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Pho­tog­ra­pher Kara Rosen­lund has filled her “ram­bling” Queens­land work­ers’ cot­tage with na­ture, cu­rios and antiques

THINK BACK TO YOUR FOURTEENTH BIRTH­DAY. Can you re­mem­ber what you asked for? Prob­a­bly not. For pho­tog­ra­pher, stylist and in­te­ri­ors lover

Kara Rosen­lund, the an­swer comes eas­ily: pol­ished floor­boards. “I’ve al­ways been into in­te­ri­ors and tex­tures and how rooms make you feel,” Kara says. Com­bine that with a pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy and the crys­tal ball was pretty clear on Kara’s fu­ture. Start­ing out as a pho­tog­ra­pher, Kara cred­its a stint work­ing in Lon­don, in an antiques store and as a prop stylist, for ig­nit­ing her pas­sion for in­te­ri­ors.

DREAM JOB Th­ese days Kara jug­gles a com­bi­na­tion of the two – shoot­ing for mag­a­zines and selling pho­to­graphic prints as well as work­ing on her life­style col­lec­tion, a mix of home­wares and fash­ion. Her long list of ac­com­plish­ments would give any­one a case of the en­vies if she wasn’t the def­i­ni­tion of de­light­ful. Warm, with bound­less en­ergy, her drive is teamed with a well-trained eye and ef­fort­less style. She shakes off the stuffi­ness of antiques, mix­ing them with her own col­lec­tions and pieces for a clas­sic yet fresh take that’ll have you search­ing sal­vage yards faster than you can say “it’s vin­tage!”.

OWN STAMP Kara found her 1890s work­ers’ cot­tage in 2010 while pe­rus­ing from Lon­don. The three-bed­room house, si­t­u­ated on Bris­bane’s north side, was “just ram­bling enough,” Kara says. “I didn’t want to have to pay a pre­mium for some­one else’s ugly kitchen and bath­room ren­o­va­tion. I wanted their bones and that’s all

I could af­ford. It felt re­ally hon­est, the tim­ber floors, the high ceil­ings, th­ese work­ers’ cot­tages are re­ally trans­par­ent and quirky. It was also in a great spot, there was just some­thing about it.”

DIY AT­TI­TUDE It took the cou­ple a year and a half to ren­o­vate, while liv­ing in the cot­tage. First the bath­room, then the kitchen, be­fore adding a din­ing room, plant­ing up the gar­den and fill­ing the space with Kara’s me­men­toes. At the same time, Kara

was start­ing the next phase of her ca­reer. She had shipped back a con­tainer of antiques from Lon­don and pur­chased, off Gumtree, a 1959 car­a­van (in need of a hearty makeover) to sell them from. “It was re­ally hard. I was do­ing the mar­ket, get­ting up at 2.30am, sleep­ing on a mat­tress. It was just a bit gross and we were about to get mar­ried as well. Ev­ery­thing was hap­pen­ing at the same time,” she says. Enough to war­rant heart pal­pi­ta­tions. But not for Kara. “It was fun, some­thing was al­ways hap­pen­ing.” This sums Kara up, her pos­i­tive na­ture and abil­ity to launch her­self whole­heart­edly at a project. Case in point: when she had a spare 10 days, she set about sand­ing and white­wash­ing all the floors by her­self.

TRUE TO YOUR­SELF Kara’s love of old pieces comes from me­mories of garage sale hop­ping with her dad and heavy dessert spoons and bone-han­dled knives at her grand­mother’s house. Her top tip is to sur­round your­self with what brings you joy. “I want to walk into one of my rooms and feel like me,” Kara says. “I don’t want to walk in and go ‘be­cause I have the top 10 on-trend pieces, this room must be on trend’. It has to go be­yond that be­cause it’s a re­flec­tion of you and how you live your life.”

Cosy space The din­ing nook was built by Kara and fea­tures one of her pho­to­graphs taken in Namibia, ship lights bought in Lon­don and vin­tage Dan­ish leather cush­ions found at a sec­ond-hand shop. The cane chair is also vin­tage and the ta­ble is an an­tique from Vieille Branche. Also in the col­lec­tion of cush­ions are finds from Fran­calia, De­sign Twins, Jar­dan and KR Home. The throw is from Città and ceram­ics by Brid­gette Bo­den­ham.

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