MORAG Agiris has an impressive portfolio for an interior designer of just three years. Having recently fitted out the moody and exotic interiors at Talulah Café in The Junction, Morag has turned her eye for design onto homes throughout the Hunter Region and beyond.
Initially beginning with a fine arts degree at University of Newcastle, Morag went on to graduate from of Newcastle TAFE's interior design course.
She confesses she has been "overwhelmed" by the number of clients enlisting her skills, but all the attention is hardly a surprise. Morag brings a sensitivity for the needs of clients to her flair for envisaging the end product. The result is spaces that are "modernist, art deco, textured, natural and understated".
"I've always loved interior design. I don't feel like I've worked one day, because I enjoy it so much," she says.
Morag describes her style as "eclectic", with one of her signature touches being layering colour and pattern to create a mood rich with character and serenity.
"I like to think of the space as a blank canvas, and then I add accent tones to define the space and make it really individual to the person."
She says the colour that trended in 2013 was "cobalt blue", but the cool tone trend is set to make way for warmer colours this year. Morag is excited about Pantone's selection of "radiant orchid" as the colour of 2014.
"It's a combination of fuchsia purple and pink undertones," she explains.
Morag has also noticed a trend for custom artworks, which featured prominently in her clients' requests last year. She believes it's an inexpensive and relatively effortless way to add impact to a space.
"You can have custom artwork on any surface in the home: textiles, wall coverings, rugs, wood, tiles . . ." she says.
"It's actually becoming much more affordable for people, rather than being really bespoke and exclusive."
Morag is also conscious of the increase in apartment living in Newcastle, but doesn't see smaller spaces as a limitation on creative possibilities.
"I think there are a lot of design-based businesses that are gearing towards apartment-style living," she says.
"You need to focus on making everything really purpose-bought and compact."
She recommends warm or cool whites for smaller spaces, to create the illusion of an open space.
"Nothing too bold, no patterns too large.
"As a general rule, big patterns suit big spaces and small patterns suit small spaces."
Morag's advice to those looking to change their space on a budget is to be open to combining pieces from the large chain stores with one-off pieces from local artists or antique dealers.
"If you really source well, you don't need to spend a fortune.
"If you look at retail superstores like Freedom and Ikea, you can really get a lot for your money.
"Then, focus on bold prints from unlikely places like dealers or artists to add that wow factor."
Morag often collaborates with local artists and designers to create unique pieces for her clients, including local carpenter Sean Mcgilvray, of Oneknottwo, who she says "makes really incredible furniture".
"He is a very talented woodturner. He can make anything and everything he creates is so interesting and individual."
Morag is also a self-confessed fan of preloved furniture and homewares and is evangelical about the creative possibilities to be found in stores such as Crabtree & Apple, in Islington, and the Antique Warehouse in Sydney.
"I love them. I spend a lot of time vintage and antique shopping," she says.
"There are so many amazing pieces just waiting to be found that will completely change the mood of your space."