Georgina Jeffries feared moving to the Surf Coast would lead to the death of her career, but life by the water has proven its worth with each tide.
The highly successful 38-year-old interior designer began working in the industry about 20 years ago.
Growing up the daughter of a fashion designer, there was little doubt Georgina would eschew from building her legacy within the creative sphere.
But Georgina is proof even the most talented of people struggle to realise their path without some guidance.
“I grew up in a very creative family; in an environment that loves art and all things design. I didn’t finish school knowing what I wanted to do,” she said.
“It was once we got our marks back (in Year 12) that my mum reminded me how much I loved to move things around, whether it was taking out my cupboards or changing the position of my bed in my room.
“I ended up doing a short course in interior design and loved it so much that I did the full four years of study at university.”
Upon finishing a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in interior design) at RMIT University, Georgina dove deep into the unknown and worked for BAR Studio.
One of her first challenges was the Millennium Hilton in Bangkok, and while she learnt an abundance of new knowledge, helping design a commercial space of such size led her to discover her love for smaller projects.
It was upon this realisation she found Hecker Guthrie (formerly Hecker Phelan & Guthrie) in 2006.
“They were doing exactly what I love – really exciting and beautiful hospitality and residential projects and boutique retail,” she said.
“I still look at their work and think they’re such leaders in high-end interiors and I learnt so much from them. That was the catalyst to then jump ship and start something of my own.”
In 2009, Georgina founded WONDER Interior Design with friend Pip McCully. Five years later, she established a business of her own – Georgina Jeffries Interior Design – which is based out of Lorne.
“We do very one-off style designs. Each project is tailored to the needs of our clients and no two projects are similar.
“Although we have an underlying theme and style, it’s really important our clients’ personalities come through in the design.
“I’m very careful not to follow trends, I don’t want my interiors to date. I think that classic design is so important.
“It can still be really interesting, and it can still have the wow factor, but it’s really important that what we’re doing can stand the test of time.
“People are spending a lot of money and you don’t want to walk into a home a couple of years after building it and think ‘that’s a bit tired’.”
Georgina’s sophisticated styling, eye for detail and aptitude for selecting colours best suited to a space has seen her take on some high-profile projects, including the Alice McCall store on Chapel Street, which was completed in 2012 while she was co-founder and director of WONDER.
Followers of her work would likely say it’s the sense of serenity Georgina is able to infuse within four walls that makes her such a mogul in the competitive world of design.
“My top three priorities when designing a home are proportions, light and balance,” she said.
“I find inspiration in so many ways, but travel is probably my biggest. Europe is such a source of amazing ideas.
“We also have an incredible library of beautiful books and there’s some great design happening all over the world and even in Australia.
“For us it’s about how spaces make people feel. We don’t want spaces to look like a showroom – we want them to enhance people’s lives.”
Her affection for contemporary aesthetics, flowing geometries and charming details can transform the most uninviting of spaces into intimate areas where people choose to spend their time, not because there’s nowhere else to, but because they can’t bare not to.
Georgina said most projects take about two to three years to complete, which means ensuring functionality is achieved during this time frame is equally as important as the visual aesthetics.
“I don’t believe anything looks good unless it serves a purpose. Styling and objects come in as a secondary layer. If something isn’t serving its purpose, it’s not attractive to me.”
Georgina and colleague Nicola Rogers are nearing the end of the lengthiest project to ever be pencilled in their books.
The property, situated on Geelong’s Esplanade, features a heritage front which has been enhanced using colour and wallpaper.
Georgina said architraves and ceiling cornices had been reinstated, and a double brick extension – which features a kitchen, dining and living room, four bedrooms and four bathrooms – was added to the rear.
“It’s definitely a home I wish I was moving into,” she said.
While Melbourne-born Georgina admitted she was apprehensive about basing herself on the coastal banks of Lorne with partner Troy, her success could very well be attributed to the same place she was initially reluctant to call home.
“I was pretty nervous about moving here because I didn’t know if my career would be over but coming to the Surf Coast has been the loveliest surprise,” she said.
“Ever since I’ve been here, our projects have gotten better and better. It’s been wonderful.”
To learn more about Georgina Jeffries Interior Design, head to georginajeffries.com.au or follow @georgina_jeffries on Instagram.