Sackville Street (also Natalie's house!)
Interior Design / Natalie Parke
Photo / Sam Hartnett

What first inspired your interest in design and how has your career as an interior designer developed from there?
I think I have always had an obsession with design in one form or another. I grew up in a family of hoarders, and collectors, so I was dragged through art galleries and auction houses from a young age, and was very privileged to be exposed to a very wide range of aesthetics and styles, and consequently had opinions on all of it. When I left school I worked in costume for film and tv, followed by fashion advertising in the UK, but it wasn't until I moved back to New Zealand that I fell into interiors. I have a habit of seeing an open door and walking through it, a tendency I am currently trying to rein in, as it has meant all my side hustles are starting to escalate because there aren't enough hours in the day.


You have a talent for fusing different styles effortlessly, can you tell us a bit about that?
In my experience, creating a space is often simply the telling of a story or influencing a narrative, and the great thing is, if you want to, you can control or curate that narrative because it is your own! Looking at it from this perspective, style kinda becomes irrelevant, instead it becomes more about balancing the different components to ensure the story you are telling is coherent (which in turn allows different styles to be layered on top of each other). This works most easily when you align the story around a colour, texture or fabric, and build out from there to create the bigger picture....although the link can be as tenuous as you want...after all not all stories have a beginning, middle AND end.


Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everything. It drives my kids nuts because I randomly stop in the hallway and stare into space thinking about something, or take pictures of plants or walls or whatever when we are out, because I think it could be useful somewhere.

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In my experience, creating a space is often simply the telling of a story or influencing a narrative, and the great thing is, if you want to, you can control or curate that narrative because it is your own.
Natalie Parke
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We loved your refreshing use of colour in Casper's House. Do you have any tips for bringing colour into the home?
Ha. Be brave, but also be smart in your application. A bit of colour theory goes a long way as does just sitting in a space and seeing how it makes you feel. Understanding how colours might react to each other, to different types of light, different types of spaces and most importantly, different types of moods gives you a handle on what the finished product is going to be like and feel like. As people we are instinctively and intuitively led by our emotions, so it is important to tap into, and support the senses wherever you can – how something makes you feel...dark spaces for calming, cooling and deescalation, bright spaces for focus, efficiency and fresh crispy vibes.


What kind of materials do you love to use the most and why?
I love all the weirdest ones, especially the ones that come in millions of different colours. I can go down a rabbit hole researching materials and am currently super inspired by all the 3D printed things, including the houses they are making. I am also obsessed with recycled plastic manufacturers like Smile Plastics, and also things like strand board, and all the felts and wools that are made using leftover yarn and fabric. I also really enjoy juxtaposing what I guess is often thought of as cheap materials next to high end ones like ply and marble.


You’re constantly sourcing for different projects, could you tell us about a couple of your favourite finds?
A couple of years ago I borrowed an amazing set of bull-nosed drawers for a shoot from Jodi at Mid Century Swag...which I loved so much I ended up buying. I also adore the pieces that Inventory by Rachel Donath sells in Australia - I used a light sourced from her for a recently completed bathroom and it looks beautiful.


What has been a standout project for you?
I honestly don't have one. Every project I take on provides an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective, given everyones lives are unique, and come with their own sets of priorities or parameters. I also try and work as collaboratively as possible, after all its not my home, so my favourite projects are often the ones where I am able to empower clients by building up their confidence to make decisions around things like colour, design, and procurement so they can build up the layers of their spaces themselves. I'm probably talking myself out of a job, but that's OK.

Side tables designed by Natalie Parke – "I keep veering into furniture design then coming back when it gets too full on. It is one of my many side hustles."

Understanding how colours might react to each other, to different types of light, different types of spaces and most importantly, different types of moods gives you a handle on what the finished product is going to be like and feel like.
Natalie Parke

Caspers House
Interior Design / Natalie Parke
Photo / Sam Hartnett

Do you have any upcoming projects that are exciting you?
Aside from the interiors projects, I have also been doing a bit of editorial styling for various home magazines, which I am loving. Having the opportunity to translate some of the more experimental ideas I have into an installation that needs to only hold up for a couple of hours for photography before being dismantled rather than being permanent is so much fun.


We’re always fascinated by where and how interior designers live; can you describe your own home?
Occasionally organised chaos. As I said above, I come from a long line of hoarders and collectors, so I have inherited a lot of stuff over the years.....not to mention treasures found via my own Trade Me obsession. Gerry my husband has pretty much given up on trying to wrangle the avalanche of things we have in the house over the years, which has been a challenge for him; given the opportunity everything would be neat and ordered and clean.


Finally, what are your top 3 picks at Good Form right now?
cc-tapis The One and The Other Rug
OMK 1965 Tokyo Stool
Astep Pepa Table Lamp


A big thank you to Natalie for sharing your insights into your work.
View more of Natalie's work at desseinparke.com and Instagram.

Sackville Street
Interior Design / Natalie Parke
Photo / Sam Hartnett

As people we are instinctively and intuitively led by our emotions, so it is important to tap into, and support the senses wherever you can.
Natalie Parke

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