery, what do you need to consider?
When you have a baby, you are gifted many things that you don’t necessarily ask for (cue the memo’s baby gift registry) – so very quickly the house begins to fill with an eclectic mix of bits. We both have 3yo and 6yo – so in the blink of an eye, our nurseries have evolved into kids rooms. But having been asked this question – what’s amazing to note is the pieces that have remained and grown with our kids. Wall art, light fittings, wooden toys, a sprinkle of the more aesthetically pleasing plush toys and bookshelves (some of the original faves Green Sheep, Ten Little Fingers, Good Night, Its Time for Bed) are still there with constant new additions as the kids grow) and of course our junior mats.
Our kids still have the original samples on the floor that have grown with them!
Honestly this was the seedling for junior life, to create pieces for the home that we could happily use and look at for years to come. This should be applied to (most) décor items for the children in your home.
What are the five key items that every nursery or playroom needs?
Natural light –it’s important that the space orients to towards the way and times this works its way around the room.
A good toy storage system – that makes tidying up easy (cue Marie Kondo)
Comfortable seating (and something that you’ll be happy to look at beyond the first year) – this will evolve from a feeding chair into book nook. Think what works with your room décor, but is also as equally comfortable and doesn’t scream feeding chair.
A jnr.life playmat (or two for layering) – they make for the perfect tummy time pad and will grow as your child does.
Feng shui, Mari Kondo... is there a decorating method that you subscribe to?
Less is more. We believe in formative investment pieces made for jnr.life.
Shop the collection now.